Critical incidents in a mathematics class: Reactions from two Pre-service Teachers

Year: 2016

Author: Marshman, Margaret, Dunn, Peter, Woolcott, Geoff

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Pre-service teachers need more opportunity to develop their ability to reflect critically on their teaching. A challenge for those working with pre-service teachers is how to help them identify and then react to critical incidents or teachable moments in classrooms. This case study is part of a larger collaborative project between the Regional Universities Network (RUN) universities which aims to improve the competence and confidence of mathematics and science pre-service teachers by engaging them in enhancement-lesson-reflection cycle. The pre-service teachers prepare their lessons with support from discipline and pedagogical experts, teach the lesson and then identify critical moments within the lesson when their emotions are highest and reflect on these with expert and peer support. Data were collected from transcripts of each of the enhancement, lesson, and reflection videos and analysed thematically to identify critical incidents or teachable moments and the discussion around these. Results from these two pre-service teachers describe how following reflection sessions one of the pre-service teachers was able to identify these critical incidents or teachable moments in his next lesson and was able to act on them and move the students forward in their learning. This has implications for initial teacher education and supporting pre-service teachers in being able to cater to individual student needs in their classroom.