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Teachers See What They're Doing

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"The student teachers would much rather see exactly what they're doing than hear about it from somebody else." Floyd L. Bergman of the University's School of Education was discussing one of the main advantages of STVT: The Student Teacher Video Tape Training Project. Bergman, 41, an assistant professor of education, is director of the project, which is attempting to determine the feasibility of using video taping at the University as an aid or substitute for live supervisión of student teachers in the classroom. STVT is being financed by the University's Office of Kesearch Administration i n cooperation with the School of Education's Video Tape Recording Center. Participating in the project, which began in February and ends late this month, are 16 student teachers at Ann Arbor's Forsythe Junior High and 18 at Slauson Junior High. All the student teachers are seniors in the U-M School of Education. All U-M students receiving a state teaching certifícate must do one semester of supervised student teaching in their senior year. In Ann Arbor, University student teachers are placed at Ann Arbor High, Forsythe, Scarlett, Slauson and Tappan Junior Highs, University School, St. Thomas High and severa1 elementary schools. Other Washtenaw County "cooperating" schools are located in Belleville, Dexter, Saline, Willow Run and Ypsilanti. STVT works as follows: 16 stu- dent teachers assigned to For-! sythe were issued hour-long! televisión tapes in Februáry.1 They video tape a certain num-' ber of their classroom performances, and after scrutinizing the tapes with their supervising teachers, decide whether to submit those tapes as a good sample of their present teachig skill. The student teachers tape their own classes without the usual camera operator. Conventional equipment has been pre-' wired and mounted on a fourwheel cart. By plugging in a power cord and turning on á few switches, the camera is activated. A fixed wide anglei lens covers the front of the room and up to 22 students with the camera placed at the back of the room. A microphone mounted on the camera picks 1 up voices. Atter each taping session, tape is delivered to Bergman at the University, who critiques the taped lesson and accompanying lesson plan at the School of Education's Videotape Recording Center. The center. pened this year, is directed by ' VTrs. Nancy Tucker, who nstructs students and faculty n the operation of equipment. Brief follow-up visits are nade by Bermman to each stulent teacher at Forsythe, but nost of the supervisión is done hrough the tapes, which reveal oncerns Bergman checks on uring his live visits. At Slauson Junior High, on the other hand, only conve tional live visits are made by Bergman. No video taping has been done by the student teachers. When the project is complet-i ed April 29, Bergman hopes tol determine whether video taping is truly feasible as an aid or substitute for live supervisiori of student teachers Other purposes of the project include making a time-and-motion study comparing the two approaches to student teacher supervisión; determining the alue of self-evaluation oppor;unities to the student teacher md his supervisors; finding jvays to improve evaluation guides; and discovering a way ;o reduce the amount of travel time which college supervisors ase when observing student teachers. Bergman considers the opportunities for better self-evaluation by the student teachers the main advantage of STVT, for they are able to actually observe themselves at work. Bergman commented, for sxample, that many of the student teachers were "surprised to see how some kids were acting up" when they viewed the tapes, so intent were they on their teaching. Another important advantage of video tape supervisión is the reduction in travel time for supervisors. The U-M School of Education places some of its student teachers in fairly distant cities (35 inall), such as Oak Park, Plymouth, St. Clair Shores and Detroit. Under the conventional supervising method, supervisors must travel these distances several times a week. "Many supervisors spend as much or more time travelingl than they do observing, andl this is a waste," Bergman says.J If the video tape methodj b e c o m e s widespread, travell time could be reduced to nearlyl zero, with tapes being mailedl back and forth from the more I distant cities to the School of I Education. I A third advantage of the I video tape method over closed I circuit televisión supervisión is I that the student teacher has full I control over which classes will I be taped and who will see the II tapes. "The student teacher 1 doesn't have the feeling thatj three or four unknown persons! might be watching," Bergman! explains. Though the project is not yetl completed, Bergman i s I enthusiastic about the results : "Personally, I think it is one! of the greatest innovations inJ teacher training, with so much u n t a p e d potential. lts self-l evaluation advantages are phenomenal. Although it would be secondary to self-evaluation, some day I see the U-M conducting an electronically supervised state wide teacher training program, exchanging both audio and video tape 1 1 recordings by mail and using Michigan Bell 'Picturephones' for conferences. No longer will a school system be denied the privilege of training student teachers because it is not within driving range of University visiting supervisors." Bergman also commented that he believes "video tape manufacturers will develop equipment with more portability. If equipment were easier to carry and set up, more teachers would use it." Bergman says the video tape procedure has met with the "general approval" of the student teachers and the supervising teachers participating inj the project. He also considers viewing a video tape almost as good as being in the class. In fact, he says, it is "sometimes better because the action can be stopped and reviewed as many times as necessary. And, with the approval of teacher and students, taped segments can be saved for instructional purposes in other education classes." Based on the success of the still incomplete study, Bergman predicts that video taping will become a "standard procedure" in national teacher training programs, with colleges and universities building tape libraries to hold the instructional video tapes which would supplement live observation. He also believes that what was begun as "just a variation in standard supervisión has grown into a full-blown study which will lay the groundwork for larger research and development programs for the utilization of video tape in preservice and inservice teacher training." Bergman, who lives at 2625 Antietam Ct. in Ann Arbor, has been with the University's School of Education for three years. Previously, he was an i n s truc tor at Wayne State University, the school from which he obtained his doctor of education degree. Bergman did his undergráduate and master's iwork at the University of Minnesota.