Vol. 7, No. 3: November 15, 2000
Providing Role Models for Emergency-Licensed Teachers through
A Faculty Profile of Lisa Dieker
by Jennifer Smith, TTT Editor
In school districts across the country, teacher shortages are being managed by the use of emergency-licensed teachers, especially in the field of special education. Many of these instructors want to become fully licensed teachers and will complete teacher education programs while working under their emergency licenses. But in the meantime, these teachers are thrust into a demanding situation in which they must learn on the job. How can these teachers be provided models of quality teaching when they do not have time during the school day to go observe veteran teachers?
UW-Milwaukee Associate Professor Lisa Dieker has come up with one solution to this problem: streaming video on the web. Dieker teaches primarily emergency-licensed special education teachers who are studying for their credentials as regularly licensed teachers. Approximately 70% of her students are employed in the Milwaukee Public Schools, the rest in other nearby districts. She uses web enhancement in her courses to provide students with streamed video clips that show both novice and master teachers incorporating certain strategies into their teaching. These clips form a teaching tool for the discussion of situations that arise in the classroom and demonstrate how veteran teachers deal with them. Because the course clips are always available to students on the web, the emergency-licensed teachers can return to them as needed.
Dieker commented that the process of creating these video clips was time consuming and labor intensive, as one might imagine. There were many steps in the process, from obtaining consent from school principals, teachers, parents, and students themselves, to actually shooting the video, editing it, and preparing it for streaming on the web. Dieker worked on all aspects of the video production herself and, although it was a laborious process, she is glad to have her new, hard-won tech skills. Currently, clips on the web range from 2 1/2 minutes to 15 minutes. Dieker plans to re-edit her clips so that none will be longer than 5 minutes; this should facilitate smoother, easier streaming, especially for students accessing the clips from home.
The subjects of the clips range from theoretical principles such as the "Five Dimensions of Learning" to classroom-management issues like dealing with the behavior of a difficult high school student. TTT readers who would like to obtain guest access to Prof. Dieker's Blackboard site and view the clips should contact her by e-mail. (The video clips are not available to the general public out of respect for the privacy of the students filmed.) So far, Dieker's students have reacted very positively to the video clips, and Prof. Dieker hopes to build a full library of clips illustrating even more practical classroom strategies and theoretical principles.
Dieker is conducting a study to analyze how streaming video can be used most effectively with teacher education students. Dieker is comparing four different methods of using the clips with her students. The first is to discuss a teaching strategy in class, but leave it up to the students to watch (or not watch) the video clip illustrating that strategy on their own time, on the web. The second method is to discuss the teaching strategy and then watch the video in class. The third is to watch the video in class, talk about the strategy, and then watch the video once more. The final approach is to discuss a teaching strategy, watch a video of a novice teacher implementing that strategy, and then talk about how that teacher's performance could have been improved. After this, the students watch a video of an expert teacher using the same strategy. Dieker states that it can be helpful for the emergency-licensed teachers to see a novice teacher perform a certain technique since the novice can provide a more "attainable" role model than a veteran teacher.
Dieker is conducting this study as a participant in UW-Milwaukee's Center Associates Program, affiliated with the Center for Instruction and Professional Development. The Center Associates are part of a larger, national effort sponsored by the Carnegie Foundation to investigate the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.
Commenting on the overall picture of technology in education, Dieker mused that she wished for "more visionaries" who have the technological skills and experience to help others effectively integrate technology into their teaching. However, on the other hand, she feels she can model her own technology learning process for her students; they can see that she is learning, too, and unafraid to try something new.
You can visit Prof. Dieker's website; for access to the video clips, e-mail her and she can provide you with a guest login and password.