Designing a Collaborative Video Learning Lab to Transform Teachers' Work Practices

Designing a Collaborative Video Learning Lab to Transform Teachers' Work Practices

Valérie Lussi Borer (University of Geneva, Switzerland) and Alain Muller (University of Geneva, Switzerland)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0711-6.ch004
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Abstract

Video is increasingly used in professional development programs for teachers. Several studies have shown that the ability to notice and analyze pertinent classroom elements is the mark of an expert teacher, but little research has focused on how to use video to bring about real transformations in teachers' classroom activity. A research program was therefore developed to address this issue, drawing on Dewey's notion of collaborative inquiry and key concepts from work analysis. The research revealed three processes of professional development that video-artifacts can bring to the fore and enrich: mimetic engagement, the comparison and cross-fertilization between activities, and the deconstruction-reconstruction of activity. On the basis of these processes, the researchers designed a program called the Collaborative Video Learning Laboratory, which has yielded promising preliminary results for professional development. The advantages and challenges of this program are discussed and the new perspectives for professional development programs for teachers are presented.
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Introduction

Teacher education and professional development (PD) have long been modeled on curriculum-based programs, with teachers attending classes on a regular basis to acquire new or updated knowledge about their profession. Yet these programs are increasingly being seen as unsatisfactory in bringing about transformations in professional practices, notably at a time when the schools are often pressed to adapt to rapidly changing social contexts (OECD, 2014). This observation is thus not new, but the dissatisfaction has become acute and educational policies are needed that can respond with new ways to improve PD in the schools. We believe that in this context a developmental approach holds promise.

A developmental approach to education presupposes the design of ad hoc programs that:

  • 1.

    Support teachers as they develop professionally and not just as they acquire the knowledge needed to begin their practice1,

  • 2.

    Allow educators to function as facilitators rather than as transmitters of knowledge,

  • 3.

    Flexible enough to allow the educational contents to be closely adapted to the professional obstacles or problems that the teachers themselves identify (Leblanc & Ria, 2014), and

  • 4.

    Let the educational program unfold in various non-anticipable and negotiated timeframes (Durand, 2011).

This chapter describes why and how video-based education contributes to a developmental perspective.

Video- and artifact-based programs are increasingly used for teacher education and PD for four main reasons:

  • 1.

    Explosive growth in the technological potential of digital techniques,

  • 2.

    Simpler use of video tools,

  • 3.

    A clearer picture of the teaching practices that the reforms in educational policies and PD programs have targeted for change, and

  • 4.

    The increasing conviction that training and actual professional practice must be more closely associated (Blomberg et al., 2013; Calandra & Rich, 2014; Gaudin & Chaliès, 2015; Janik & Seidel, 2009).

The use of video is nevertheless often limited, perhaps reductively, to:

  • 1.

    Bringing authentic images of the real practices of teachers and students,

  • 2.

    Illustrating the steps of good practice transmission,

  • 3.

    Standardizing the practices to be used in the schools and classrooms in response to new reforms, and

  • 4.

    Building a “prescriptive learning path to improve teacher professional competencies” (which was denounced in the introduction to this book).

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