Teacher reflection through self-observation
Sullivan, Patricia N.
Item Usage Stats
MetadataShow full item record
It is shortsighted to leave out the actual practitioners of an area or not expect them to get actively involved when we talk about development. When improvement is the goal, teacher reflection is one way to achieve this. Instead of directly teaching how to be reflective, it is more beneficial to let teachers experience by discovering it. One way to do this is classroom observation. The purpose of this study was to investigate the use of video recording as a tool for achieving reflection in teaching. It aimed to find out if longer-term effects were precipitated by a discussion and analysis of a teacher’s own videotaped lesson. In addition, teachers’ attitudes towards the video camera as an observation tool in their classes were also elicited. Four female ELT teachers from The Center of Foreign Languages (YADIM) at Çukurova University participated in this study. All had at most 4 years of teaching experience, and minimum on-the-job observation experience. The research study was carried out at YADIM. The participants were recorded twice while teaching, the first a pilot recording, so that both the participant and the students could get used to the study, and the second for the observation that was going to be analyzed. The video camera was placed such that it recorded the participant teacher in focus with the class in background. After the observations, the observer and the participant watched the recording together. The participants made comments on their teaching, explained some of their decisions in class and discussed various aspects of the lesson with the observer. On rare occasions the participants were advised of alternative approaches for some tasks by the observer. These reflection sessions were also recorded, providing the data of the research study. Data was analyzed in detail through micro-ethnographic procedures. Results of the study indicate that although the teachers were mostly aware of the general flow of their classes, they realized various points they had not been aware of. One participant discovered that she was talking in a hurry, which caused confusion in students from time to time, and another participant realized that she was talking too much in the classroom. While one teacher discovered that her class preferred working in pairs although she mostly had them work individually another teacher realized that her students did better when working alone although she had them work in pairs or groups most of the time. All teachers indicated that the existence of the video camera was not as threatening as they had thought and they forgot about the study once they started the lesson. However, the students did not behave as they usually did. The unexpected outcome is that after this study the participants continued exploring their classrooms and their teaching. The findings suggest that the points seen by an observer can also be seen by teachers themselves, and even more detailed results can be obtained as teachers know their classes and students best. The video camera is welcomed in the classroom, providing a mirror for the teacher.