test 1

22.7 Preliminary Findings

The analysis of the surveys and Flipgrid clips demonstrated that the cohort of PSTs aligned broadly with the demographics of the Teacher Education student population, being predominately female (65%) and aged between 18 and 25 (70%). Overall, the group was very positive about the workshop program and the subsequent mixed reality teaching. When asked to evaluate improvements, 93% claimed that their planning for engagement and success of diverse learners had been augmented, and 92% believed that the experience had boosted their confidence in their teaching performance. 86% thought that they had more strategies for classroom management while 90% reported that their ability to accept feedback and reflect on their own performance had improved.

When asked whether the Teach Ready program had been a worthwhile under­taking, all participants ticked "yes". When asked to choose one benefit of the Teach Ready program and justify their choice, the responses indicated that many found choosing just one benefit was difficult. Many were of the opinion that reflecting on their experiences, planning lessons, and practising delivering those lessons in the mixed-reality environment improved their chances of success when next they were in front of a real class (Fig. 22.2). The most popular response was that the program enhanced their teaching-performance skills in areas such as implementa­tion of teaching strategies, explanation skills, and teacher demeanor. As Participant 34 explained, "It helped build teaching manner and to think on my feet. I believe that it offers US as teachers an opportunity to test our own skills and how we may present content." Another 16% believed that the most important impact was on confidence levels, as had been found in previous research (Ledger & Fischetti, 2020; McGarr, 2020). Participant 9 gave the opinion that "the main benefit is that a teacher can gain confidence over their voice, presentation, and being put on the spot. I feel this would translate very easily into the real classroom environment". Some participants (8%) saw the mixed-reality environment as a beneficial practice space, and described it as having a "realistic feel" (Participant 4) and being "risk-free" (Participant 12). Partic­ipant 11 concluded that the benefits were "gaining wonderful teaching experience where it felt like I was working with real-life people that responded and challenged my teaching. This is a fantastic way to reflect the classroom environment and not have to worry about pleasing supervisors". Twelve percent found that interacting with the avatars made them aware of the diversity of a contemporary classroom and the importance of being sensitive to the individual differences in the student population. Participant 3 expressed the sentiment of these responses: "I got a feel for and under­standing of what a real life classroom would be like. Gives a better understanding of the diversity of students you may find in a classroom and that you have to take notice of everyone."

The development of a critical appraisal of teaching planning and performance was also suggested as a benefit of this program (13%). Self, peer and expert evaluation for improvement was a feature of the Teach Ready program and several participants commented that they had learnt to be more resilient in the face of critical feedback.

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enhance performance skills

Risk free environment

Improves reflective skills

Confidence building

Enhances classroom management

Good preparation for next placement

Fig. 22.2 Benefits of the teach ready program (N = 35). Source authors

Participant 22 was one of this group; "I am better at taking what I am doing wrong and not getting too upset.

Having an expert watching and providing feedback was incredibly helpful and I liked the comments on the chat [in Zoom].’’ All these participants had failed to reach the required performance levels in their professional placement, but only 7% saw preparation for next professional placement in schools as the main benefit of the Teach Ready program.

Participant 27 saw the online teaching workshops and mixed reality teaching experiences as an opportunity to improve during the Covid-19 Pandemic:

It [the Teach Ready program] is a great and safe way to think about and practice my teaching skills and ability to interact with students. Because of the COVID-19 situation my practical placement was cancelled this semester, so teaching in a virtual classroom was a great way to compensate for the real-life experience with teaching that I had missed out on. It’s useful to help training teachers keep in the loop of teaching especially when there are such large gaps between pracs [professional placements].

22.8 Conclusion

Initial teacher education programs and their accreditors require that all pre-service teachers attain the graduate stage of the APSTs. This study investigated the impact of a support program that aimed to assist a group of students who were deemed “at risk” of not meeting these standards. The data supported that the Teach Ready program went some way to addressing their needs, built self-efficacy and helped mitigate the perceived “reality shock”. The research found that the program was helpful in supporting students to be more confident and skilful in the classroom environment. The cognitive apprenticeship approach of modelling, support, and coaching along with independent performance proved effective in deconstructing the teaching tasks. The digital micro-teaching sessions gave pre-service teachers opportunities to enact a lesson, interact with and direct students, and reflect on their performance. The group dynamic helped the pre-service teachers to analyse their previous misunderstandings and shortcomings and practice to improve. These results suggest that teaching skills can be improved by carefully crafted lessons that model skills and strategies and scaffold rehearsals.

The shared experience of the group members was conducive to reflection and the discussion led by expert and experienced school-teachers provided an authentic platform for the resolution of issues and for coming to terms with the realities of contemporary education. The workshops featured demonstration and rehearsal of presentation skills, such as voice and pace, and explicit instruction in skills such as explanation and questioning. The mixed-reality teaching session reinforced these skills and allowed the pre-service teachers to experience some success in their class­room encounters and practice enacting strategies. Feedback and support from the staff and peers invigorated the process, and most of the cohort believed that the Teach Ready program was an important part of their preparation for returning to schools.

This research project has succeeded in establishing baseline data for the Teach Ready program. The use of the qualitative methodologies of surveys, interview sand self-made film responses have allowed the voices of what had been under­performing pre-service teachers to be heard, and structured instruction and practice have enhanced their confidence and teaching performance skills, and so increased their chances of success on their next placement. The data allows the drawing of some conclusions, but this work is a preliminary foray into this important development in teacher education. The findings suggest several avenues for further investigations, and have implications for initial teacher education agendas more broadly, with arguably the most significant being the need for consistent attention to virtual teaching envi­ronments, and their integration into initial teacher education programs. Following the result that mixed-reality learning environments present opportunities for pre-service teachers to develop confidence, which can increase their chances of success in real classroom teaching, the next step of the project investigates the successes and failures of the subsequent placement experience and follows another group on their Teach Ready journey.

 

 

Appendix 1

Teach Ready workshop program outline

 

Workshop focus

Teaching skills

Activities

Resources

1

  • Introducing a topic
  • Accessing student prior knowledge
  • Beginning a lesson
  • Presentation skills: voice, pace, eye contact, demeanour
  • Levels of questioning
  • Organising and implementing an activity
  • Class discussion: Placement de-brief and aims of teach ready
  • Developing questions, practice, review
  • Explanationusing graphic organisers in teaching
  • Rehearsal of using a KWL to access prior student knowledge
  • Individual development of micro-lesson, scripting
  • Peer rehearsal and tuning protocol
  • Notes on questioning techniques
  • KWL template
  • YouTube tutorial KWL
  • Lesson template

2

  • Enacting a multi­stage activity
  • Collaborative learning
  • Presentation skills: voice, pace, eye contact, demeanour
  • Explanation skills
  • Interacting and building rapport
  • Organising and implementing an activity
  • Responding to student contributions
  • Concluding a lesson
  • Rehearsal of using a Think, Pair, Share to promote engagement and class collaboration
  • Individual - development of micro­

lesson, scripting

  • Peer rehearsal and tuning protocol
  • Notes on graphic organisers
  • Notes on class groupings
  • Think, Pair, Share template
  • YouTube tutorial Think, Pair, Share
  • Micro-lesson template

3

  • Enacting a multi­stage activity
  • Visual analysis protocols
  • Presentation skills: voice, pace, eye contact, demeanour
  • Interacting and building rapport
  • Organising and implementing an activity
  • Responding to student contributions
  • Making a summary of learning
  • Rehearsal of using a See, Think, Wonder strategy to analyse images
  • Individual - development of micro- lesson, scripting
  • Peer rehearsal and tuning protocol
  • Notes on visual literacy
  • Notes on See, Think, Wonder strategy
  • See, Think, Wonder template
  • YouTube tutorial See, Think, Wonder
  • Selection of images
  • Micro-lesson template

(continued)

 

 

(continued)

 

Workshop focus

Teaching skills

Activities

Resources

4

• Constructing a discussion and debate

  • Presentation skills: voice, pace, eye contact, demeanour
  • Interacting and building rapport
  • Questioning
  • Enacting a staged activity
  • Responding to student contributions
  • Summarising class findings
  • Rehearsal of using T Chart to promote discussion and debate
  • Individualdevelopment of micro- lesson, scripting
  • Peer rehearsal and tuning protocol
  • T-chart template
  • YouTube tutorial using a T chart
  • Micro-lesson template

5

  • Evaluating and improving lessons and teaching performance
  • Concluding a topic
  • Presentation skills: voice, pace, eye contact, demeanour
  • Reflective skills
  • Questioning
  • Enacting a staged activity
  • Summarising class learning
  • Using SWOT analysis to reflection on Teach Ready Program
  • Individual - development of micro- lesson, scripting
  • Peer rehearsal and tuning protocol
  • SWOT template
  • YouTube tutorial using SWOT analysis
  • Micro-lesson template