Video-ed as an effective tool for pre-service development

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There are changing times in education system around the world. With the start of the new millennium, many societies are engaging in serious and promising educational reforms. One of the key elements in most of these reforms is the professional development of teachers. Societies are acknowledging that teachers are not only one of the 'variables' that need to be changed in order to improve their education system, but they are also the most significant change agents in these reforms. The double roles of teachers in educational reforms-being both subjects and objects of change make the field of teacher professional development a growing and challenging area, and one that has increasingly received major attention during the past decade.

Teacher education plays an extremely important role in efforts to combat the underlying factors constraining educational access and quality. There is a chronic lack of teachers in rural Cambodia, particularly in remote areas. The resulting effect is clearly evident, with pupil teacher ratios in rural areas of 60:1, rising to 67:1 for remote areas and even 95:1 in some provinces (MoEYS, 2004). The implications of this for learning quality at primary level are significant, and help explain, in part, the pervasive, high repetition rates in the early grades ; 18% for Grade 1; 10% for Grade 2 (MoEYS, 2005), as well as the high drop out rates mentioned above.

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The teacher shortage in Cambodia, fuelled by the success of government reforms to improve primary school enrolment, is made worse by the limited capacity of teacher training institutions and the failures of government teacher deployment policies. Teacher shortages are further exacerbated by the entry requirement to teacher training colleges of a full twelve years of education, meaning that there are very few eligible candidates from remote areas which especially lack upper secondary schools, where teachers are most needed.

A variety of research and professional development projects have made use of video data, but relatively little systematic work has been undertaken concerning its applicability for assisting in the identification of quality educational practice for improving the effectiveness of teaching and learning in higher education. While video technology has been around for some decades, knowledge and understanding is still in its infancy about collecting and using video data (Hollingworth 2006) for improving teaching and learning. A few studies have used video case study methods in teacher preparation. These studies focused on topics including teaching reading ( Risko 1991), classroom communication skills (Olson 1994), teaching science (George & Abell, 2002; Wallace, Louden & Groves, 2003), and teaching physical education (Tannehill, O'Sullivan, Stroot & Livingston, 1991).

While extensive research on the effectiveness of using educational video tools in pre-service/in-service teacher education development has not been undertaken in Cambodia, this research proposal aims to begin to fill this gap. It will achieve this through exploring the experiences and strategies from other countries in pre-service and in-service teacher education who have incorporated as part of the learning curriculum

This paper begins by outlining the problems and objectives of my research study. It will review the progress of Teacher Development in developing countries, and show how this research fits within that context. Second, it demarcates the boundary of the research by presenting the research questions/or hypothesis. Third, it describes the methodological approach and procedure. There will be illustrations of the limitations and delimitations as well as the significance of the study.

It is argued that video case studies, developed and used in conjunction with professional conversations could present structured opportunities for pre-service and in-service teachers to gain an understanding of what effective teaching 'looks like'; and will provide a framework on which they can reflect on their own practices and beliefs about what they understand to be quality educational practices.

Statement of the Problem

Nationally, 70% of primary school teachers have studied to lower secondary school level, compared with 23% who have an upper secondary education, and a miniscule 0.2% who have university level education levels. The professional development needs of such teachers are clearly acute, and interventions offering the opportunity for quality, regular and locally relevant in-service support in the most remote areas of the country, will fill a long un-met need in Cambodia.

As well as providing general pedagogical development, teacher education strategies in remote areas require a focus on more specific teacher learning needs. These include multi-grade teaching methodologies to deal with the large proportion of incomplete primary schools (39% of primary schools in rural areas, reaching 79% in remote areas (World Bank, 2004)). More broadly, it is essential to promote teachers' conceptual understanding and implementation of the various dimensions of child-friendly teaching and learning, which result in improved access and quality. These dimensions cover, among others, the psychosocial learning needs of children; inclusive and gender sensitive education; community and parental education; and, health and nutrition.

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The National Strategy Development Plan 2006-10 (NSDP) and the Education Strategic Plan 2006-10 (ESP) have placed an emphasis on the achievement of universal access to nine years of high quality basic education by 2015 and the promotion of equity in educational opportunities as an enabling factor for income generation and job creation. There have been significant improvements in the past five years in the education sector in Cambodia, particularly in terms of primary net enrollment gains, the introduction of program-based budgeting and the development of a sound pro-poor policy framework. But several challenges remain. The key issues are:

disparity in education participation rates by different regions, income groups and gender (especially at higher levels of education);

inefficiency and poor quality in education service delivery at primary, secondary and tertiary levels;

weak local management capacity;

lack of reliability in education finance disbursements.

Purpose of the Study

Research Objective

The main objective of this study is to explore practices and strategies of using video case studies in pre-service/in-service teacher development in some countries around the world.

Sub-objectives

Specifically, this study aims to:

to identify literature from countries that have developed and implemented distance learning programs/video case studies for teacher education;

to identify specific successes, challenges, available resources and supports of the teachers in educational institutions;

to find out how or if the videos would help to improve classroom practice as well as the quality of teaching and learning;

to identify potential topics or areas of teacher-education that could be designed using video as a medium of instruction.

Review of the Literature

Video has always had a place in learning. In the 1970s British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) programs were played on huge video recorder machines in schools and the famous late night Open University television program were broadcast. The following are examples from several developing countries that have utilized video as part of their teacher pre-service and in-service education.

In Australia, little use of easily available technologies such as digital video is incorporated into teacher education to provide students with examples of exemplary practice to support their practicum component. In addition, in Australia too little use is made of conversations by student teachers with beginning teachers, school leaders and teacher educators for the express purpose of ongoing professional growth and development. Yet as educators we promote the long-held view of the importance of modeling good practice (Perkins 1851/2007), and we know that people learn when they discuss the things they see and do, and clarify the issues that puzzle them (Denzin & Lincoln 2005)

Top of the class (2007), the report of the review into teacher education by the Australian Parliament's House of Representatives Standing Committee on Education and Training argued that the quality of teaching is the most important factor influencing student achievement (House Representatives Standing Committee on Education and Training 2007). The Report reinforced the importance of good practice and the value of practicum: the practical dimension of teaching. While the pessimistic views sometimes reported in newspapers about the quality of teacher education do not justify in themselves the rethinking of teacher education practices, the potential use of video case studies of exemplary teachers to assist in the education of teachers (both practicing and pre-service) may have a place, particularly in building the partnership between the education industry sector and universities, and may assist pre-service teachers if incorporated into units studied prior to going on practicum. Indeed, arguably one of the features of teacher education during the 20th century in Australia was the Demonstration School. These schools were usually staffed by excellent teachers. Pre-service teachers would attend the schools to observe quality teaching. Since the concept of Demonstration Schools in no longer a formalized approach in today's pre-service teacher education programs, there is value in using technologies to record, show and deconstruct quality education practices.

Another important reason for including video case studies in Australian pre-service teacher education is that there is a considerable amount of self-directed digital video material for use with students and for teachers' ongoing professional development. Much of this material is freely available view in the Internet. In Australia for example, many million of dollars of government funding is being used to create multimedia resource for students' use. These materials are being developed by The Learning Federation, which is managed by the Curriculum Corporation (Curriculum Corporation 2007). Less emphasis is placed in Australia on the use of video data for teachers' professional learning where there is an emphasis on analyzing the teaching and learning practices of classroom teachers, but materials are available from overseas via the Web.

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In the United Kingdom (UK), the portal CurriculumOnline, funded by the UK government for Education and Skills (DfES) provides a selection of video case studies about teaching and learning in the key areas of the curriculum from reception to Year 12. CurriculumOnline is considered by the UK government as central to the drive to change teaching and learning in school (DfES 2007).

The US-based repository MERLOT (Multimedia Online Resource for Learning and Online Teaching) provides a searchable collection of peer reviwed, higher education, online learning materials including video materials that are created by registered members. Educators and students around the world share their materials via an online multimedia database.

In New Zealand there is a focus on video case studies to highlight exemplary pedagogy. The New Zealand Ministry of Education includes 'digital stories' as part of its professional learning website: TKL- Online Learning Website and Leadspace, the online learning space supporting school leaders in New Zealand. Learning how to use these materials in meaningful, self-directed ways once in the teaching workforce, is a capability in which beginning teachers require support.

A non-formal education programme was provided by the Department of Non-formal Education within the Thailand Ministry of Education (ICDL, 1998). The program offered included primary education, lower secondary education and upper secondary education. There were no specific entry requirements. Teaching was carried out through multiple media pages; students received them through learning centers at provincial non-formal education centers. Teaching media included print, audio and videocassettes, and radio and television programmes. Students received academic counseling and tutorial support at regional learning centres. In 1997, there were 15, 000 students enrolled at the primary level, 150, 000 at the lower secondary level and 105, 000 at the tertiary level.

There are numerous small video clips that are used in e-learning by a range of teaching institutions and, of course, on sites such as YouTube. Video is often associated with entertainment. People watch television or go to cinema to be entertained. This pull was certainly a factor in making video popular in learning materials. The logic was that if it entertains, people will pay attention to the learning materials and learn something. Not only this, but video is also good at showing how something is done, perhaps a management skill or physical process that is hard to put into words.

Definition of Terms

Distance education, or distance learning: is a field of education that focuses on the pedagogy and andragogy, technology, and instructional systems design that aim to deliver education to students who are not physically "on site". Rather than attending courses in person, teachers and students may communicate at times of their own choosing by exchanging printed or electronic media, or through technology that allows them to communicate in real time and through other online ways. Distance education courses that require a physical on-site presence for any reason including the taking of examinations is considered to be a hybrid or blended course of study.

Open learning: is a teaching method that is, among others,. Open learning is supposed to allow pupils self-determined, independent and interest-guided learning. More recent work on open learning has been conducted by the pedagogues.

Pre-service teacher development: education and training provided to student teachers before they have undertaken any teaching

In-service teacher development: is education for current teaching staff to help them develop their skills in a specific discipline or occupation. In-service training takes place after an individual begins work responsibilities. Most typically, in-service training is conducted during a break in the individual's work schedule. (www.sil.org/lingualinks/literacy/ReferenceMaterials/glossaryofliteracyterms/WhatIsInServiceTraining.htm - 6k)

Or is refers to teachers who are currently teaching. Often used in the context of professional development: in-service teacher training. (crede.berkeley.edu/tools/glossary.html)

Questions and/or Hypotheses

The research is a preliminary survey and as such it will explore the experiences of other countries where video-case studies have been incorporated as part of pre-service and in-service teacher development. It is a preliminary survey designed to summarize the experiences of other countries and in so doing identify the challenges for the inclusion of such practices in the current Cambodian pre-service and in-service teacher development context. So the findings of this study will offer answers to the following questions:

Which country/ies have successfully developed and implemented distance learning programs/video case studies for teacher development?

What can Cambodia learn/is learning from those successful countries? How and why?

The Design-Methods and Procedure

Procedure

Stage 1: Gathering together and summarizing international experiences regarding use of video-ed case studies as part of pre-service/in-service teacher programmes.

The proposed research aims to explore the experiences and lessons learned from the international literature about using video case studies as part of distance learning; as such a qualitative approach is the most appropriate research model (Burn 2000) to adopt for this stage.

Through accessing literature related to using video case studies in pre-service/in-service teacher development the researcher will analyze and summarize the experiences reported.

Stage 2: Focus group discussions with key stakeholders on their responses to the literature review findings

On the basis of a written summary of the material collated from the document, three focus group discussions (6-8 people per group) will be conducted with key stakeholders in the Cambodian pre-service and in-service teacher development spheres. Prior to the discussion, the findings will firstly need to be emailed ahead of time to allow time for key stakeholders to read and think about the ideas. The focus group interview will be used to elicit their feedback to the materials in the report.

Stage 3: Final report informed by focus group feedback.

The final recommendations and suggestions will be written up following the focus group discussions with each focus stakeholders. As a result, a copy of the final report will be made available to all focus group participants for their information and further consideration.

Sampling

As the proposed research will focus on sharing the findings from Stage 1 with key stakeholders, three focus group discussions will be conducted at national level or Teacher Training Department (MoEYS) or Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP) where the pre-service and in-service teacher development curriculum is developed.

Each focus group will consist of 6-8 people. Therefore a maximum of 24 key participants will be invited to participate in the focus group. Participants in this type of research are, therefore, selected on the basis that they are actively involved in pre-service and in-service teacher development at curriculum or policy making. The focus group discussion will take approximately 45 - 60 minutes and will be conducted in Khmer. The focus group will use a semi-structured question approach allowing opportunity for participants to explore ideas of interest to them without overt researcher control or direction. The language of the interview and the language of the written summary provided before the focus group meets will both be Khmer. A team of three researchers will conduct the focus group discussion: the principle researcher will lead the interview and two assistants will take detailed notes of the conversations.

Efforts will be made to invite a variety of stakeholders from each level (see below), that is, I will try not to invite only top persons or supervisors. The invitations will be issued with an explanation of the purpose of the research and its potential value to the development of the teaching profession in Cambodia. Potential participants will be invited to nominate suitable times to participate in a focus group discussion and also to contact the researcher with any questions they may have ahead of agreeing to participate.

Subject to final agreement of individuals it is anticipated the focus group samples will consist of five groups of people:

5 government policy makers

5 curriculum writers for teachers college

3 Provincial Teacher Training College (PTTC) director

4 school principals (from pre-school to high school)

7 NGOs education experts

Criteria for key stakeholders selecting:

role or position of influence

education experience more than 5 years

Instrumentation

The findings from the literature review will be used for the workshop and subsequent group discussion. The findings that will be presented at the workshop will provide the springboard for discussion amongst the key stakeholders.

Data Collection Process

A literature review and where appropriate interviews with others who have trialled such approaches to teacher development will be the process used in Stage 1.

Data collected from the focus group discussion will be a mixture of written and verbal responses which will be reviewed, analyzed and summarized.

Data Analysis

Qualitative analysis of data involves the non-numerical organisation of data in order to discover patterns, themes, forms and qualities found in field notes, interviews, transcripts, open-ended questionnaires, diaries, case studies, etc (Labuschagne, 2003).

Literature review: The data from the literature review will be summarized and used to inform the focus group discussions.

Focus group discussion: Focus group data has long been recognized as a product of both the agenda and presentation of the 'facilitator' and the interaction with and between other members of the group (Merton & Kendall, 1956, cited in Parker & Tritter, 2006). Some writers have argued that researchers should pay particular attention to the more 'sensitive moments' in focus group interation ( Kitzinger & Farquhar, 1999, cited in Parker & Trirrer, 2006), whilst others have suggested that a content analysis approach is most appropriate when considering forus group data, acknowledging that this must take into account the nature and the context of the group itself (Parker & Tritter, 2006).

The data from this focus group discussions will be collected through digital voice recording, and note taking. The interview data will be analyzed and categorized by reporting the majority and minority of participants' viewpoints.

Limitations and Delimitations

The following section will describe the strengths and weakness of the methods I am using are 1. Literature survey; 2. Focus group discussion and 3. Using key stakeholders.

Literature survey: The literature review serves many purpose of the research. It serves to validate the eventual findings in a narrowly descriptive study. It also guides the development of explanations during data collection and analysis in studies that seek to explain, evaluate, and suggest linkage between events. In grounded-theory development, the literature review provides theoretical constructs, categories, and their properties that can be used to organize the data and discover new connections between theory and real-world phenomena (Marshall & B. Rossman, 1999). Within my tentative study, literature review is an effective method that will be able to identify countries who have adopted video cases as part of their pre-service/in-service teacher develop. Limited internet access and limited access to appropriate resources describing international programs are two possible limitations to this approach.

One more strength of using literature surveys as a Method is that it allows us to scan a wide number of similar programs and gain a 'big picture' of what is current practice internationally. A further strength is that it provides information about "the state of the art" for identifying factors that influence behavior tailoring interventions to change teacher professional practice. Finally, the method can generate a lot of ideas since many different methods have been used in each literature. In contrast, there are also some weakness within this Method such as the method is often poorly described; the efficiency of the different methods is not examined; and finally the published literature may give poor guidance on which methods were used and how effective they were in developing effective interventions using video-ed case studies in each county.

Focus group discussion using semi structured questions: Focus group interviews, as a mean of qualitative data collection, have gained popularity amongst professionals within the health and social care arena for exploring what individuals believe or feel as well as why they behave in the way they do (Rabiee, 2004). A focus group is, according to Lederman, 'a technique involving the use of in-depth group interviews in which participants are selected because they are a purposive, although not necessarily representative, sampling of a specific population, this group being 'focused' on a given topic' (Rabiee, 2004). As Morgan & Krueger (1993) note, the comparisons that participants make among each other's experince and opinion are a valuable source of insight into complex behaviors and motivations. Furthermore, in an era when issues of consensus and diversity are of intense interest to social scientist, the discussion in focus groups can provide direct data on these exact issues.

According to Parker and Tritter (2006), in focus groups the researcher plays the role of 'facilitator' or 'moderator'; that is, facilitator/moderator of group discussion between participants, not between her/himself and the participants. Hence, where focus groups are concerned, the researcher takes a peripheral, rather then a centre-stage role for the simple reason that it is the inter-relational dynamics of the participants that are important, not the relationship between researcher and researched. Whilst discussing the kinds of questioning strategies, facilitators might deploy during focus group research, Bloor et al. (2001, pp. 42-43) provide a clear explanation of how this arrangement works:

In focus group...the objective is not primarily to elicit the group's answers...but reather to stimulate discussion and thereby understand (through subsequent analysis) the meaning and norms which underlie those group answers. In group interviews the interviewer seeks answers; in focus groups the facilitator seeks group interaction.

The most important reason for conducting a focus group discussion with this study is that, firstly, it can easily reach sources of information from various perspectives of participants; secondly, it is a good way to get information from participants and finally it is a quite easy and quick method to run. On other hand, there are also some weaknesses that need to be considered regarding this method that include the resources that may be needed to be organized, the potential for a minority of voices to dominate preventing other voices being heard. Although this research project does not explore issues that are of a confidential nature focus group discussions cannot guarantee the confidentiality of ideas or opinions shared amongst participants because of the very nature of a group. This may inhibit some from expressing views that could be considered alternative or contrary to the prevailing opinions or views.

The use of semi structured questions in the focus group interview allows the researcher to explore the views and opinions of participants whilst giving some shape or form to the interview. It will provide scope for individuals to expand their views and take the interview into areas possibly not previously considered by the researcher. It permits for richness in responses when compared to a structured interview process or a pen and paper survey method. A potential limitation of such an approach is the possibility that the focus group will go over the time limit especially if conducted by a researcher will limited skills in group management.

Using key stakeholders: Adopting the method of using key stakeholders also has help my study to be more efficient. It will help the researcher to easy gather technical and practical problems and identification of barriers to change Cambodian context by using video-ed case studies through looking at other successful countries in the world because they are all persons who expertise on teacher development background and experience from national and provincial level. It is also a positive method to officially update them about what happen in the world on what the teacher education development look like and compare to Cambodia context. There are also some weaknesses with using key stakeholder with this study is that; firstly, it is difficult to invite them to sit together to discuss the findings, challenges, and success because they are all busy. Secondly, it is hard for a researcher to stop their discussion since they are experts which full of many ideas and conflicts.

Ethical concerns

According to Parker and Tritter (2006), there are ethical considerations with regard to the research process itself. Typically, as professional social science researchers, we make a point of giving assurances on respondent confidentiality (American Sociological Association, 1997; British Sociological Association, 2002). Yet with the focus group method it is difficult (if not impossible) to ensure that participants themselves will adhere to such strict stipulation. This diffulty is further complicated if a local facilitator is actively recruiting participants. Similarly, it is hard to ensure informed consent from all participants as the researcher cannot be sure who else will be present at the group.

Most academic/contract researchers will be aware of their own institutional responsibilities and obligations in this respect, but the lone researcher (i.e. the post-graduate student) must be sure of the boundaries, codes and constraints in play (Parker and Tritter ,2006). Even when all of these things are taken into consideration, data collection is not always straightforward. For example, at the outset of each of his focus groups with higher education students, Parker (2000) informed all participants about the remit and scope of his overall project, the kinds of issues he was interested in discussing, and the processes of the data transcription, analysis and dissemination which would ensue. In turn, he reaffirmed notions of confidentiality and anonymity and presented students with the opportunity to select their own pseudonyms for the final research report. In order to aid the transcription process (which was to be carried out by secretarial staff not present at the group sessions) he also noted that participants were to be asked to state their (real) name at the beginning of each group discussion, so that the person transcribing the tape could attribute specific names to specific voices as an initial point of reference. On one particular occasion, a student participant challenged the confidentiality of the data collection process in relation to the explanation offered, claiming that if anonymity and confidentiality were to be guaranteed the 'real' names of group members should not be divulged during tape-recorded discussion. It was further explained at this point that the person transcribing the tape would not disclose anything to any outside party and that, in this respect, such fear were unfounded. Unfortunately however, this did not resolve the issue. What this participant then demanded was detailed information and assurances on ethical protocols, asking a series of questions about research/ intellectual property rights and data ownership: What would happen to the data once the project report has been submitted? Who would have access to it? For how long, and where, would it be stored? When and how was it to be destroyed? Would participants be able to access copies of tape-recorded conversations, transcripts, and the final report? Would they be able to see and comment on the draft versions of the report prior to submission? (Parker and Tritter, 2006).

Whilst there is not an established practice within Cambodian research of gaining informed consent from participants it is to international standards that higher degree research aspires. With that in mind and consistent with ethical practices from developed nations a letter providing detailed information about the purpose of the research and what the participant is being invited to participate will be provided two weeks ahead of scheduled focus group meeting times. With the letter will be a Consent form that participants who agree to attend a focus group interview will be asked to provide to the researcher before the group commences. A copy of both will be provided later.

Recording the interviews for later analysis is also an ethical issue as is storage of any recordings or notes taken during the interview. The Consent form and letter of information will explain the purpose of the recording and describe the process for securing the data during the period of analysis and once the report has been written . No individuals will be identified by name on any of the written notes or in the transcriptions.

The other ethical issue is the makeup of the groups. In Cambodian culture which is hierarchical in its view of power and influence ithere may be the issue of status and/or power amongst those participating in the group. For example: if group (1), (3) and (4) are in one focus group discussion, how comfortable will those lower level (teacher level) and how open will their responses be.

Another ethical issue will be who I have with to make notes from the interview. The note takers need to be briefed on how to make records that accurately reflect the content of the comments made by participants and avoid filtering comments that may not align with their own individual views or expectations.

There might also be an issue of gender in Cambodia nowadays with regards to who leads the interview with each group. Whilst increasingly in Cambodia women have gained positions of leadership the prevailing male oriented view of leadership may act to inhibit the participation of some group members with a female leading the group discussion.

Significance of the study

The issue of adequate numbers of well trained and equipped teachers in Cambodian schools was outlined in the early part of this paper. The research described above will contribute significantly to our understanding of what cost-effective and productive distance learning teacher education programs can look like.

The experiences of other countries in the development of distance education programs for teacher development can be used to inform the decision makers in Cambodia. The views of key stakeholders in Cambodia concerning the use of video distance education as a tool for teacher education and development will provide important detail that informs the planning and development of any such program in the near future.

The flow-on to the individual child and the wider society of well trained teachers working in Cambodian schools will be of significant national benefit. This study will be a great contribution to the betterment of educational sector, especially from the bottom to higher education level, in Cambodia. The findings of the study will fill a gap in current education improvement efforts. With car battery-powered television and video being ubiquitous in even the most remote villages, the use of video as a training tool in these interventions is ideal in that it allows isolated, relatively untrained teachers a window into other Cambodian classrooms modeling the best teaching and learning practices to be found in the country. Combined with comprehensive materials and training guides, and a well-designed implementation strategy to ensure adequate support, inroads can be made into improved access to quality education in even the most difficult parts of the country.