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Izmir Katip Çelebi University School of Foreign Languages ‘Teacher Researchers in Action’

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Presentation on theme: "Izmir Katip Çelebi University School of Foreign Languages ‘Teacher Researchers in Action’"— Presentation transcript:

1 Izmir Katip Çelebi University School of Foreign Languages ‘Teacher Researchers in Action’

2 Reflective Peer Observations: What do they reveal? Dr. Wayne Trotman Izmir Katip Çelebi University

3 Why Teacher Research? ‘Although teacher research remains a minority activity in the field of language teaching, has the potential to be a powerful transformative force in the professional development of language teachers.’ (Borg, 2013:6) ‘Research should aim to enhance teachers’ understanding of some aspect of their work.‘ (Borg, ).

4 What is Peer Observation? ‘ Peer observation involves monitoring a lesson or part of a lesson given by a colleague in order to gain an understanding of a specific aspect of either teaching, learning or classroom interaction.’ (Trotman, 2014*) *Teacher Evaluation in Second Language Education. Bloomsbury, UK. Eds: Howard, A. & Donoghue, H.

5 ‘In a reflective context, peer observation is not carried out in order to judge the teaching of others, but to encourage self- reflection and self-awareness about our own teaching.’ (Cosh, 1999) ‘Since peer observations are supportive rather than evaluative, during such activities teachers are able to learn from and support each other.’ (Head and Taylor, 1997) ‘Peer observation discussions help teachers to reflect on their practice and explore the reasons and beliefs that underlie their classroom behaviour. (Başturkmen, 2007)

6 How peer observation leads to development: ‘Kolb’s cycle’ -

7 Account writing can be via: Observer narrative: the most important aspects are described objectively, while any form of initial evaluation is avoided. Field notes: brief descriptions of key events including the observer’s reflective interpretations. Accounts in this study contained descriptions of activities observed along with observers’ reflective comments. A third means is via: Checklists: used as a focused and systematic means of data collection, although correctly identifying certain features on the inventory may be problematic.

8 Reflection is... ‘..the ability to analyse an action systematically and to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the action in order to improve practice.’ Copland, Ma and Mann (2009: 15)

9 Research Focus: This study.... investigated who teachers chose to observe and their reasons analysed what they chose as a focus and why? categorised reflective comments & related them to evidence of professional development.

10 Context and Participants 12 teachers of EFL in the prep’ year at a state university in Turkey; all NNSps novice (zero - three years experience) fairly experienced (three - five years) experienced (five - ten years) ‘Corpus’ (body of texts): five novice four fairly experienced three experienced

11 Possible topics of focus For what purpose and how often does the teacher use the L1? Can you categorise examples? How does the teacher get the students to produce the target language? What is the ratio of TTT (Teacher Talking Time) and STT (Student Talking Time)? Oral error correction: how and how much? Instant or delayed? Examples? How effective was it? Instructions: how many? Are they clear and easily understood? Can you label and / or categorise them? How does the teacher organise work on the board? Is it clear and legible? How closely was the teacher able to follow the lesson plan?

12 Survey Questions: Who did you choose to observe and why? Why did you choose the aspect of the lesson you focused on? How do you feel you benefited professionally from observing a peer teaching?

13 Analysis Observer preferences: Who and Why? In 7/12 cases teachers chose to observe more experienced colleagues than themselves: ‘She was my partner and more experienced than me.’ (Self-development) One observed a less experienced colleague: ‘I chose to observe (X) because she always comes to me for advice and I thought I could be of more help if I saw her teaching.’ (Development of other)

14 Observing a teacher covering the same material : 4/12 ‘We both taught speaking.. I wanted to see the way she taught the same subjects and topics’ and ‘She was also teaching the same lessons I was giving to another class.’ (Self / Mutual-development)

15 Finding One: Teacher preference for an observee leads to three possible types of professional development: Self-development Mutual development Development of another Implication One: Peer observation could / should be used more for mutual development and the development of others.

16 Analysis: Observer preferences: What? Johnny Saldana, ‘The Coding Manual for Qualitative Researchers’ (2012). Classroom Management: 6 / 12 Giving instructions L1 use Discipline Classrom Language focus: 5 / 12 Grammar teaching Skills

17 Observer Preferences: What? TOPIC FOCUSCODESCATEGORYTHEMES / CONCEPTS Issuing instructions / Ending the lesson (N) Issuing instructions (N) Instructions CM focusedTeacher Perspective L1 Use for classroom management L1 Use CM focusedTeacher Perspective Teaching and revising Modals / Grammar teaching in English (N) L1 / L2 Use for teaching grammar Grammar CL focusedTeacher Perspective Student attitudes towards a NEST / L1 UseAttitudes Student focusedStudent Perspective Table 1: Categories of focus

18 Fındings Two: How colleagues manage their classroom is of interest to observing teachers, while the teaching of grammar is also clearly an interest. 4 / 5 novice teachers (N) indicated a concern for classroom management, perhaps reflecting a need for training in this area. In only 1 / 12 accounts was the observer viewing the lesson from the perspective of the students. Implication Two: Observers and observees should try to investigate, reflect and evaluate matters more from the perspective of the students being taught.

19 Analysis: Observer preferences: Why? A follow up survey of open-ended questions to investigate their reasons: (10 / 12) Responsesfrom novice teachers (N) - with between one and three years’ experience – indicate peer observation for problem solving. Other categories revealed how comparison with a colleague was the dominant feature in five of the ten cases, In three cases there appeared to be a perceived lack of skills on the part of the observing teacher. The other two cases were related to the development of self and other.

20 Topic of FocusReason GivenCategory (N) I focused on the strategies my peer used to teach reading to see how she gave feedback to studentsComparison (N) I focused on giving instructions because I thought my students sometimes failed to understand my instructions Lack of skills She tried not to use L1 while teaching grammar and this is an aspect of her teaching she wants to work on Supporting development L1 use(Because) I wanted to see how L1 could be used for teaching grammar with weaker learners Comparison

21 Observer developmental outcomes: 9 / 12 = pedagogical knowledge: Transferable skills that could be implemented in future teaching 3 / 12 = affective / emotional: ‘Subjective qualities of human experience’ (Saldana, 2012: 86)

22 Reflective commentCategoryLearning Outcome His use of the L1 seemed to make students feel more self-confident Affective: empathy Native speaker knowledge of the L1 of the target group is a desirable feature of teaching I’ve had difficulties in giving students instructions (and) I made a lot of effort to get them to comprehend (but) I was not sure if they understood Pedagogical knowledge Eleven different instructions, e.g, “Don’t write them now, I’ll give you time for it later I liked the way she used her fingers in order not to speak but to make students speak in English Pedagogical knowledgeProduction and correction techniques (she) resorted to L1 both to clarify key parts and demonstrate how sentences can be translated into Turkish. Pedagogical knowledgeL1 use by the teacher is reasonable when students are low-proficiency learners

23 Conclusions and Implications Teachers clearly prefer peer observation; being observed by a trainer with a checklist they view more as an official evaluation. Teachers prefer to observe a partner, a friend or a more experienced colleague, the latter being particularly true for novice teachers. On only two occasions in this study did teachers observe those with less experience than themselves, and it would perhaps be of use for both parties if more experienced colleagues, especially those in administerial and training positions, carried out peer observations with less experienced teachers. Observer focus was divided largely into either classroom management or classroom language. Within the category of classroom management, along with giving instructions, L1 use and discipline dominated.

24 Most of the language focused coding indicated an interest in grammar teaching; the remaining accounts looked at skills teaching. Since all observers but one focused on matters taking place from the perspective of the observee, it would be advisable for trainers to encourage teachers observing their peers to try to see things from the perspective of the learner. Five cases featured comparison with a colleague while in three others there was a self perception of a lack of skills. Self and other development were also an interest. It was noticeable that three cases opted to investigate the use or otherwise of the L1.

25 Developmental outcomes tended to be largely pedagogic, and to a lesser extent affective, with the former showing more measurable evidence than others. While those in the pedagogic category related predominantly to classroom management, affective factors could be further described as emotional, as they tended to be empathetic in tone. Follow up: Observing participants to investigate whether measurable learning outcomes (such as acquiring a new vocabulary teaching technique and giving clearer instructions) had become an integral part of their knowledge base, and thus something they could demonstrate in the classroom.

26 References Basturkmen, H. (2007), ‘Teachers’ beliefs and teacher training’. The Teacher Trainer, 21, 8-10 Borg, S. (2013), Teacher Research in Language Teaching: A Critical Analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Copland, F., Ma, G. and Mann, S. (2009), ‘Reflecting in and on post-observation feedback in initial teacher-training on certificate courses’. English Language Teacher Education Development, 12, Cosh, J. (1999), ‘Peer Observation: a reflective model’. English Language Teaching Journal, 53 (1), Dörnyei, Z. (2007), Research Methods in Applied Linguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Goleman, D. (1995), Emotional Intelligence. New York: Bantam Books. Head, K. and Taylor, P. (1997), Readings in Teacher Development. Oxford: Heinemann. Johnson, K.E (1992), ‘Learning to Teach: Instructional actions and decisions of pre-service ESL teachers’. TESOL Quarterly, 32 (3) Richards, J. and Farrell, T. (2005), Professional Development for Language Teachers: Strategies for Teacher Learning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Saldana, J. (2012), The Coding Manual for Qualitative Researchers. Thousand Oaks: California, Sage. Seldin, P. (2012), Changing Practices in Evaluating Teaching: accessed September 2013: Tsui, A.B.M. (2003), Understanding Expertise in Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Yates, L. (2003), Interpretive claims and methodological warrant in small number qualitative, longitudinal research. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 6, (3),

27 My thanks to the following teachers at IKÇÜ for agreeing to my use of data they generated: Kevser Özdemir Nazlı Civelekoğlu Mebruke Ömür Semra Küçük Nazile Şen Neslihan Köroğlu İclal Karataş Suzan Yıldırım Nida Fidanboy Ayşen Özel Ercan Afacan Anıl Çobanoğlu

28 Thank you for attending today &.....enjoy the rest of the programme.


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