Approximating Practice: The Use of Online Technologies in Learning to Teach Visual Arts

Year: 2016

Author: Mathewson Mitchell, Donna

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

If learning to teach is considered an activity that requires practical and bodily engagement in real time scenarios then the increasing use of online technologies in universities poses many problems for teacher education, particularly in relation to the judgment of teaching proficiency. In response to this problem, a curriculum reform to incorporate a focus on embodied practices in the online higher education environment investigated the affordances of social media as a vehicle for approximating ‘core practices’ of teaching over time. Using a case study from this inquiry, in this presentation I argue that a project-based approach that explores authentic teaching and learning scenarios, requiring the approximation of teaching skills in the online environment can support pre-service teachers to focus on particular aspects of teaching practice. I suggest that within a practice-theoretical approach to teacher education the purposeful use of social media platforms for online projects that incorporate video interaction can effectively support continuing growth towards attainment of teaching competence and expertise in the particular area of visual arts. As a means of capturing real-time complex representations, the interactive use of video within a responsive social media community ensures that the non-linguistic, relational and affective dimensions of teaching can be evidenced and highlighted for reflection, thus optimising the impact on pre-service teacher professional learning. Such an approach moves beyond the limitations of generic professional standards and provides a basis for defensible judgments of teaching proficiency in the online environment.