Modelling, Explaining, Enacting and Getting Feedback: How can the Acquisition of Core Practices in Teacher Education be Optimally Supported?

Project: Research

Project participants

In this project, we investigate how the instructional phases of modelling, explaining, enacting and getting feedback should be designed in order to support student teachers’ acquisition of teaching competencies optimally. Theoretically, we focus on the notion of core practices. Following McDonald et al. (2013), core practices are domain-general and research-based instructional activities which are essential to the work of teaching and which novices can learn and begin to master in their early years. How should the acquisition of core practices in teacher education be instructionally supported? Should student teachers first try out a core practice independently before they study a modelling example and a theoretical explanation of the core practice? Or would it be more effective to study first the modelling example and the theoretical explanation before enacting the core practice? Can the acquisition of core practices be facilitated by a microteaching with peers that prepares the enactment of the core practice with pupils? How should feedback be designed in order to support the acquisition of teaching skills?
To answer these questions, we discuss and contrast crucial theoretical assumptions underlying important instructional approaches and skill-acquisition models from Educational Science and Educational Psychology (the Learning Cycle by McDonald et al., 2013, Productive Failure by Kapur, 2008, and ACT-R by Anderson and Schunn, 2000). Based on this theoretical discussion, we derive a number of hypotheses regarding the optimal sequencing and design of instructional phases which will be tested in four experimental training studies. The core practice to be trained is “Introducing pupils into the self-guided interpretation of informational texts”. This core practice can ideally be implemented by the research-based reading-strategy script “Reciprocal Teaching (RT)” developed by Palinscar and Brown (1984). We will systematically vary the composition of the teacher trainings as well as the sequencing and design of the training phases. As dependent variables we will measure (1) student teachers’ conceptual knowledge about and attitudes towards RT, (2) their professional vision of RT situations, and (3) their ability to professionally enact RT with pupils.
The project contributes to the empirical investigation of important instructional approaches and skill-acquisition models from practice-based teacher education and cognitive-psychological research on learning and instruction. Within empirical research on teacher education, there is currently a lack of experimental studies that systematically vary the instructional phases of modelling, enacting, and getting feedback, and measure the effects of these variations on teacher students’ knowledge, professional vision and teaching competence. On a theoretical level, the project advances the theoretical integration of instructional approaches that hitherto have been discussed in separated scientific communities. On a practical level, we will derive from our studies evidence-based practical recommendations of how competence-oriented teacher trainings should be designed.