Teaching elementary math—especially explaining the conceptual basis of algorithms and procedures— can be particularly challenging for novice teachers. Therefore, teacher-preparation programs need to provide robust support to help education preservice teachers (EPTs) acquire this specialized content knowledge and teach a high-quality math curriculum.

At the University of Indianapolis, technology-driven initiatives have helped our elementary EPTs master these instructional skills while engaging them in reflective professional learning. In particular, video coaching has been instrumental to our EPTs’ growth.

Implementing video coaching
Nearly four years ago, our junior-level EPTs were struggling to create rich mathematical tasks during their student teaching at a local highly diverse, high-needs elementary school. EPTs were challenged with transforming their lessons from procedures and worksheets to more authentic, child-centered, and culturally-appropriate tasks.

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Given the number of EPTs in our program, faculty had to limit their lesson observations and frequency. Consequently, faculty could only provide limited instructional feedback, which primarily consisted of brief written comments and rubric scores.

This lack of feedback was frustrating for the faculty and caused dissatisfaction with EPTs. There was also concern by teachers at the elementary school that their students were not having an optimal learning experience due to the lessons lacking rigor, relevancy, and student engagement. It became apparent to us that a change was necessary.

(Next page: How we used video to improve preservice instruction)

About the Author:

John Somers, Rachael Aming-Attai, and Gaoming Zhang are faculty members in the School of Education at the University of Indianapolis.


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