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Teacher Vision: Expert and Novice Teachers' Perception of Problematic Classroom Management Scenes

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ISAIJLS Volume 44, Number 3, ISSN 0020-4277


Visual expertise has been explored in numerous professions, but research on teachers' vision remains limited. Teachers' visual expertise is an important professional skill, particularly the ability to simultaneously perceive and interpret classroom situations for effective classroom management. This skill is complex and relies on an awareness of classroom events. Using eye tracking measurements and verbal think aloud, we investigated differences in how expert and novice teachers perceive problematic classroom scenes. Sixty-seven teachers participated, 35 experienced secondary school teachers (experts) and 32 teachers-in-training (novices). Participants viewed videos of authentic lessons and their eye movements were recorded as they verbalized thoughts about what they had seen in the lesson and how it was relevant to classroom management. Two different types of videos were viewed: lesson fragments showing (1) multiple events depicting disengaged students with no overt disruptions and (2) multiple events that included a prominent disruptive event affecting the class. Analysis of eye movements showed that novices' viewing was more dispersed whereas experts' was more focused. Irrespective of the video type, expert teachers focused their attention on areas where relevant information was available, while novice teachers' attention was more scattered across the classroom. Experts' perception appears to be more knowledge-driven whereas novices' appears more image-driven. Experts monitored more areas than novices, while novices skipped more areas than experts. Word usage also differed, showing that expertise was associated with a higher frequency of words referencing cognition, perception, and events than novices.


Wolff, C.E., Jarodzka, H., van den Bogert, N. & Boshuizen, H.P.A. (2016). Teacher Vision: Expert and Novice Teachers' Perception of Problematic Classroom Management Scenes. Instructional Science: An International Journal of the Learning Sciences, 44(3), 243-265. Retrieved October 31, 2020 from .

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