Using eye tracking to investigate student teachers’ monitoring of complex pair work in English as a foreign language lessons

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Type Conference abstract
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Education

Description Classroom teaching places great demands on teachers as in each moment there are a number of stimuli competing for the teacher’s attention. Classrooms situations are characterised by their multidimensionality (many things happening), simultaneity (at the same time), immediacy (that need to be reacted to immediately) and unpredictability (Doyle, 1977). Teachers’ perception, interpreting, and understanding of the situations guides their decisions and is thus of utmost importance in the teaching and learning process. In order to help (especially beginning) teachers deal with this complexity, we need to understand the processes of their perception better. A lot of teacher research has thus focused on phenomena such as teachers’ professional vision (Sherin & van Es, 2009), noticing (Sherin, Jacobs, & Philipp, 2011) or ability to notice (Star & Strickland, 2008). Traditionally, the study of these phenomena is based on verbal comments on or ratings of classroom videos. In recent years, eye tracking methodology has been used to provide another dimension of our understanding of teachers’ perception of classroom situations (e.g. van den Bogert et al., 2014; Wolff et al., 2016). Our study contributes to this strand of research and aims to investigate how student teachers of English as a foreign language monitor classroom situations in which the class work all together (e.g. giving instructions to the whole class) or in which the pupils work in pairs when watching a video recording of such a classroom situation, namely how they distribute their visual attention with special focus on the most and the least active pupils and how they describe (label) these pupils. We showed 20 student teachers of English as a foreign language four classroom videos (approx. 1 to 1.5 minute long; two show pupils working in pairs; two show the class working as a whole) and asked them to observe and comment on the pupils’ activity. More specifically, before watching the videos we asked them if all the pupils were working on the given task or following the situation appropriately. We collected two types of data – teachers’ visual attention was monitored using SMI RED250MOBILE (250Hz); their verbal comments were recorded and transcribed. In the eye tracking data, we investigated the number and duration of fixations on the individual pupils. In the verbal data, we analysed whether the respondents identify pupils that are struggling or not working accordingly and how they comment on (or label) these pupils. The analysis is currently underway. The results will help us understand monitoring of complex classroom situations.
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