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Learning to “see” classrooms: video-based approaches to TESOL teacher education
TESOL Convention (2011)
  • Kathryn Harris
  • Casey Keck, Boise State University
Those who mentor pre- and in-service teachers continue to confront the problem of how best to link research and practice in teaching methodology courses. Although teaching methods textbooks give students consolidated wisdom on the general nature of learning and pedagogy, students often view research and theory as somewhat disconnected from the realities of the classroom. One recent technological innovation, however, has the potential to help bridge the research-practice divide: Video of real ESL classrooms, recorded using multiple cameras and microphones. Innovations in recording and database technologies have made it possible to record entire courses in enough detail to clearly see what students and teachers do in ESL classrooms. One such digital database contains over 4000 hours of pre-academic and academic ESL courses. Such rich video data allows discussions of TESOL theory, research, and methodology to be situated within actual teaching and learning contexts and provides teachers with valuable opportunities to work directly with classroom data, developing their ability to analyze classroom discourse and to understand the important role such discourse plays in the process of second language teaching and learning. The presenters will describe their experience using video in teacher training. They will demonstrate how they have used repeated, shared viewing to help teachers “see” the various resources and strategies that learners use when participating in classroom interaction. In addition, the presenters will describe how teachers-in-training are guided through the observation of recorded authentic, unscripted classrooms to see, for example, how the classroom community is created, how students work together to make meaning while creating learning opportunities in the process, how teachers guide learners to more accurate understandings and how that relates to the learners’ continuing participation in the classroom dialogue. Illustrative video will be shown.
Publication Date
Citation Information
Kathryn Harris and Casey Keck. "Learning to “see” classrooms: video-based approaches to TESOL teacher education" American Association of Applied Linguistics. Chicago, IL. March 2011.