Video Conferencing for Opening Classroom Doors in Initial Teacher Education: Sociocultural Processes of Mimicking and Improvisation
In this article, we present an alternative framework for conceptualising video-conferencing uses in initial teacher education and in Higher Education (HE) more generally. This alternative framework takes into account the existing models in the field, but – based on a set of interviews conducted with teacher trainees and wider analysis of the related literature – we suggest that there is a need to add to existing models the notions of ‘mimicking’ (copying practice) and improvisation (unplanned and spontaneous personal learning moments). These two notions are considered to be vital, as they remain valid throughout teachers’ careers and constitute key affordances of video-conferencing uses in HE. In particular, we argue that improvisational processes can be considered as key for developing professional practice and lifelong learning and that video-conferencing uses in initial teacher education can contribute to an understanding of training and learning processes. Current conceptualisations of video conferencing as suggested by Coyle (2004) and Marsh et al. (2009) remain valid, but also are limited in their scope with respect to focusing predominantly on pragmatic and instrumental teacher-training issues. Our article suggests that the theoretical conceptualisations of video conferencing should be expanded to include elements of mimicking and ultimately improvisation. This allows us to consider not just etic aspects of practice, but equally emic practices and related personal professional development. We locate these arguments more widely in a sociocultural-theory framework, as it enables us to describe interactions in dialectical rather than dichotomous terms (Lantolf & Poehner, 2008).
Copyright (c) 2017 Rolf Wiesemes, RuoLan Wang
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