Developing a Professional Vision of Classroom Events

Posted by husnulkhuluq | Mathematics | Tuesday 31 May 2011 09:50

Authored by: Miriam Gamoran Sherin (Northwestern University)

Professional vision is the ability of someone to see and to interpret a condition based on their background understanding that can distinguish them with the others in their professional aspect.
For the classroom event, there are at least two groups to develop the professional vision, they are: researchers, and teachers. Therefore, this journal will focus on two perspectives, of professional vision toward the classroom event, that are based on the personal experience of the Sherin as a researcher and David Louis as a teacher. Hoping to be able identifying the components of professional vision of both teacher and researcher, let’s check out of the following stories:

1. How I Learned to Interpret Classroom Practice
(Personal experience of Miriam Gamoran Sherin)
The story began when Sherin joined “Video Portfolio Project” which aims to design a performance assessment of mathematics teaching in form of portfolio video. After months of discussion and testing, they conclude that there are 4 aspects to concern, are: management, pedagogy, mathematical thinking, and climate.

For that, Sherin began to analyze her experience in teaching through videos analyzing by identifying the callouts and highlight some to focus attention.

Next, Sherin decided to use observation and videotape of mathematics classrooms to study the way teachers conduct the lesson. For this case, there are 2 steps he did: 1) identifying new criteria (focus on the way teacher teaches mathematics), 2) doing on-line assessment during live classroom observation. Through this process, Sherin developed professional vision of classroom events. So, her actual professional vision was not only to notice the events to focus attention but also to interpret what the teacher and the students said and to determine what this implied about their understanding.

Another thing she did was holding a regular meeting, with the teachers she was observing, to watch and discuss the excerpts of videotapes from the teachers’ classroom. She then explored the relationship between teachers’ interpretation of video and their classroom instruction. That’s why she met David Louis.

2. Changing Perceptions of Classroom Practice
(Story/ Personal experience of David Louis)

David is a mathematics teacher who also worked to design and implement units of curricula that he thought supported the Community of Learners principles. He collaborated with Sherin and Mendez to observe the efforts of mathematics teachers to implement the pedagogy reform Community of Learners.

In this research, David was identified initially focus on pedagogy and alternate pedagogy strategy he might have used. The problem he faced most was how to conduct an effective classroom discussion. Initially, David’s professional vision was the same as that of the other teachers.

A Shift in Professional Vision
Basically, there is a significant different between Sharen (researcher, which focus on interpreting mathematical ideas arose in class and David (teacher, which focus on what action to do in the given situation) after watching the videos of classroom activities. Therefore, Sharen encouraged David to analyze “what did happen”, not “what might have happened”. David did what Sharen suggested for him, and finally he became more comfortable to analyze what had occurred in the classroom through the excerpt of the videotape, o find the meaning of students’ comments, and to understand the mathematics had been discussed. However, it doesn’t mean that the researcher’s professional vision is better than that of the teachers, but it help in making the teachers’ standard focus on pedagogy quite analytical.

Impact on David’s Teaching
A shift in David’s professional vision, analyzing video, will of course have an impact on his teaching method. Now, David began to look easily at mathematical ideas arose in class during the lesson.
When asked how his experience in club influenced his teaching, David shared two things, are: 1) in the video club, he began to focus in a detailed manner on the ideas and comments that students raised, 2) through club video, he had developed different technique for reflecting on his teaching.

Issues in the Analysis of Professional Vision
Based on the experiences of those two people (Sherin and David), we can draw 3 factors contributing toward the development of professional vision of classroom events, they are: 1) our role in the classroom, 2) the medium through which we observe a class, and 3) the strategies we use to interpret the practice.

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