E-Coaching to Support University-Public School Partnerships: Disrupting Power Dynamics in Teacher Education

E-Coaching to Support University-Public School Partnerships: Disrupting Power Dynamics in Teacher Education

Elizabeth Bellows (Appalachian State University, USA), Aftynne E. Cheek (Appalachian State University, USA) and Morgan Blanton (Appalachian State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8009-6.ch016
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Three teacher educators partnered with a local high school to pilot an e-coaching model with secondary social studies pre-service teachers. Findings reveals an e-coaching supervisory model that can nurture relationships between university and public schools to support pre-service teacher (PST) development, can increase a PST's independence and confidence, and can support creation of a third space where power dynamics between university and public schools are disrupted and potentially leveled. Implications for e-coaching as a means of supervising field experiences in rural teacher education are discussed.
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To pilot the use of eCoaching and supervision through Zoom, we chose to work with PSTs who were secondary social studies education majors at Appalachian State University and who were completing their field experience in high school social studies classrooms during the spring semester of 2018. The PSTs were in tandem history majors, and their academic program was housed within the Department of History, in the College of Arts and Sciences. Roughly 60% of all history majors at Appalachian State choose to earn their degree in both history and social studies education. Though the PSTs are assigned two supervisors during their student teaching semester (one academic supervisor from the history department, and one supervisor from the College of Education), their first field experience must be supervised by either the methods professor or another faculty member in the College of Education. In other words, the onus is on the methods professor in the College of Education to organize supervisory visits with each PST during the methods semester.

All of the students within the history/secondary social studies program are required to take a specific methods course in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction called Teaching High School Social Studies (CI-3100) during the semester immediately preceding their student teaching semester. In this methods course, PSTs complete 50 field experience hours alongside a mentor teacher in a high school social studies classroom. Enrollment in the program has ranged from 14 to 37 students per semester, and students are often placed in neighboring mountain counties for their field placements. The methods instructors and supervisors work together to schedule observations of PSTs’ teaching episodes, to observe students teaching lessons in the field—often for the first time, and to provide encouragement, field notes, and rich feedback. Using traditional supervisory methods, students either received a face-to-face observation or video recorded their lessons. Both of these options resulted in delayed feedback that did not have an impact on the instructional practices observed during the lesson.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Videoconference: Real-time software platforms such as Zoom, Google Chat, or Skype that allow for remote conferencing via Internet connectivity and webcams in order to virtually conduct meetings or conferences.

Devices: Can refer to multiple technologies such as Bluetooth audio receivers, external webcams attached to laptops, laptops, microphones, cameras, etc.

Internship: An internship at ASU typically lasts one semester and is an accumulation of time spent in a public school classroom with goals and objectives or practicing the art of teaching prior to the student teaching (apprenticeship) semester.

Preservice Teacher (PST): At ASU, a preservice teacher (PST) is a senior education major obtaining service hours in a local school. Most PSTs are required to experience lesson planning and delivery under the leadership of both mentor teacher and university faculty/supervisor.

Bug-in-Ear: The “bug-in-ear” refers to a Bluetooth audio receiver that an intern wears inside the ear in order to hear audio from another source—in this case, the e-coach.

Public School Partnership: The public school partnership at Appalachian State University (ASU) is a collaborative community of local schools where interns and student teachers are placed by ASU and ASU faculty. The partnership compensates participating teachers for working on collaborative university and public school projects.

Supervision: Each PST at ASU is supervised during early field experiences. A supervision typically entails a pre-conference or lesson plan submission, an observation of a teaching episode, and a post-conference focused on reflection and feedback.

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