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La Educación
Número: (117) I
Año: 1994


The intent of this investigation was to examine the effect and effectiveness of the bug-in-the-ear (BIE) intervention strategy with student teachers in their last practicum experience before state certification. This study utilized previous research in teacher clarity skills and extended the research efforts in the application of the wireless communication system with student teachers initiated by van der Mars (1984). As a result, it provides an important foundation for future research in the area of supervision communication and feedback during the field experiences of preservice teachers.

The findings of this research support the conclusion that student teachers can and do effect immediate change in teaching behaviors during the teaching process while receiving cues or prompts via the BIE device. Using a revised version of the original Teaching Skills Observation Instrument (Metcalf 1989) modified to include only the fourteen selected discrete clarity skills, cooperating teachers noted the kinds and frequency of cues given to student teachers while teaching. All of the fourteen discrete cues were addressed during the study by at least four of the cooperating teachers. The cue most frequently given was "Explain" referring to the need to explain unfamiliar words. The cue given least often was "Practice Time," referring to providing opportunities for students to practice. These results seem to support the use of teacher clarity skills as an appropriate dependent variable for this investigation, not only because they were observable, but because these discrete clarity skills were successfully cued and responded to by the student teacher. Further, on the basis of the frequency to which these discrete teacher clarity skills were prompted by the cooperating teachers, there appears to be a need to address the skills during student teaching as part of the learning/practice process.

The data collected from the Cooperating Teacher Reflective Log and the Student Teacher Response Form supported the notion gleaned from previous research (Giebelhaus and Cruz 1992) that the BIE intervention strategy had a positive impact on both the cooperating teacher and the student teacher. Although both the student teachers and cooperating teachers communicated a favorable review regarding the effect of the intervention strategy, some technical problems occurred. These problems included such annoyances as a buzzing sound in certain areas of some classrooms, the longevity of the batteries used to operate the transistorized device, and the earphone which slipped out of the ear of some of the student teachers. As one teacher commented, "The BIE must be used enough to get past the mechanics Another cooperating teacher suggested, "The cooperating teacher needs to use it [the BIE] also to learn how

it operates, the noises in it, and the words most easily understood This study seemed to demonstrate that using the BIE intervention strategy, although generally a positive experience, required some patience with the technological aspects. More time with the BIE device would likely solve this dilemma.

In addition, those student teacher and cooperating teacher dyads who employed the BIE device discovered that the BIE allowed opportunities to give appropriate feedback during the teaching process. Comments from cooperating teachers to support this conclusion included, "The BIE is helpful to direct attention to specific circumstances going on in the classroom In addition, he impact of its use extended to the post-observation conference experience where more detailed discussion of cued situations was considered. Cooperating

teachers' remarks which would support this conclusion included, "The BIE does give focus to the conference we talked mainly about the cued areas [examples] used in her demonstration It is widely noted that the post-obser vation conference stage of the supervision process is considered to be an opportunity to provide feedback and guidance to improve the instruction by the student teacher (Hopkins and Moore 1993). This study demonstrated that the, BIE intervention could provide a means of giving appropriate feedback during teaching and add focus to the post-observation conference, both leading to the growth and development of teaching skills in student teachers.

Further, the more often and more consistently the BIE was employed during the teaching process, the better each member of the dyad felt about using it. Comments from cooperating teachers to support this statement include, "We're getting more used to the BIE, cues given and responses required ...... "[The student teacher] feels she has more confidence when using the BIE ......and "He seems to need less cues as he progresses However, if the cooper ating teacher employed the BIE device reluctantly or less frequently, the student teacher may be less positive regarding its use. For example, one student teacher suggested that although she believed the BIE could be helpful to her during student teaching . my cooperating teacher was not comfortable using the BIE; therefore, neither was I." Thus, with regard to the BIE technology, the cooper ating teachers' attitudes and beliefs have a decisive influence on the successful implementation.

Finally, several cooperating teachers and student teachers suggested that this intervention strategy is most appropriate when the lesson is more difficult or in situations where the student teacher is "treading on new ground." It is noted in the literature that student teachers have a clear preference for the more directive approach to supervision earlier in the student teaching experience (Copeland and Atkinson 1978; Copeland 1980, 1983). This study suggests that BIE intervention, a directive approach to supervision, assists students by providing a "safety net" which adds to a sense of security and confidence.