Printer Friendly

THE MICROTEACHING EXPERIENCE: STUDENT PERSPECTIVES.

Over the past several decades, various activities and strategies have been implemented into Teacher Education methods courses in an attempt to increase the effectiveness of the courses, as well as the education programs overall. While some may have come and gone, incorporating microteaching experiences into pre-service teacher education programs is still alive and strong in the 21st Century.

As Allen and Ryan (1969:1) stated, microteaching is "a training concept that can be applied at various pre-service and in-service stages in the professional development of teachers." It provides teachers with opportunities to practice in an instructional setting in which the normal complexities of the classroom are limited and in which they can receive feedback on their performances. As universities continued the implementation, a number of studies were conducted that provided evidence that microteaching is an effective means of improving pre-service teachers' teaching skills (Borg, Kallenbach, Morris, & Friebel, 1969: Davis & Smoot, 1970: McDonald & Allen, 1967; Morse & Davis, 1970; Yeany, 1978).

Today, the concept of microteaching appears to be alive and well. Various components to the experience have been altered or added, such as the videotaping of lessons and alternative forms of feedback for the "teacher", but the general philosophy still remains. A more modern definition can be taken from Cruickshank and Metcalf (1993:87), who stated that microteaching is a "scaled-down teaching encounter in which pre-service teachers demonstrate their ability to perform one of several desirable teacher abilities to a group of 3-5 peers during a short time period." An example might be for a student to prepare and teach a brief lesson to their peers in order to demonstrate the ability to present clear instruction. Once the lesson is completed, feedback is provided by way of a videotape analysis of the lesson or from peer/instructor comments, with evaluation focused on how well the student demonstrated the desired skill.

It is this model of microteaching, which includes the added components of videotaping and peer evaluation, that Millikin University recently selected to implement into several of its pre-service teacher education courses in an attempt to increase the effectiveness of the teacher education program. One of these courses is General Secondary Methods, which is composed primarily of sophomore education students from many disciplines. The course's main objective is to provide students with the opportunity to explore the field of teaching and gain knowledge and skills that will increase their effectiveness as future educators. It was decided that incorporating a microteaching experience would be beneficial and would assist in meeting this goal.

The microteaching component of the General Secondary Methods course lasts a month. Once students have been introduced to effective teaching skills, the students are divided into small groups of 6-8 students and asked to prepare ten minute "lessons" that focus on three specific teaching skills: establishing set, presenting clear instruction, and using questions effectively. Each student utilizes his/her individual discipline knowledge to select topics, prepare lessons, and then "teach" the lessons to peers in a mock-teaching setting. Feedback is provided after each lesson through peer evaluations. In addition, the lessons are videotaped, and each student is expected to complete a self-evaluation after watching his/her taped lesson.

Three sections of General Secondary Methods students at Millikin University participated in this study. Fifty-three secondary education students, spanning the disciplines of English, Social Science, Science, Physical Education, Art, and Math, completed the microteaching component of the course, teaching a series of three ten-minute lessons. At the end of the microteaching component of the course, the students evaluated the experience. Both quantitative and qualitative data were collected. A microteaching survey was completed that asked students to rate (from 1 to 10) six statements (which are listed below) focusing upon various components of the experience. In addition, an analysis paper was assigned that allowed students to reflect on the experience and share their general perceptions regarding the microteaching labs. The following section shares the results of the data, providing the mean scores for each of the survey statements, as well as specific quotes taken from the analysis papers that correspond to each of the survey statements. Overall perceptions of the microteaching experience are also included.

Data Analysis

Each of the statements from the microteaching survey is listed below, along with the mean scores. In addition, selected statements from the students' analyses of the microteaching experience are included that correlate to each of the statements and are indicative of overall student perceptions regarding each component.

1. The labs allowed me to assess my instructional strengths and weaknesses. Mean score: 9.13
   "I feel that I was able to identify my strengths and weaknesses and now I
   can work with them."

   "Microteaching was a very beneficial tool, in the sense that it has
   developed my confidence as well as focused on areas that need improvement."

   "I learned so much about my weaknesses and strengths, personal teaching
   attributes and new skills to employ when I enter the real world."


2. The labs increased and/or developed my public presentation/communication skills. Mean score: 8.60
   "The experience showed me how to present what I know to the best of my
   ability."

   "This experience has made my anxiety of public speaking almost
   nonexistent."

   "I saw these microteaching experiences as excellent opportunities for me to
   test my communication and teaching skills as well as learn some new `tricks
   of the trade'."


3. Videotaping and watching my lessons was beneficial to me. Mean score: 8.85

"Due to the use of video cassette taping I have been able to step away from it all and analyze myself and my abilities."
   "I was glad I could watch myself teach and to see firsthand what I really
   need to improve on before I get out there. I had never experienced anything
   like that before, but it was a very helpful exercise and process to go
   through."

   "A factor that helped me was getting taped when I taught. I think that this
   was the most important part in doing the microteaching labs because it gave
   me, along with the other students, a chance to watch ourselves to see what
   we need to work on to improve. There are so many little things that you
   can't get from other people without seeing it for yourself, and that's what
   the tapes helped in doing."

   "I think the camera made me more nervous than anything ... I do have a
   phobia with video cameras, so I think that was probably my problem."


4. The peer evaluations of my lessons were beneficial. Mean score: 7.53
   "I think that watching others and being evaluated by others helped out a
   lot because I learned things about myself that I never noticed."

   "I feel that my peers did a great job of helping and supporting me in every
   way that they could, but one of the best benefits of teaching to a class of
   my peers is that when I struggled, and I did struggle, they were there and
   understood where I was coming from because they too were thrown into the
   same situations."

   "These small groups were helpful to me because I could teach them and I
   knew that I would get honest answers and useful ideas as to how I can
   improve my teaching skills. I knew that their thoughts would be honest and
   helpful because they expected the same out of me when they were teaching."

   "The feedback was not very helpful ... people would make a few suggestions
   but for the most part it was very broad and not of much help."


5. The labs allowed me to have a clearer idea of what it takes to plan and implement lessons. Mean score: 9.3
   "By doing these microteaching labs, I have learned a lot about myself and
   about the planning that must be done by myself the teacher ... what kinds
   of planning is required for different types of lessons and how I must plan
   to be prepared."

   "I learned more about time management and how long it takes to do things
   and pass things out. I also learned about some of the other little things
   about teaching that you don't really realize until you get up and actually
   teach."

   "I think that the microteaching labs helped me put into perspective the
   scope of the actual planning and the amount of time needed to finish it,
   like a big wake-up call."


6. Through the various lessons taught (and observed) in the labs, I have gained many ideas and strategies to implement in future teaching situations. Mean score: 9.1
   "I learned from the other students in my group as well. Some people had
   really fun and interesting ways to teach and topics to teach. Others took
   regular topics and made them interesting. I learned ideas for lessons and
   ways to teach from everyone in my group as well."

   "I gathered many good ideas from my fellow classmates, and some of their
   great ideas might help me in the future."

   "By teaching before my peers, I feel that I learned some different ways to
   teach that I had not thought of before and I may use in the future to
   express a point to one of my classes. With all of the different teaching
   styles being presented, I learned that my way is not the only way that
   something can be done and that not everyone learns the same way."


Overall Comments

In addition to quotations specific to the topics found in the above statements, many students shared their overall perceptions of the microteaching labs. Again, the statements shared below are indicative of overall student perceptions toward the microteaching experience, rather than cumulative.
   "Microteaching was a very worthwhile experience for me this semester. I
   learned quite a bit about myself as a teacher, how easy it is and is not to
   be the teacher, and how hard it is to teach my peers."

   "I feel that this is a positive thing for all future teachers to do and
   should be continued because it does a great job simulating real teaching
   situations while at the same time doing so in a safe and productive
   atmosphere."

   "The microteaching labs I experienced at Millikin University were very
   productive and gave me the most useful information out of all of my
   education classes."

   "Without a doubt, these labs were some of the most valuable exercises out
   of any of my education requirements so far. It helped me realize how
   difficult it really is to teach science, no matter how well you know the
   material."

   "This has been one of the most exciting classes at Millikin because of the
   hands-on activities. Since everyone enrolled in this class is planning on
   teaching, microteaching is the perfect way to get the students to prepare
   for the future when they will be teaching for themselves."


Discussion

The results of this research strongly indicate that incorporating a microteaching experience into a pre-service teacher education program is very beneficial from the students' perspectives. The mean scores for each of the six survey statements were within the top quartile, with the lowest score given to the benefit of peer evaluations. While the majority of students found the assistance of peer evaluation to be of benefit, a few believed that the peer evaluation process needed to be revised so that more detailed feedback could be received, rather than the general feedback being given. Students did, however, find that peers were supportive and provided constructive tips and suggestions that could be used to improve their teaching in the future.

Students also believed that the labs provided them with opportunities to gain new ideas and strategies. During the labs, they were able to observe and learn from the variety of teaching strategies incorporated into their peers' lessons. Ideas for interesting or engaging topics as well as methods to increase lesson effectiveness were identified, and several students stated that they planned to use them in future lesson planning.

In addition to the positive role that peers played in the overall experience, students found the use of videotape as an effective means for feedback and reflection. Although there were three students who did not enjoy or benefit from having their lessons videotaped, the majority of students appreciated being able to critique themselves and see how they actually looked while teaching. Many students indicated that they were able to gain insight into their individual teaching techniques through this venue and found it to be a positive component to the experience.

Through the microteaching experience, students found that they were able to discern strengths and weaknesses in their teaching. While many students identified areas of improvement in their individual teaching abilities, they also shared that they felt more confident as a result of the microteaching labs and had increased their abilities to effectively instruct students. In the area of public presentation and communication skills, several students stated that the actual act of getting up in front of others and present information had been a positive experience, and once again, the confidence levels and feelings of success in presenting a lesson increased as the labs continued.

The final component assessed in the survey focused on the planning and implementation of lessons. Many students agreed that the labs provided them with a clearer understanding and a greater appreciation for these tasks. Several students discussed the fact that that it was not as easy as previously thought once they had completed the experience, and that they had a greater understanding of how planning directly influences the effectiveness of the implementation of the lesson.

Overall, student perceptions of the microteaching experience were very positive. The students indicated that the hands-on approach provided them with excellent opportunities to gain knowledge and skills in the area of teaching. Several students stated that they found the experience to be the most beneficial thus far in their program, and the majority appreciated the opportunity to participate in the microteaching experience. The labs provided them with a safe, supportive environment in which to try out ideas and strategies and receive constructive feedback.

Conclusion

This study provides evidence that the use of microteaching in pre-service teacher education programs can be a valuable instructional tool. Findings indicate that students enjoy the microteaching experience, learn about their teaching abilities, increase their confidence and teaching skills, receive multiple forms of feedback on their lessons, and appreciate being able to see themselves "in action" through the use of videotape. In addition, by observing peers' lessons, they increase their repertoire of ideas and strategies for teaching future lessons. Microteaching, while not the "real thing", is an effective method of providing pre-service teacher education students with opportunities to grow as teachers.

References

Allen, D. and Ryan, K. (1969). Microteaching. Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company.

Borg, W., Kallenbach, W., Morris, M. and Friebel, A. (1969). Videotape feedback and microteaching in a teacher training model. Journal of Experimental Education, 37, 9-16.

Cruickshank, D. and Metcalf, K. (1993). Improving preservice teacher assessment through on-campus laboratory experiences. Theory Into Practice, 32 (2), 86-92.

Davis, O. and Smoot, B. (1970). Effects on verbal teaching behaviors of beginning secondary teacher candidates' participation in a program of laboratory teaching: Laboratory observation schedule and record. Educational Leadership, 28, 165-169.

McDonald, F. and Allen, D. (1967). Training effects on feedback and modeling procedures on teacher performance. Stanford University: School of Education.

Morse, K. and Davis, O. (1970). Effectiveness of teaching laboratory instruction on the questioning behaviors of beginning teacher candidates. University of Texas: Research and Development Center for Teacher Education.

Yeany, R. (1978). Effects of microteaching with videotaping and strategy analysis on the teaching strategies of preservice science teachers. Science Education. 62 (2), 203-207.
JODI BENTON-KUPPER
Assistant Professor of Education
Millikin University 62522-2084
COPYRIGHT 2001 Project Innovation (Alabama)
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

 
Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:BENTON-KUPPER, JODI
Publication:Education
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 22, 2001
Words:2612
Previous Article:COLLABORATING TO ESTABLISH STANDARDS AND ACCOUNTABILITY: LESSONS LEARNED ABOUT SYSTEMIC CHANGE.
Next Article:HIGH SCHOOL ACCOUNTABILITY MEANS THE PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT AND ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT OF ALL STUDENTS.
Topics:

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters