Micro-teaching in the digital era (JAMK – Finland)
Micro-teaching kicked off the process of professional development of teacher students as a facilitator of learning in JAMK’s Internationally oriented teacher education programme for the digital era at the beginning of the study year in August 2019.
This inquiry-based approach to learning supports the development of reflection skills by linking the elements of expertise and practical knowledge with theoretical knowledge of learning. During their micro-teaching projects, teacher students design, implement, video record and analyse their micro-teaching sessions and give peer-feedback to their fellow students. Many of the students co-teach and design their micro-teaching sessions together and everybody reflects on their sessions together with their peers and tutors.
By working on their micro-teaching projects, students collaboratively build their pedagogical expertise to work as an educator in the digital era. Despite the heavy use of technology – which one of the teacher students said might look like a science fiction to somebody who does not belong to the study group – many teacher students have chosen to implement their micro-teaching sessions in a hybrid environment where participants are present both face-to-face and online, and where additional video cameras and microphones have been set up to record their micro-teaching.
With several years of experience in more or less successful hybrid teaching, it was rewarding for me as their tutor to watch students facilitate learning in such an environment without us, the participants, having to focus on technology.
At this stage of the process when several teacher students have already completed their micro-teaching sessions and have had time to reflect on their micro-teaching as well as micro-teaching as a method, the comments we have heard have been quite positive: “Viewing and analyzing the video of our micro-teaching session was an eye-opening experience. It provided me with a more objective view of the process, in other words, it gave me a better idea of what a student’s experience could have been of our topic and each one of us as facilitators of learning”. We have also experienced some challenges with the use of technology, such as storing and handling video recordings.
As micro teaching is only the beginning of the learning process that supports teacher students’ professional development as a facilitator of learning, I am excited to see if and how students will use what they have gained from their micro-teaching projects in the more extensive teaching projects that will start after micro-teaching. It is also interesting to see if micro-teaching has enhanced students’ reflection skills and helped them even more deeply to reflect on their professional development.