Making embodied practices visible
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This study explores how pre-service teachers’ development is affected by making and reviewing videos of their own instruction, as well as how video can function as a tool for evaluation and scaffolding in the context of edTPA (Teacher Performance Assessment), the new pre-service teacher assessment measure that Georgia and many other states are now mandating. More specifically, the study looks at the impacts, both positive and negative, of a video portfolio assignment implemented in a teaching methods course in Block 2 (the second semester) of the early childhood education teacher preparation program at the University of Georgia (UGA), and of the uses and meanings these videos have for pre-service teachers, their instructors, and the teacher preparation program itself. The data was collected from videos, pre-service teachers’ reflection papers, and video-cued focus-group interviews. Theories of embodiment guide this study, including Mauss’ theory of “techniques of the body,” Bourdieu’s theory of “body habitus,” Butler’s theory of “performativity,” and Latour’s “Actor Network Theory” (ANT). This study suggests that videotaping, on one hand, has the virtue of placing more attention on the often-overlooked embodied dimensions of teaching (e.g., gesture, posture, gaze, tone of voice, facial expressions, use of materials, and positioning) and provides a mechanism for pre-service teachers to reflect on their teaching practice. Video recordings can give students and their instructors a way to recall events in specific lessons, a shared text to use for classroom discussions, and a way to track change in students’ progress over the course of a semester or program. On the other hand, the requirement to videotape themselves teaching can produce anxiety that can make pre-service teachers tend towards self-conscious, teacher-centered versions of teaching. The dissertation concludes with implications for how initial teacher preparation programs can most effectively implement the videotaping requirement of edTPA.