Developing Pre-Service Teachers' Confidence: Real-Time Coaching in Teacher Education

Year: 2017

Author: Stahl, Garth, Sharplin, Erica, Kehrwald

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Teacher quality' is a continuing major concern in the Western world and, as a consequence, the most effective approach to teacher training remains a contested area. From a deficit view, it has been argued that teachers resist change because they lack motivation, have inadequate knowledge and expertise to modify their practice and are reluctant to take risks for fear of having their confidence damaged. While remaining skeptical of such a deficit view, our interest and research is in practice-based approaches which seek to better prepare teachers for teaching in contemporary society.

Specifically, this presentation discusses the use of a Real-Time Coaching (RTC) model to enhance pre-service teachers' practical skills for contemporary classroom teaching. There has been a recent shift in teacher education whereby feedback is delivered instantaneously via wireless earpiece (Scheeler et al. 2006). This technology-mediated delivery of feedback in real time is more discreet and does not interrupt the activity.

Our RTC model focused upon pre-service teachers micro-teaching while simultaneously receiving feedback via a headset in real-time; this was then combined with multiple collaborative feedback cycles in order to foster reflective practice. This model sought to engage participants in iterative cycles of preparation, action, feedback, and reflection which supported the acceleration of development of classroom teaching skills. It was evident that this iterative cycle - where the approach was adaptive to the needs of the pre-service teacher - also had a significant influence on pre-service teachers gaining confidence. We contend this specific coaching model, RTC, positively influences teachers' confidence and fosters a sense of ownership while influencing affective attributes such as resilience, efficacy and a disposition toward continual improvement while developing pre-service teachers practical skills. Through the lens of teacher identity, our research adopts a socially critical orientation to the conceptual lens of resilience which acknowledges the psychological dimensions of resilience in regards to agentic response to challenge, but also the broader social, economic and political forces on human experience (Le Cornu 2013, Johnson et al. 2014). Our findings indicate that RTC contributed to fostering a sense of ownership for pre-service teachers around developing practical skills while influencing affective attributes, efficacy and a disposition toward continual improvement.