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Perception vs. Reality: Peer Feedback Practices to Enhance Preservice Teacher Reflection during an Elementary Early Clinical Experience
Unformatted Document Text:  Title of Session: Perception vs. Reality: Peer Feedback Practices to Enhance Preservice Teacher Reflection during an Elementary Early Clinical Experience Section I: Content Statement of the Issue: Quality field experiences not only help teacher education students to recognize their strengths and weaknesses and reach short-term goals but also to set the stage for a lifetime of reflective practice. In particular, the quality of feedback teacher education students receive during field experiences plays a critical role in helping them reflect on their teaching performance. Feedback can be provided to teacher candidates during their field experiences by the cooperating teacher, university supervisor, or peers. Of the three, peer feedback is the least common. Unlike other teacher preparation programs that have focused on feedback practices during student teaching, our program focused on the effectiveness of peer feedback given during the first early clinical experience in an elementary education program. This conference presentation will include findings of the current study, and suggest strategies to enhance early clinical feedback practices as a medium for enhancing preservice teachers’ ability to reflect on their practice, recognize their strengths and weaknesses, and reach short-term goals. Literature Review: Teacher education programs have encouraged reflective teaching for decades. Reflective teaching is different from “technical teaching.” While technical teachers try to “solve the problem,” reflective teachers try to “frame” the problem and then solve the problem (Zeichner & Liston, 1996). Preservice teachers need to learn how to examine their goals and values, the context of their teaching and the assumptions of their teaching through reflection One of the important elements in adult learning is “guided reflection.” When preservice teachers learn new and real teaching experiences, it is needed to assist them in making sense of those experiences. However, teacher education programs often overlook teaching how to do this (Sprinthall & Sprinthall, cited in Smyth, 1991). One possible way to do this is through feedback practices. Research studies and recommendations for practice describe effective feedback as that which is frequent, specific, continuous, relevant to the student’s needs, and delivered by those trained in delivering feedback. Woolever (1985), Blank and Heathington (1987), and Wilkins (1994) found that feedback needs to be frequent and delivered when practice and other opportunities for improvement are available. However, when students are observed in their field experiences, the observer (e.g., cooperating teacher) is oftentimes tentative about making negative or constructive comments (Morehead & Waters, 1988). Acheson and Gall (2003), in a summary of effective supervision techniques, concluded that feedback should be specific to the student’s performance, relevant to his or her needs, and include both positive and constructive comments. Preservice students are seldom prepared to provide specific kinds of feedback to their peers while observing them, and little is known about the quantity, quality, or types of feedback generally shared by peers. In particular this study sought to identify not only whether peers were providing quality feedback but also whether that feedback was considered useful and appropriate in helping them be more reflective. Contribution: Teachers entering the profession today are facing more educational challenges than any previous decade. Demographic shifts, rising numbers of English language learners, federal

Authors: Shin, Eui-kyung., Wilkins, Elizabeth. and Ainsworth, Janet.
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Title of Session: Perception vs. Reality: Peer Feedback Practices to Enhance Preservice Teacher
Reflection during an Elementary Early Clinical Experience
Section I: Content
Statement of the Issue:
Quality field experiences not only help teacher education students to
recognize their strengths and weaknesses and reach short-term goals but also to set the stage for a
lifetime of reflective practice. In particular, the quality of feedback teacher education students
receive during field experiences plays a critical role in helping them reflect on their teaching
performance. Feedback can be provided to teacher candidates during their field experiences by
the cooperating teacher, university supervisor, or peers. Of the three, peer feedback is the least
common. Unlike other teacher preparation programs that have focused on feedback practices
during student teaching, our program focused on the effectiveness of peer feedback given during
the first early clinical experience in an elementary education program. This conference
presentation will include findings of the current study, and suggest strategies to enhance early
clinical feedback practices as a medium for enhancing preservice teachers’ ability to reflect on
their practice, recognize their strengths and weaknesses, and reach short-term goals.
Literature Review:
Teacher education programs have encouraged reflective teaching for
decades. Reflective teaching is different from “technical teaching.” While technical teachers try
to “solve the problem,” reflective teachers try to “frame” the problem and then solve the problem
(Zeichner & Liston, 1996). Preservice teachers need to learn how to examine their goals and
values, the context of their teaching and the assumptions of their teaching through reflection
One of the important elements in adult learning is “guided reflection.” When preservice teachers
learn new and real teaching experiences, it is needed to assist them in making sense of those
experiences. However, teacher education programs often overlook teaching how to do this
(Sprinthall & Sprinthall, cited in Smyth, 1991). One possible way to do this is through feedback
practices.
Research studies and recommendations for practice describe effective feedback as that which is
frequent, specific, continuous, relevant to the student’s needs, and delivered by those trained in
delivering feedback. Woolever (1985), Blank and Heathington (1987), and Wilkins (1994)
found that feedback needs to be frequent and delivered when practice and other opportunities for
improvement are available. However, when students are observed in their field experiences, the
observer (e.g., cooperating teacher) is oftentimes tentative about making negative or constructive
comments (Morehead & Waters, 1988). Acheson and Gall (2003), in a summary of effective
supervision techniques, concluded that feedback should be specific to the student’s performance,
relevant to his or her needs, and include both positive and constructive comments.
Preservice students are seldom prepared to provide specific kinds of feedback to their peers
while observing them, and little is known about the quantity, quality, or types of feedback
generally shared by peers. In particular this study sought to identify not only whether peers were
providing quality feedback but also whether that feedback was considered useful and appropriate
in helping them be more reflective.
Contribution:
Teachers entering the profession today are facing more educational challenges than
any previous decade. Demographic shifts, rising numbers of English language learners, federal


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