The Framework for Analyzing Video in Science Teacher Education and Examples of its Broad Applicability

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Arias, A., Criswell, B., Ellis, J.A., Escalada, L., Forsythe, M., Johnson, H., Mahar, D., Palmeri, A., Parker, M., & Riccio, J. (2020). The framework for analyzing video in science teacher education and examples of its broad applicability. Innovations in Science Teacher Education, 5(4). Retrieved from

by Anna Arias, Kennesaw State University; Brett Criswell, West Chester University; Josh A. Ellis, Florida International University; Lawrence Escalada, University of Northern Iowa; Michelle Forsythe, Texas State University; Heather Johnson, Vanderbilt University; Donna Mahar, SUNY Empire State College; Amy Palmeri, Vanderbilt University; Margaret Parker, Illinois State University; & Jessica Riccio, Columbia University


There appears to be consensus that the use of video in science teacher education can support the pedagogical development of science teacher candidates. However, in a comprehensive review, Gaudin and Chaliès (2015) identified critical questions about video use that remain unanswered and need to be explored through research in teacher education. A critical question they ask is, “How can teaching teachers to identify and interpret relevant classroom events on video clips improve their capacity to perform the same activities in the classroom?” (p. 57). This paper shares the efforts of a collaborative of science teacher educators from nine teacher preparation programs working to answer this question. In particular, we provide an overview of a theoretically-constructed video analysis framework and demonstrate how that framework has guided the design of pedagogical tools and video-based learning experiences both within and across a variety of contexts. These contexts include both undergraduate and graduate science teacher preparation programs, as well as elementary and secondary science methods and content courses. Readers will be provided a window into the planning and enactment of video analyses in these different contexts, as well as insights from the assessment and research efforts that are exploring the impact of the integration of video analysis in each context.

Identification of the Challenge Within Science Teacher Education

There appears to be consensus that the use of video in science teacher education (either of a teacher’s own practice or of the practice of others) can support the pedagogical development of science teachers (Abell & Cennamo, 2003; Barth-Cohen, Little & Abrahamson, 2018; Kearney, Pressick-Kilborn & Aubusson, 2015; Martin & Siry, 2012). Despite this consensus, and despite the significant amount of research that has been devoted to the use of video in science teacher education from both a theoretical and empirical standpoint, significant questions remain unanswered. For instance, in a comprehensive review of the use of video in teacher education across contexts, Gaudin and Chaliès (2015) identify critical questions that still need to be systematically explored through future research. One of these questions has been the core concern of the science teacher educators collaborating on this article: “How can teaching teachers to identify and interpret relevant classroom events on video clips improve their capacity to perform the same activities in the classroom?” (p. 57).

Our collaborative’s efforts to answer this question in a manner that is simultaneously holistic and practical have been the driving force behind the development of the Framework for Analyzing Video in Science Teacher Education [FAVSTE]. In its essence, FAVSTE focuses on what can be considered a key skillset that science teacher candidates must develop: the capacity to analyze and articulate pedagogical practice. This skillset integrates at least two critical abilities that have been identified within the science teacher education literature: noticing (Barnhart & van Es, 2015; Benedict-Chambers, 2016) and reflecting (Abell & Bryan, 1997; Hawkins & Park Rogers, 2016). A tremendous challenge faced by science teacher educators is how to progressively build such a skillset in teacher candidates across experiences within their teacher preparation programs (Martin & Siry, 2012). Specifically, as our group developed FAVSTE, we were interested in how such a framework might support a continuum of use in teacher candidate coursework and field experiences. Additionally, there was a desire to create a tool that was flexible enough to use across various teacher demographics (e.g. elementary through secondary science methods students; undergraduates and graduates in teacher preparation programs) and that, while developed for science teacher training, could potentially be implemented within other subject areas as well. In this paper, we demonstrate how FAVSTE, as well as other pedagogical tools developed and/or utilized by the collaborative, supports science teacher educators’ work with preservice and early-career teachers across a variety of contexts.

ATLAS and the Video Analysis Framework Group

In 2016, a geographically-distributed group of science teacher educators from across the U.S. was brought together through a project spearheaded by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS). The overarching goal of this collaborative was to identify best practices for using the NBPTS Accomplished Teaching, Learning And Schools™ (ATLAS) video library to support the preparation of science teachers. ATLAS ( provides a collection of authentic video cases that feature National Board Certified Teachers. ATLAS is available as a subscription service, and the cost for this service is based on the size of the subscribing organization and the length of the subscription. Each case within ATLAS includes an uninterrupted video clip from real classroom teaching, instructional materials that supported that teaching, and a commentary written by the teacher about their instructional context, planning process, analysis of the video, and reflection on the instruction. At present, ATLAS includes over 1300 video cases, including 334 cases around science instruction (91 at the elementary level and 243 at the secondary level). The collaborative formed through the NBPTS project sought to identify or develop a viable framework for guiding the use of the ATLAS video library in science teacher education and professional development.

An initial review of the literature highlighted multiple frameworks associated with the use of video analysis for teacher preparation and professional development. For instance, Chan and Harris (2005) developed a framework that outlined the cognitive activities used by teachers as they engaged in video ethnography. Van Es and Sherin’s (2002) framework provided ideas for scaffolding pre- and in-service teachers in “learning to notice” — a skill they argue is central to being able to analyze video. Van Es, Tunney, Goldsmith, and Seago (2014) and Gelfuso (2016) both devised frameworks that focused on the facilitation of video tasks, with the former emphasizing video analysis and its use with in-service teachers and the latter concentrating on video reflection and its use with pre-service teachers. Finally, Kang and van Es (2018) created a framework for addressing design principles for the use of video, including such elements as articulating broad learning goals, selecting a clip, and designing a task.

All of the above frameworks have value in relation to different aspects of using video in teacher preparation and/or professional development and are supported by research. Our collaborative believed, however, that none of these frameworks presented a holistic representation of the most critical elements that science teacher educators need to consider in order to achieve a set of specific outcomes with the use of video. These outcomes include supporting teacher candidates in developing (1) knowledge for teaching (i.e. PCK), (2) professional vision / noticing of teaching practices, (3) reflective and responsive teaching, and (4) capacity to engage in professional conversations around practice. Designing such a framework became a driving force for our collaborative.

Framework for Analyzing Video in Science Teacher Education (FAVSTE)

Our development of FAVSTE drew on existing literature on video analysis (e.g., van Es and Sherin, 2002; Jacobs, Lamb, & Philipp, 2010) as well as a consideration of our collective experiences and expertise as teacher educators. Figure 1 represents our current instantiation of the framework; for the purposes of this paper, we will highlight key aspects of it. FAVSTE has three major segments that can be identified by moving from the top to the bottom of Figure 1. The top segment has two boxes (“Factors That Influence What Teachers Attend To” and “Factors That Teacher Educators Influence Through Instructional Design”) and represents the preparation components of conducting a video analysis / reflection task with candidates. These are the factors that science teacher educators must consider as they lay the foundation for and frame the experience. These factors support the “Aspects of Noticing in Action” — captured in the middle box in Figure 1 — which denote the core set of skills to be developed in teacher candidates. These “Aspects” represent things that, in some explicit manner, need to be scaffolded and facilitated by the science teacher educator during the enactment of the task to promote effective video analysis / reflection. It is not reasonable that all FAVSTE aspects would be given attention in the same video analysis task, so the science teacher educator has to consider which one(s) will be emphasized. We have tried to describe these “Aspects” in terms of very tentative progressions from Novice to Emergent to Expert “Noticer” so that the science teacher educator can look for evidence of candidates’ progress in their capacity to analyze and articulate practice. Finally, the bottom box delineates the desired “Outcomes” if FAVSTE is used holistically and methodically across numerous video-based learning experiences – preferably across an entire teacher preparation program – so that the factors (top two boxes) and the skills (middle box) that enable these outcomes can be meaningfully developed.

(It is critical that the reader understand that the sequence represented by the vertical segments and the linear structure indicated by the arrows connecting the boxes in those different segments are not intended to convey that the relationships between the factors, skills and outcomes is one-directional or that the entire process of planning, enacting, and assessing video analysis / reflection tasks can only proceed from top to bottom. Even in our hypothetical example in the next section, we start by describing intended ‘Outcomes’, go up to the ‘Factors’ boxes to select which ones to emphasis, then move into the ‘Aspects’ (skills) box to think about how to support those during the task. The representation (Figure 1) and the description of it were just presented in this way to simplify our discussion of FAVSTE.)

Figure 1
FAVSTE Video Analysis Framework

Using FAVSTE: A Hypothetical Example

In order to help the reader better understand the framework, we offer the following hypothetical example of how FAVSTE might be used, picking a limited number of elements from the figure to feature. Consider a science teacher educator who, aligned with the professional noticing approach (Gibson & Ross, 2016; Jacobs, Lamb, & Philipp, 2010), is interested in helping her teacher candidates gain a stronger sense of how to interpret student ideas in order to decide what kinds of questions to ask in conversations around scientific phenomena. The hypothetical context for this scenario is a secondary science methods course populated by candidates from different disciplinary backgrounds; we imagine this science teacher educator determining that photosynthesis would be a good content focus from which to draw examples. She locates two ATLAS videos that provide examples of teaching related to this content: Case 2533 — Clarifying Misconceptions About Photosynthesis and Respiration and Case 2540 — Thinking Critically about Photosynthesis and the Transfer of Energy in a System. Then, using FAVSTE as a reference, the science teacher educator considers how to structure the task in which these videos will be used. She decides that, given her desired outcome of improving how candidates interpret student thinking, the Frame of Reference (For) / Lens is an important factor as candidates will need to think about the events in the video through the lens of the secondary students. She makes a note to explicitly include and activate this lens when she introduces the video analysis task. The science teacher educator has selected two cases from ATLAS as this will allow candidates to compare and analyze across cases — i.e. to engage in an Abductive Reasoning approach. In order to better support this form of reasoning, the science teacher educator contemplates Interactivity, and she decides it would be best to split her teacher candidates into two groups and have each group analyze a single case, then present the results of their analysis to the other group to allow comparisons to be made. In order to support candidates in participating more productively making decisions about questions, the science teacher educator chooses to focus on the Perspective aspect of noticing and in her introduction tells candidates to pay attention to not just what the teacher does or what the students say, but to how the interactions between the teacher and the student impinge on student learning. Finally, to push the candidates to articulate their insights from the analysis effectively in their presentations, she scaffolds them to adopt an Interpretive Stance in which they support their assertions about teacher actions and student thinking with observational evidence from the videos.

Using FAVSTE: Real Examples from the ATLAS Science Teacher Collaborative

The previous sections have presented a brief overview of FAVSTE and its application. Here, we want to provide examples of the diverse ways in which the framework has guided our own use of video in science teacher preparation. Table 1 summarizes the broad set of contexts to which we have applied FAVSTE. Included in the table are the names and email addresses of the authors describing each context in case readers want to contact them for additional information. After the table, we present five detailed, real world examples of FAVSTE use to illustrate the potential of this framework for structuring experiences with elementary and secondary science teacher candidates and to show how we have coupled it with other pedagogical tools. The specific cases from Table 1 highlighted in the five examples have the context marked in bold.

Table 1 (Click on image to enlarge)
Examples of the Breadth of Use across Science Teacher Educator Collaborative

Context 1: Elementary Science Methods Course

One of the contexts in which FAVSTE was implemented was multiple sections of an undergraduate elementary science methods course at a large Hispanic-serving public university in the southwest. This course primarily serves teacher candidates seeking their EC-6 generalist certification and ESL endorsement. However, a few K-12 SPED candidates and a few EC-6 generalist candidates with a bilingual endorsement also typically co-enroll. The course is a “floater” class in all three of these programs: for some teacher candidates, this course is the first education course that they complete, while for others, it is the last course that they take before student teaching. The course covers common reform-oriented approaches to inquiry-based elementary science teaching and learning, with an emphasis on the 5E instructional model (Bybee, 2014). Most of the teacher candidates self-report that their prior experiences as science students emphasized direct-instruction models of teaching and led to negative perceptions of their capabilities both as students of science and as teachers of science.

The Task Used to Support Key Learning Outcomes

For this methods course, one major challenge is helping teacher candidates develop a new vision for what elementary science can look and sound like. Most of these candidates have not had previous experiences in classrooms that actively position elementary students as the authors of scientific knowledge. In addition, most also eventually teach in school districts that use the 5E cycle to structure elementary lessons. Consequently, we structure our video analysis sessions around video clips that exemplify transformational teaching practices across the 5E cycle: using anchoring events to engage students’ funds of knowledge, structuring student-led explorations and data collection, supporting small-group construction of evidence-based explanations, and guiding whole-class discussion and revision of explanations.

These video analysis sessions follow a general instructional sequence that we have refined over years of working with different populations of teacher candidates. The five activities within this sequence are described in Figure 2, and each of these activities offers candidates a different entry point into making sense of science teaching and learning. However, we have found that the full 5-step instructional sequence is not essential for every video analysis session. Instead, we use this instructional sequence flexibly to respond to the specific needs of the teacher candidates. For example, when there are significant gaps in the candidate’s science content knowledge, we take time to engage them as “students” in a similar science activity to help address their own preconceptions before we move on to analyzing video. However, when candidates come in with significant prior knowledge about the science content in the video, we often skip this step.

Figure 2
Instructional Sequence for Elementary Methods Course

Use of FAVSTE in Designing the Task

FAVSTE provides a tool for focusing our video analysis sessions with the elementary teacher candidates. We have chosen to emphasize four specific aspects of Noticing in Action in this task: events, perspective, grain size, and chronos. This decision has helped us communicate to our teacher candidates how video analysis sessions support them in identifying and making sense of instructionally pivotal moments from a holistic perspective that is connected to educational themes such as equity and students’ trajectories of learning. In addition, we have used the section of FAVSTE detailing the “Factors that Influence what Teachers Attend To” to better anticipate the experiences and perspectives that our teacher candidates might bring into a video analysis session and adapt our instruction as needed. This section has also helped us reflect on moments when candidates seemed to regress in their noticing trajectory. In many cases, we could connect these moments to broader systems at work, such as how the environmental pressures in their language arts practicum or the local context of other courses they were taking primed candidates to attend to specific aspects of the video clip that we as science instructors considered to be less critical.

Evidence of Impact

In this context, we use FAVSTE “behind the scenes” to guide pedagogical decisions about video analysis sessions and do not directly provide it to teacher candidates. As will be seen repeatedly throughout the following examples, one powerful application of FAVSTE is as a communicative tool to support teacher educators in making intentional choices about the design of instruction. For us, the “trickle-down” impact of FAVSTE has been consistently observed in candidates’ self-reflection assignments and course evaluations, where they report on the positive impacts of the video analysis sessions. For example, one candidate reflected:

I also learned that a teacher can learn a lot by listening to student’s ideas and their prior knowledge. When watching case #1845… the teacher presented an opening question and the students discussed with one another of what they knew and what they agreed or disagreed about from their peers. This was a great way for the teacher to see what students know and to tailor the rest of the lesson to developing the aspects of a standard that is missing.

Context 2:  Secondary Science Methods Course with Intensive Field Experiences

This example took place in an undergraduate secondary science teaching program at a Midwest liberal arts university with a university-wide teacher education program. The secondary science teaching program serves majors in various science departments as well as those in science education by faculty in both Colleges of Education and Humanities, Arts and Sciences. The program integrates professional education courses and methods courses with intensive classroom field experiences prior to student teaching. This includes a 2-3 semester sequence with a general science methods course and an upper-level physical and/or life science methods course depending on the major. A module approach to video analysis has been used with teacher candidates in the upper-level methods course for the physical sciences.

The Task Used to Support Key Learning Outcomes

In the methods for teaching physical science course, students complete a number of modules in which they analyze teaching videos from ATLAS and their own teaching videos from their classroom field experiences to provide evidence for effective science teaching practices in alignment with the 5E Learning Cycle (Bybee, 2014) and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). A set of five modules were developed that incorporated FAVSTE and the pedagogical approach of the course and applied these to instructional strategies introduced within the context of video analysis. These modules were spread out across the semester with the first four modules focused on teaching videos of secondary science teachers from the ATLAS resources and the last module focused on candidates’ own teaching videos from their classroom field experiences. A summary of the module approach implemented is provided in Table 2.

Table 2

Summary of Module Approach to Video Analysis

Use of FAVSTE in Designing the Task

The first module served as an introduction and exploration to the ATLAS resources and video analysis, with an emphasis on looking for evidence within a video case of teaching in alignment with the NGSS. Candidates first explored the various video cases, frameworks, and collections available. They then examined the commentary, background, and instructional materials for an ATLAS video case that focused on building the ability to observe periodic trends in a high school chemistry course. The candidates were asked questions that supported them in being able to attend, interpret, and decide in relation to critical events within the video. In this context, a critical incident is a moment during teaching that either significantly impacted the way that classroom events unfolded or revealed insights about the skills of the teacher. After individually completing this first module, the candidates discussed their ideas in small groups and shared their results from these discussions in class. The second module utilized a similar template but with a different focus (see Table 2). The third and fourth modules focused on effective questioning and used a slightly different format. In the third modules, candidates developed individual, group, and class lists of criteria for effective questioning strategies from the video cases they analyzed.  In the fourth, candidates used the effective questioning list to identify the effective questioning strategies employed in a video case. For the fifth (and final) module, students transitioned from the ATLAS videos to their own teaching video.

Evidence of Impact

Although the candidates had been engaged in intensive field experiences since the beginning of their teacher education program, the analysis of the ATLAS videos provided them with opportunities to observe effective science teaching practices that they have yet to witness in their field experience classrooms. Candidates commented that the teaching videos modeled how the science teacher could facilitate discussions involving both teacher-student and peer-peer interactions. The focus on FAVSTE in analyzing the teaching videos in a modular format provides students with a number of opportunities to help develop proficiency in professional noticing to gain insights on the effective science practices being modeled.

The transition for candidates from analyzing the ATLAS videos to analyzing their own classroom teaching videos using the FAVSTE framework is essential for students to go beyond just evaluating their teaching based on what they have done well and what they need to work on.  Future activities could support candidates’ capacity to incorporate the attending, interpreting, and deciding aspects of the FAVSTE into their reflections on their own teaching outside the use of these modules.

Incorporating video analysis in a module format provides an example of how video analysis can be embedded in a course with alignment to the pedagogical approach of the course. The module format can be applied to any instructional strategy that is being introduced and reinforced in a methods course — and the FAVSTE can help to structure the module design.

Context 3: Secondary Science Student Teaching Seminar

This example took place in a MAT in Secondary STEM Education program at a large Midwest university. The program is designed to last three semesters, with a general STEM methods course in the summer semester, a discipline-specific methods course in the fall semester and a STEM student teaching seminar in the spring. The author for this example (Author 2) had taught the candidates in both the fall and spring methods courses, using FAVSTE to design and implement the video analysis tasks used in each (~6 per course) and the Professional Noticing Template (See Supplemental Material A) to scaffold the skills addressed by the tasks. Author 2 also was the instructor for the spring student teaching seminar, where one of the key outcomes was for candidates to transfer the professional noticing skills they had developed when analyzing others’ videos in the methods courses to reflections on videos of their own teaching in the student teaching seminar.

The Task Used to Support Key Learning Outcomes

In the spring student teaching seminar, candidates regularly video recorded themselves when teaching and selected two videos (one in each half of the student teaching semester) for more formal reflection. The assignment description clarified that the video should be of a learning experience in which students were exploring a scientific phenomenon and that the candidates had the opportunity to facilitate conversation around making sense of a phenomenon. The candidates were to identify a critical incident (Tripp, 2011) in the video, then complete a formal reflection on that event using the Critical Incident Reflection (CIR) form (see Supplemental Material B). Although the CIR form had been used for several years prior to its use in this course, it was modified to better align with the Professional Noticing Template; those modifications were guided by FAVSTE.

Use of FAVSTE in Designing the Task

The Critical Incident Reflection (CIR) form was developed by a group of education researchers at Georgia State University (Calandra, Brantley-Dias, Lee & Fox, 2009). While it can be a powerful scaffold for deeper reflection (Jay & Johnson, 2002), the connections between the reflecting that it supported and the noticing supported by the Professional Noticing Template were not necessarily obvious to the teacher candidates. Thus, the CIR form was revised to make the connections more apparent; FAVSTE was consulted in developing these revisions. For instance, the Position section was re-written to highlight the need to surface candidate’s beliefs that “might be influencing this interpretation [of the critical incident].” This revision was designed to highlight the Stance and Beliefs elements of the ‘Aspects of Noticing’ component of FAVSTE, as well as their inter-relationship.

Evidence of Impact

The candidates in the student teaching seminar struggled initially in transferring their noticing skills to reflecting on their own and each other’s videos. It seems apparent that this was largely a function of the emotional connection to their own practice and the concern with being critical of their peers (Bopardikar, Borowiec, Castle, Doubler, Win, & Crissman, 2019). By the time the second set of CIR discussions took place during the seminar, candidates had overcome these issues and their conversations – and reflections – were more meaningful. As an example of where the candidates were at this point, a statement from Michael during the discussion of his CIR is provided; it came after one of his peers pointed out a flaw in a student’s thinking to which he had not attended in the moment of teaching:

Uh, and I noticed, watching it back, it’s like, man, right after I start talking again … nobody’s quite as engaged as they were before that. And I think it’s probably somewhat due to the fact that there’s a lot being said there, and I don’t really try to digest any of it. [Laughs] I just kind of push forward with my own kind of driving, uh, driving ideas of where I want the conversation to go, rather than letting it play out with what they’ve said and evaluating what’s being brought up.

Michael recognized that he had not attended to a student idea that could have been a useful starting point for a more engaging class discussion. Just as importantly, in the written CIR form submitted after the seminar conversation took place, Michael translated that into beliefs that could better guide his response to and interpretation of students’ ideas in the future:

Science, at its core, deals with answering questions and making sense of the world around us. For students, the notion that science can be questioned, evaluated, and improved is usually something that must be encouraged and developed over a period of time. The competing ideas (as well as the numerous conceptions present in student statements) presented during this incident was something I did not notice in the moment during the lesson. I was simply trying to “keep the ship afloat” as the class conversation progressed. Because of this mindset, I overlooked a real opportunity for a meaningful moment for the entire class to evaluate important ideas from their classmates.

Noticing is a critical part of the professional practice of being a science teacher. A teacher’s beliefs about teaching and learning can either undermine or support the application of skills such as noticing. Michael’s reflection shows that he made that connection and could restructure his beliefs about attending to student ideas as needed.

Context 4: Secondary Science MAT Program

In this example, FAVSTE provided a framework for faculty and external school partners to reconceptualize candidate preparation and graduation expectations in a MAT program for career changers. During the first year of this three-year program leading to 7-12 certification, teacher candidates take courses on adolescent development and subject-area pedagogy. The first year includes 50 observation hours as well as a cross-curricular methods class where teacher candidates present short lessons to faculty and their class colleagues. Years two and three require the candidate to be a classroom teacher of record with college faculty providing onsite mentoring four times each semester; once each semester the candidates video record a lesson they are teaching to be evaluated by faculty proficient in the candidates’ content area.

The Task Used to Support Key Learning Outcomes

Initially, the ATLAS videos were incorporated into the first-year science methods course. The videos served as a model of what to look (i.e. attending) for when completing the 50 classroom observation hours. Without a student teaching component prior to having their own classroom, models of best practice in the content area are critical to candidates’ understanding of how pedagogy informs practice. When the initial cohort of ATLAS users moved to their second year in the MAT program, ATLAS videos became part of the second content methods class. Here the focus became more analytical as candidates became teachers of record responsible for analyzing videos of their own classroom teaching. The ATLAS videos also play a role in the MAT capstone course. The culminating assignment requires candidates to compare teachers in two ATLAS videos to each other as well as to the candidate’s own practice. The reflection must be evidence-based, analytical, connected to issues of pedagogy and practice beyond what is observed in the videos, and be grounded in professional, state, and MAT program standards.

Use of FAVSTE in Designing the Task

Becoming familiar with FAVSTE allowed MAT faculty to use the noticing trajectory to frame candidate expectations for video use across the program. The first-year methods class now focuses on the novice trajectory, the second year focuses on the emergent trajectory, and the capstone experience incorporates the expert trajectory traits with specific emphasis on evidenced-based analysis and relations to broader educational issues.

Evidence of Impact

FAVSTE provides faculty and students, both within the science courses and across disciplines, vocabulary and benchmarks for clear and consistent analysis of candidate progress.  Noticing connotes awareness and awareness becomes more astute with the knowledge and perspective candidates gain as they move through the program. FAVSTE allows analysis of candidates’ pedagogical awareness and praxis within a developmental trajectory. Although currently used in content methods classes and the capstone course, faculty are discussing how FAVSTE can inform clinical courses. By clarifying language and expectations, FAVSTE is a useful tool in meeting program outcomes across secondary certification areas.

Context 5: Secondary Science Student Teaching in a MA and EDD Program

This example took place concurrently in a Masters’ Program which leads to state licensure in Secondary Science Education and a Doctoral Program which leads to preparation in Science Teacher Education at a large east coast university. The program is designed to cover the middle school to high school continuum across two semesters, with disciplinary science coursework and corresponding methods course and fieldwork focusing on middle school in the fall and a parallel coursework focus on high school in the spring along with an intensive student teaching seminar. The Program Director co-taught and mentored the doctoral students in all of the MA courses in this sequence. The doctoral students functioned as master teachers, mentors, and University Supervisors in the student teaching seminar. We approach our work with the assumptions that teacher education is on-going and continuous throughout a teacher’s career.  We see our collaborative team effort among supervisors, faculty, student teachers, and doctoral candidates as one of the first steps in providing positive professional development which is necessary for developing efficacy, identity, and agency in the process of learning to teach (Feiman-Nemser, 2001; Luft, Roehrig, & Patterson, 2003).  Our examination of our roles in the professional learning continuum empowers us to address the lack of cohesion among the stages between and including preservice through inservice teacher learning (Knight et al., 2015; Luft et. al., 2003; Luft, 2007; Luft & Hewson, 2014).

The Task Used to Support Key Learning Outcomes

In the spring student teaching seminar, candidates utilized the video tool Vialogues in tandem with the ATLAS library, as a medium to annotate and reflect on practice as well as prepare for the high stakes edTPA (2013) assessment. In groups facilitated by the doctoral supervisor mentors and the lead faculty member, the student teachers created five video Vialogues, each with a different theme: content knowledge, planning, learning environment, instruction, and professional dispositions. The goal was to find 5 minutes of footage of their own teaching that candidates felt showed some evidence of that theme. Supervisor mentors watched their group’s video and provided annotated feedback in the video tool. After review, the supervisor mentors would collaborate with the faculty lead to discuss themes in the teacher candidates’ work. The faculty lead would then search ATLAS to identify specific cases in that fit as an exemplar to share with the candidates on the areas that needed further development, i.e. collaboration, inquiry, cooperative learning, board work, to name a few examples.

Use of FAVSTE in Designing the Task

One of the critical components of FAVSTE in the design of this activity was to provide teacher candidates a collaborative way to notice and reflect concurrently on one’s own and peers’ work. As we wanted the noticing to be “in the moment”, we felt the Vialogue tool was a necessary adjuvant component to ATLAS to facilitate the process of reflecting. We also wanted to cultivate an online community of practice that could potentially outlive the candidacy period and serve as a platform during induction for continual communication and support with the colleagues and mentors with whom they first developed these skills and trust.

Evidence of Impact

The candidates in the student teaching seminar worked in four groups to document noticing and reflecting on their own and each other’s video in five Vialogues with the themes of content knowledge, planning, learning environment, instruction, and professional development. Table 3 details the incidence of noticing, defined as number comments annotated in the video tool, across each group and theme. It is interesting to see that the area that the student teachers found most comfortable to notice and reflect upon was instruction (mean 16.25) and content knowledge (mean 16.25), followed by learning environment (mean 16.00) and then planning (mean 14.5). Upon reflection, we noted that during the formative stages of this learning activity, the concurrent access to the ATLAS master videos helped the student teachers to see themselves in a way that we were never able to fully explain to them using traditional pedagogy. We found this multi-modal approach useful and look forward to implementing it with our second cohort of student teachers this spring.

Table 3
Incidence of Noticing across each Group and Theme


As the collaborative considers our individual and collective use of FAVSTE, we have found the following: (1) FAVSTE could be applied effectively across a variety of settings, demographics, courses, and goals; (2) when used as an instructional design tool, FAVSTE provided a meaningful scaffold for teacher candidate learning; (3) the use of FAVSTE spurred innovative and varied teacher educational practices; and (4) our use of FAVSTE allowed us to test and refine conjectures regarding teacher candidates’ learning trajectories.

First, as evident in the cases presented, members of the science collaborative conduct their work in a variety of settings (e.g. large state universities and small private universities across the U. S.), work in a variety of different programs (e.g. undergraduate and graduate level programs at the elementary and secondary levels), and are housed in various colleges and departments within the university (e.g. Department of Physics, Department of Teaching and Learning, etc.). Our examples provide evidence of the flexibility of FAVSTE in the continuum of teacher professional learning and the many different contexts of teacher education. The broad utility of FAVSTE across these varied contexts suggest that it is a tool that would be useful for other teacher educators interested in using video analysis to support teacher education.

Second, by bringing together both existing literature on video analysis research (e.g., van Es and Sherin, 2002, Abell & Cennamo, 2003) and the experiences and knowledge of a team of science teacher educators with diverse perspectives and expertise, the design of FAVSTE was grounded in both research and practice. The principled use of FAVSTE allows the teacher educator to focus teacher candidates’ attention to particular elements of teaching (as exemplified by and filtered through different aspects of noticing delineated in the framework), thus breaking down the complexity of teaching into smaller, more manageable pieces that are accessible to the teacher candidate. This targeted focus supports teacher candidates’ ability to develop ways of seeing and talking about teaching practices, thus guiding their learning and development along a structured trajectory. We argue that over time this foundation has the potential to help the teacher candidate build more comprehensive knowledge and skill in relation to specific elements of practice that also simultaneously considers and coordinates the various elements of the framework into a seamless whole.

Third, given the range of instructional purposes and pedagogical structures characterizing FAVSTE use in the cases presented, the framework has been shown to be a versatile tool for structuring and scaffolding teacher candidate learning through video analysis. In addition, FAVSTE use spurred the design and implementation of innovative pedagogical structures (e.g. modules) and strategies (e.g. the explicit building over time) for supporting a teacher candidate’s ability to apply what they are learning through video analysis to their own practice (e.g. as they move from analyzing someone else’s video to analyzing their own). Through consideration of FAVSTE, the teacher educator designed meaningful tasks for teacher learning as suggested by the voices of the teacher candidates in Context 1 and Context 3. We attribute the articulation of the varied facets of noticing (e.g. perspective, stance, grain size, etc.) as being critical to spurring this innovation. As we ascertained and named the various aspects of noticing in action, we were positioned as teacher educators to break down this complex skill into constituent parts that could be more easily learned and applied by the novice. The use of FAVSTE and associated innovations spread through teacher educator programs as seen in Context 2 as well as across the institutions of our group, allowing us to build on each other’s innovations. Our intention is that other teacher educators may also be able to use and build on this work.

Finally, as teacher educators, we make intentional choices regarding which elements of the framework and/or practice to focus on. These choices are shaped by our varied contexts of use and more specifically as our consideration of details of the structure and sequence of our individual programs and where our particular courses are situated in these sequences. Our decisions therefore are implicitly, if not explicitly informed by our own conjectures regarding trajectories of teacher candidate learning (Hundley et al., 2018). As we continue to use FAVSTE as a framework, we could begin exploring which, if any, of the elements of the framework are foundational and might need to be developed by the teacher candidate prior to other elements of the framework that might require more sophisticated, nuanced, and/or contingent thinking and analysis on the part of the teacher candidate. Thus, not only was the design of FAVSTE grounded in research and practice, but the principled use of FAVSTE by teacher educators has the potential to contribute to the generation and refinement of theory and practice related to teacher candidate learning and development.

Supplemental Files



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A Framework for Science Exploration: Examining Successes and Challenges for Preservice Teachers

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Croce, K. (2020). A framework for science exploration: Examining successes and challenges for preservice teachers. Innovations in Science Teacher Education, 5(2). Retrieved from

by Keri-Anne Croce, Towson University


Undergraduate preservice teachers examined the Science Texts Analysis Model during a university course. The Science Texts Analysis Model is designed to support teachers as they help students prepare to engage with the arguments in science texts. The preservice teachers received instruction during class time on campus before employing the model when teaching science to elementary and middle school students in Baltimore city. This article describes how the preservice teachers applied their knowledge of the Science Texts Analysis Model within this real world context. Preservice teachers’ reactions to the methodology are examined in order to provide recommendations for future college courses.

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Adapting a Model of Preservice Teacher Professional Development for Use in Other Contexts: Lessons Learned and Recommendations

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Park Rogers, M., Carter, I., Amador, J., Galindo, E., & Akerson, V. (2020). Adapting a model of preservice teacher professional development for use in other contexts: Lessons learned and recommendations. Innovations in Science Teacher Education, 5(1). Retrieved from

by Meredith Park Rogers, Indiana University - Bloomington; Ingrid Carter, Metropolitan State University of Denver; Julie Amador, University of Idaho; Enrique Galindo, Indiana University - Bloomington; & Valarie Akerson, Indiana University - Bloomington


We discuss how an innovative field experience model initially developed at Indiana University - Bloomington (IUB) is adapted for use at two other institutions. The teacher preparation programs at the two adapting universities not only differ from IUB, but also from each other with respect to course structure and student population. We begin with describing the original model, referred to as Iterative Model Building (IMB), and how it is designed to incorporate on a variety of research-based teacher education methods (e.g., teaching experiment interviews and Lesson Study) for the purpose of supporting preservice teachers with constructing models of children’s thinking, using this information to inform lesson planning, and then participating in a modified form of lesson study for the purpose of reflecting on changes to the lesson taught and future lessons that will be taught in the field experience. The goal of these combined innovations is to initiate the development of preservice teachers’ knowledge and skill for focusing on children’s scientific and mathematical thinking. We then share how we utilize formative assessment interviews and model building with graduate level in-service teachers at one institution and how the component of lesson study is adapted for use with undergraduate preservice teachers at another institution. Finally, we provide recommendations for adapting the IMB approach further at other institutions.


There is a clear consensus that teachers must learn to question, listen to, and respond to what and how students are thinking (Jacobs, Lamb, & Philipp, 2010; NRC, 2007; Russ & Luna, 2013).  With this information teachers can decide appropriate steps for instruction that will build on students’ current understandings and address misunderstandings.  At Indiana University – Bloomington (IUB) we received funding to rethink our approach to the early field experience that our elementary education majors take in order to emphasize this need for developing our preservice teachers’ knowledge and abilities to ask children productive questions (Harlen, 2015), interpret their understanding, and respond with appropriate instructional methods to develop students’ conceptual understanding about the topics being discussed (Carter, Park Rogers, Amador, Akerson, & Pongsanon, 2016).  Our field experience model titled, Iterative Model Building (IMB), is taken in a block with the elementary mathematics methods and science methods courses, and as such half of the field experience time (~5-6 weeks) is devoted to each subject area.  Over the course of the semester, the preservice teachers attend local schools for one afternoon a week.  In teams of four to six, the preservice teachers engage with elementary students through interviews and the teaching of lessons, and then experience various modes of reflection to begin developing an orientation towards teaching mathematics and science that is grounded in the notion that student thinking should drive instruction (National Research Council, 2007).  Thus, the IMB approach consists of four components that include weekly formative assessment interviews with children, discussions regarding models of the children’s thinking from the weekly interviews, lesson planning and teaching, and small group lesson reflections similar in nature to Lesson Study (Nargund-Joshi, Park Rogers, Wiebke, & Akerson., 2012; Carter et al., 2016). The intent of our approach is to teach preservice teachers to not only attend to student thinking, but to learn how to take this information and use it when designing lessons so they will make informed decisions about appropriate instructional strategies.

In this article we describe not only the original IMB approach, but also demonstrate the flexibility in the use of its components  with descriptions of how Authors 2 and 3 (Ingrid and Julie) have adapted aspects of the IMB to incorporate into their science and mathematics teacher education courses at different institutions.  Although this journal focuses on innovations for science teacher education, at the elementary level many teacher educators are asked to either teach both mathematics and science methods, or work collaboratively with colleagues in mathematics education, as students are often enrolled in both content area methods courses during the same semester.  Therefore, we believe sharing our stories of how this shared science and mathematics field experience model was initially developed and employed at IUB, but has been modified for use at two other institutions, has the potential for demonstrating how the components of the model can be used in other contexts.

To begin, we believe it is important to disclose that Ingrid and Julie, who made the adaptations we are sharing, attended or worked at IUB and held positions on the IMB Project for several years during the funded phases of research and development.  When they left IUB for academic positions, they took with them the premise of the IMB approach as foundational to developing quality mathematics and science teachers.  However, the structure of their current teacher education programs are not the same as at IUB, and thus they adapted the IMB approach to fit their institutional structure while trying to staying true to what they believed were core aspects of the approach for quality teacher development.

We begin with sharing an overview of the components of the IMB approach followed by descriptions from Ingrid and Julie about the context and course structure where they implement components of IMB.  In addition, we share examples of how their students discuss K-12 students’ mathematical and scientific ideas and relate this to instructional decision-making.  Through sharing our stories of adaptation of the IMB approach, we aim to inspire other teacher educators to consider how they may incorporate aspects of this approach into their professional development model for preparing or advancing teachers’ knowledge for teaching in STEM related disciplines.

Overview of IMB Approach – Indiana University (IUB)

As previously mentioned, IMB includes four components: (i) developing preservice teachers’ questioning abilities to analyze students’ thinking through the use of formative assessment interviews (FAIs); (ii) constructing models of students’ thinking about concepts that are asked about in the interviews (i.e., Model Building); (iii) developing and teaching lessons that take into consideration the evolving models of children’s thinking about the concepts being taught (i.e., Act of Teaching); (iv) learning to revise lessons using evidence gathered about children’s thinking from the lesson taught (i.e., Lesson Study). Although these components may not appear to be innovative to those in the field of teacher preparation, the unique feature of the IMB model is the iterative process, and weekly combination of all four components, within an early field experience for elementary education majors that we believe demonstrate innovative practice in preparing science and mathematics elementary teachers.  In addition, the field experience at IUB applies this four-step iterative process in the first 5-6 weeks with respect to teaching mathematics concepts, then continues for an additional 5-6 weeks on science concepts.  In the next few paragraphs, each of the IMB components are described in more detail.  We have grouped components according to those that Ingrid and Julie have adopted for use at their institutions.

Formative Assessment Interviews and Model Building

Formative assessment interviews (FAIs) are modified ‘clinical interviews’ that are aimed at understanding students’ conceptualizations of scientific phenomenon or mathematics problems (Steffe & Thompson, 2000).  From these video-recorded interviews, the preservice teachers identify short snippets that illustrate elementary students explaining their thinking about what a concepts is, how it works, and how they solved for it.  These explanations are then used to try to develop a predictive model to help the teachers consider how the students might respond to a related phenomenon, problem, or task (Norton, McCloskey, & Hudson, 2012).  The Model Building sessions require the preservice teachers to consider what is known about the students’ thinking on the concept or problem, based on the specific evidence given in the snippet of video, and identify what other information would be helpful to know. See Akerson, Carter, Park Rogers, & Pongsanon (2018) for further details on the purpose, structure and ability of preservice teachers to participate in a task where they are asked to make evidence-based predictions regarding students future responses to relate content (i.e., anticipate the student thinking).

With respect to the IMB approach, a secondary purpose of the FAI and Model Building sessions is to develop preservice teachers’ knowledge and abilities to think about how to improve their questioning of students’ thinking within the context of their teaching. This relates to being able to develop their professional noticing skills; a core aspect identified in the research literature (Jacobs, et al., 2010; van Es & Sherin, 2008) and critical to fostering the expert knowledge teachers possess (Shulman, 1987). See ‘Resources’ for examples of the post FAI Reflection Form (Document A) and Model Building Form (Document B) preservice teachers complete at IUB as part of their field experience requirements.

Act of Teaching and Lesson Study

Each week the teams develop a lesson plan using the information gathered from the FAIs, Model Building sessions, and as time goes on, their experience of teaching previous lessons to the students in their field classroom.  With respect to the mathematics portion of the field experience, the mathematics lessons are developed in conjunction with the field experience supervisor from week to week.  However, given the additional time that science has, because the science teaching in the field does not start until halfway through the semester, a first draft of all five science lessons are completed as part of the science methods course. Once the switch is made to science in the field, the preservice teachers then revise the drafted lessons from week to week using the information gathered through the IMB approach and with the guidance of the field instructor.

During the teaching of the lesson, two to three members of each team lead the instruction and the other two to three members of the team move around the room amongst the elementary students observing and gathering information about what the students are saying and doing related to the lesson objectives.  After the teaching experience, all members come together and follow the IMB’s modified lesson study approach that is adapted from the Japanese Lesson Study model (Lewis & Tsuchida, 1998)[1].  Using the Lesson Study Form developed for use in the IMB, the different members of the teaching team reflect on what the children understood about the concepts taught in the lesson and propose revisions for that lesson based on the children’s understandings and misunderstandings.  Possible strategies related to these understandings are also discussed with respect to the next lesson to be taught in the series of lessons.  Supporting them in this reflective process is the evidence some members of the team recorded using the Lesson Observation Form (see ‘Resources’, Document C), as well as what those who taught the lesson assessed while teaching.  The Lesson Study Form (see ‘Resources’, Document D) guides this evidence-based, collaborative, and reflective process.

Stories of Adaptation

In the following sections we describe how Ingrid and Julie have adapted components of the IMB approach for use in their teacher education programs.  To keep with the flow of how we described the IMB approach above, we begin with Julie’s story as she adapted the FAI and Model Building components for use at her institution.  Following her story is Ingrid’s, and her adaptation of the teaching and Lesson Study components of the IMB approach.  While neither of these stories demonstrates an adaptation of the complete IMB approach, demonstrating that type of transfer is not our intent with this article.  Rather, we want to share how aspects of the IMB approach could be adapted together for use in other institutional structures.  Table 1 provides a side-by-side comparison of how the IMB components were adapted for use at our different institutions to meet the needs of our students in our different contexts.

Table 1 (Click on image to enlarge)
Comparison of IMB components across Institutions

Julie’s Story of Adaptation at the University of Idaho (UI)

In the final two years of the five year IMB, Julie was a postdoctoral researcher and IMB manager for IMB. In this capacity, she taught the field experience course and coordinated with other instructors of the course. At the same time, she worked with participants after they had completed the field experience and moved to their student teaching or actual teaching placements. Julie was also involved with writing a manual to support others to implement the IMB field experience process.

At her current institution, Julie has incorporated FAIs and Model Building into a graduate course on K-12 mathematics education. The university is a medium-size doctoral granting institution in the upper Northwest of the United States. The course, for which the IMB approach has been adapted, engages masters and doctoral students in exploring: a) connections between research literature and practice (Lambdin & Lester, 2010; Lobato & Lester, 2010), b) the cognitive demand of tasks (Stein, Smith Henningsen, & Silver, 2009), and c) professional noticing (Jacobs et al., 2010; Sherin, Jacobs, & Philipp, 2011). The fully online course lasts sixteen weeks and students engage in weekly modules around these three core foci. Students in the course are primarily practicing teachers from across the state in which the university resides.

The IMB process of engaging teachers in FAIs and Model Building is followed in this course; however, the process spans over a longer period with a whole semester devoted solely to mathematics. Each person designs two FAIs on a specific mathematical topic and completes a Model Building session for each interview. This process is slightly different than the IMB approach because there are fewer students in the graduate class, and since many are practicing K-12 classroom teachers, they have access to students with whom they can easily conduct the FAIs. Despite the teacher population and logistical differences between IUB and UI, Julie used the supporting documents and implemented them in a manner very similar to how they were initially designed and employed for the IMB approach at IUB. For example, at UI each graduate student/teacher selects appropriate mathematics content for the interview based on the standards and learning objectives that are age appropriate for the K-12 student they will interview. They then plan a goal for the interview, along with five problematic questions to be asked during the interview and related follow-up questions. Based on the second focus of the graduate course, they are encouraged to consider the cognitive demand of the tasks they include in their questions. The interview is audio recorded and the graduate students are asked to reflect on the questions outlined on the FAI Reflection Form (see ‘Resources’, Document A).  Referring specifically to the second question on the reflection form, one graduate student responded, “During my post-FAI analysis of the student work and audio, my noticing, once again, improved as I began to consider the relationship between the student’s misconceptions and teaching strategies.” Comments like this were commonly found across the FAI reflection forms, indicating the value of this interview experience in preparing teachers mathematical knowledge of content and students’ understanding of the content (Ball, Thames, & Phelps, 2008).

Following the first FAI, the graduate students are tasked to create a model of the student’s thinking that again mirrors the model-building process of the IMB approach (see ‘Resources,’ Document B). To do this, they are asked to listen to their audio recording and select a clip that highlights what the student says or does as evidence of how the student thinks about particular ideas. They transcribe the segment of audio and conduct an analysis on what the student knows, does not know, and what further information would be helpful. As an example, the following task was given during one FAI conducted by a graduate student — . Going through the Model Building process, the graduate student who gave this question in their FAI highlighted the following portion of their transcript, and provided the accompanying image of the student’s work in solving this question.

Student: I did that because the equal sign is right there.  And so because these numbers are supposed to be at the beginning but they switched them around to the end and then you would add them together to get nine and then you would do plus two and then you write your answer (write 11 underneath the box).

Teacher: How could we check that this (points to the left side of the equation) equals this (points to the right side of the equation?  Is there a way we could check that?

Student: Umm… what do you mean?

Teacher:  So, I saw that you added these numbers together and placed the nine here.  Could we check or is there a way to check that these two things added together equals these numbers added together?

Student: I guess you could just add them together.

Teacher: Do they come out equal?

Student: No because this is eleven (points to left side of equation).  And then this goes three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine.  Oh! So it goes eleven like that and then eleven, twelve, thirteen, like that and then that will equal nine.

Teacher: So I saw a light bulb go off.  Is that going to change he number you put in there (points to the box)?

Student: So if was eleven, wait, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty, twenty-one, twenty-two and that equals twenty-two.  And that is your real answer.

Building on this evidence, the graduate student wrote the following model of the student’s thinking with this problem.  This model is the graduate student’s attempt at explaining the student’s thinking with the evidence provided from the task.

Given a numeric equation with values on each side of the equation but a missing value on one side (e.g. 17+5=___+4), the student added the numbers on one side of the equation and placed that sum into the blank space. The student then continued executing computations by placing another equal sign and adding the newly determined answer with the existing value on that side of the equation. This same action happened in two different tasks with the missing value on the left and right side of the equation. Thus, the student does not conceptually understand the meaning of the equal sign and/or the concept of equality. She does not understand that the equal sign describes the relationship between two expressions and that the correct answer should create two equal expressions.  Instead, the student views the equal sign as an indicator to perform computations to find answers.

This model describes what the student knows and understands with respect to different sides of an equation.

Following this first round of FAIs and Model Building, the graduate students then repeat this entire process again, with the same student. However, before the second round, the graduate students have an opportunity to first share their models and thinking in online discussion boards and receive written instructor feedback. Their peers are also required to comment and engage in dialogue with them through the virtual discussions. With the second FAI, the intent is for the mathematical content to align with the content of the first interview, but focus on revealing deeper understandings of this content from the same student. For example, if the first FAI asked questions that broadly addressed fractional understanding at grade three, and the graduate student recognized some misconceptions related to part-whole relationships and understanding, then the second FAI may be designed to focus entirely on part-whole relationships.  The purpose of the second FAI is to dive deeper into a child’s thinking about the concept to obtain a greater understanding of how the child conceptualizes part and whole.

As the graduate students conducted the series of two FAIs and two Model Building exercises, they focused on the same K-12 student to provide an in-depth understanding of that student’s knowledge. As a result, they were then asked to deeply study what they had learned about that student’s mathematical thinking and focus on that student as a case study. This is a component that is not included in the original IMB process.  Julie elected to add this component of a case study to provide her graduate students the opportunity to revisit both cycles of the FAIs and Model Building processes and formulate some ideas around supporting the student based on evidence from interactions across the two cycles. As a part of the case study, they write a formal paper about the student that includes an analysis of the students’ thinking and makes recommendations for supporting the students’ understanding in the classroom context—these components stem from the research literature on professional noticing and the importance of attending to thinking, interpreting thinking, and making instructional decisions of how to respond (Jacobs et al., 2010). In the final component of the case study paper, the graduate student situates the student’s understanding within the broader mathematics education literature. Therefore, Julie has adapted the FAI and Model Building process of the IMB to engage graduate students in the act of professional noticing through a specific focus on one child as a case study (Jacobs et al., 2010).  The following comment from one of the case study reports illustrates the value of this adapted experience for one student, but the same sentiment was echoed by others.

The student thinking uncovered during the formative assessment interviews and the learning from this course on noticing, cognitive demand, and teacher knowledge combined together to profoundly influence on my views of mathematics instruction. Slowing down to thoughtfully probe a struggling student’s thinking revealed so much more than my prior noticing ability would have allowed.

Ingrid’s Story of Adaptation at Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU Denver)

Ingrid joined the IMB as a graduate teaching and research assistant in the second year of implementation. In her first year with the IMB, she instructed a section of the field experience with preservice elementary teachers. Later on in her doctoral program, she taught the affiliated science methods course that is taken in the cluster with the field experience, but was no longer an instructor of the field experience.  During this time however, she remained on the IMB as a research assistant. Therefore, throughout her time on the IMB project, Ingrid worked on many facets of the IMB and was integral in developing procedures and protocols for teaching the IMB approach.

At her current institution, Ingrid has adapted the Act of Teaching and Lesson Study components of the IMB, infusing it into her undergraduate elementary science and health methods course. Her institution is a large urban commuter campus with a large majority of students being undergraduates. The student body is diverse and most are from the expansive metropolitan area. For their field experience, which combines science, health, and mathematics, each preservice teacher is placed in an elementary classroom for 45 hours per semester. In most cases, this is usually the fourth field experience these preservice teachers have participated in for their program. The science and health methods course meets face-to-face for 15 weeks of classes and incorporates a teaching rehearsal experience in the methods course to provide the preservice teachers with the opportunity to practice a lesson they have planned and the Lesson Study component of the IMB approach before completing the teaching experience in the field with children.

The preservice teachers at MSU Denver are placed in separate classrooms for their field experience, thus they plan different lessons and teach the lessons independently.  Despite this independent teaching experience, Ingrid has tried to maintain the collaborative integrity of the Lesson Study component of the IMB by pairing preservice teachers that are placed at the same school or nearby schools.  The purpose of this pairing is so they can serve as peer observers for each other and participate in a shared Lesson Study experience. Unfortunately, this request cannot always be made, and in some instances the preservice teachers work with the mentor classroom teacher through the Act of Teaching and Lesson Study components.

Before the preservice teachers begin their teaching cycle in the field however, Ingrid has her preservice teachers participate in a type of teaching rehearsal (Lampert et al., 2013).  The preservice teachers are placed into teams of four or five and together they develop a learning plan (similar to a lesson) but with a focus on just the first three Es of a Learning Cycle (Engage, Explore, and Explain) and the learning objective.  Preservice teachers usually focus on science, but in some cases they elect to teach a health or engineering lesson. Two groups are then brought together to serve as the different members of the teaching cycle.  When one team is teaching, one member of the other team serves as the peer observer completing the Lesson Observation Form (see ‘Resources’, Document C) and all remaining members of the other group are acting as elementary students for the teaching of the lesson. The group then switches and they repeat the experience for another lesson. Following each rehearsal the two groups then walk through the Lesson Study Form and complete it for each rehearsed lesson.  Ingrid believes taking her students through this rehearsal of planning a lesson, teaching it, and practicing with the forms helps the preservice teachers to be more successful in all aspects of the Act of Teaching and Lesson Study when they conduct it in their smaller pairings and in the context of their field experience classrooms.

Due to the complex structure of field placement at Ingrid’s institution, with it being a commuter-based university serving a large urban/suburban area, Ingrid has made more adaptations to the IMB approach and documents than Julie, some of which are described above. Additional adaptations however, include Ingrid providing feedback on the each preservice teacher’s lesson and then having preservice teachers revise the lesson using this feedback, and having the preservice teacher partners participating in a Pre-Observation Conference.  The purpose of this conference is help the preservice teachers who are partnered for the Act of Teaching and Lesson Study (or the preservice teacher and the mentor teacher) to understand the learning objectives of the lesson and the intentions of the preservice teacher for structuring the lesson in the manner they did.  In addition, there is a section called “look-fors” that directs the preservice teachers to anticipate what the children should be able to do by the end of the lesson (with respect to the learning objective) and what evidence will be gathered to determine this goal was met. This is intended to support the preservice teachers to focus on students’ thinking in the Act of Teaching and Lesson Study processes in the field. The pair completes one Pre-Observation Conference Form (see ‘Resources’, Document E) together for each partner’s lesson. To complete the Act of Teaching and Lesson Study cycle, each preservice teacher is required to submit a packet to document the experience that includes: the Pre-Observation Conference Form, the Lesson Observation Form completed by their partner, their collaborative Lesson Study Form, a revised lesson that incorporates the color-coded revisions suggested in the Lesson Study, and a personal reflection paper about what they took away from the experience.

Lastly, Ingrid’s Act of Teaching/Lesson Study cycle concludes with a debriefing about the experience with all students in the class. She focuses much of the conversation on asking the preservice teachers to share what they reflected on in their individual papers about the experience and she guides the discussion with questions such as,

  • What did you think about the peer observation process?
  • How did participating in lesson study support your growth as a teacher?
    • What parts of the lesson study process were particularly helpful for you?
  • What would you do differently if you could do this again?
  • How did lesson study support you in focusing on students’ thinking?
  • What have you learned from the lesson study process that you will take with you in your future classroom?

From this class discussion she is able to glean how they view the whole process as supporting the preservice teachers’ understanding of how to focus their attention on children’s scientific thinking and use this information to inform their future instruction. ​

Reflecting on Our Stories of Adaptation: Lessons Learned

At Julie’s institution (University of Idaho [UI]), implementation using FAIs and Model Building have shown to be beneficial for the graduate students, as most of them are practicing classroom teachers. One accommodation from the IMB model is the time span for the FAIs and Model Building. In the modified version, two cycles are spread over six weeks, as opposed to having a new cycle each week. Additionally, one graduate student interviews one student in K-12, as opposed to working in pairs. This has afforded opportunities for greater flexibility with scheduling and diving in deeper around a specific mathematical topic. However, the graduate student has only one student with whom they work and do not develop a broader understanding of various students, which may lessen their opportunity for understanding the thinking of multiple students. Additionally, at UI, every graduate student selects the grade level and the student with whom they will work. The FAIs and Model Building then focus on their selected student and topic, which restricts collaboration across the graduate students and learning from one another; whereas with the original IMB model, the same mathematics topic (e.g., number sense) is covered by each team.  This modification affords teams experiencing the full IMB model the opportunity to learn from each other within their team, but also across the teams to learn about content progressions. Therefore, a possible limitation of the modification at UI is that every graduate student has a different topic and they are unable to share and discuss students’ thinking and ideas about a similar mathematical domain. Determining ways to work around this limitation depends on the intentions of the course instructor/teacher educator for using FAIs and Model Building.  For Julie, her focus is on developing individual teachers’ professional noticing, thus the limitations in collaborating with others does not prevent her from meeting her intentions.

Another accommodation from the IMB model is that Julie is unable to attend the FAI recordings in person unlike the field instructors at IUB who are present weekly.  The online nature of Julie’s course provided the graduate students with flexibility in accessing students and scheduling the recordings at times throughout the school day that worked for them and the students.  However, being disconnected to the context limited Julie’s abilities, she believes, in providing more targeted or individualized feedback regarding specific student’s thinking.  The inclusion of the case study however, is how Julie works around the limited contextual understanding she feels she has and it affords her the opportunity to dig more into an understanding of the ‘whole’ child that her graduate students’ are presenting to her.  The case study, while it includes evidence from the FAI and Model Building cycles, is only a portion of what is required for the case study paper.  Therefore, we suggest the FAI and Model Building be done not in isolation but merged with other tasks that can help foster deeper professional noticing, such as Julie has done with her Case Study assignment.

With respect to Ingrid’s story of adaptation at MSU Denver, the implementation of the IMB’s modified lesson study has been positively received. As previously described, two accommodations made by Ingrid were the implementation of a modified teaching rehearsal experience and the development of the Pre-Observation Conference Form (see ‘Resources’, Document E).  Considering her field placement arrangements, she learned she needed to include both of these modifications to give the preservice teachers practice with both the Act of Teaching and Lesson Study components before doing it in the field.  Also, because the preservice teachers are not placed in the same classroom (unlike IUB) they need the opportunity to first review each other’s lesson (i.e., Pre-Observation Conference) so they had some idea of what to expect when observing each other teach.

Overall, the preservice teachers at Ingrid’s institution mentioned they enjoy the “lower stakes” atmosphere of being observed by a peer (when possible) rather than a university supervisor and the opportunity to discuss possible revisions to the lesson with a peer considering their different participatory perspectives.  This arrangement can create a challenge however, as not all preservice teachers may provide the same level of constructive criticism for revising the lesson.  Ingrid has attempted to address this challenge by first providing the teaching rehearsal experience in class so students can gain experience in her methods course on how to complete the forms and provide constructive feedback on a lesson.


There is consensus across both science and mathematics teacher education that for effective teaching to occur teachers must learn to recognize and build on students’ ideas and experiences (Bransford, Brown, &Cocking, 1999; Kang & Anderson, 2015, NRC, 2007; van Es & Sherin, 2008).  Considering this goal, preparation programs often design opportunities for prospective teachers to question and analyze students’ thinking, and when possible do so within the context of teaching science.  However, few programs offer a systematic and iterative experience such as the IMB approach, and this is due in part to the structural variation in teacher education programs and the varied constraints of these different models.  As Zeichner and Conklin (2005) explain,

there will always be a wide range of quality in any model of teacher education….The state policy context, type of institution, and institutional history and culture in which the program is located; the goals and capabilities of the teacher education faculty, and many other factors will affect the character and quality of programs (p. 700).

Therefore, our intent with this article is to show the potential for taking well-recognized practices for teacher education, such as those used in the IMB approach, and demonstrate how they can be combined for use in other science and mathematics teacher education models.  In particular, we wanted to highlight the adaptations made by Ingrid and Julie because their institutions and learner populations are very different from those where the IMB approach was initially developed, and this sort of variation in context is rarely described in the research (Zeichner & Conklin, 2005).  Despite the vast program differences at our three institutions, Ingrid and Julie were able to adapt key aspects of the IMB approach to fit the context and needs of their learners.

More specifically, although we recognize that individually the four aspects of the IMB approach are not innovative, it is the potential for combining features of the IMB, as Authors 2 and 3 have shared, that we believe demonstrates the innovation and potential of the IMB approach for impacting science and mathematics teacher learning. As such, we offer the following recommendations from lessons we have learned through our adaptive processes, with the hope of inspiring others to consider how they may combine features of the IMB for use at their institutions.

  1. Understand your own orientation toward teacher preparation. Begin with selecting aspects of the IMB approach that most align with your own beliefs as to core practices for developing teachers’ cognition about learning to attend to students’ thinking to inform practice. Ingrid and Julie made their selections based on what they viewed as critical practices given the professional development needs of their student teachers (i.e., their population of teacher), as well as the purpose of their course.
  2. Don’t lose sight of the goal! Make modifications to the sample documents provided (see Resources) or provide additional support documents (e.g., the Pre-Observation Conference form designed by Ingrid) to guide preservice or inservice teachers’ cognition of how to uncover K-12 students’ ideas and reflect on their ideas in order to identify rich and appropriate learning tasks.
  3. Choose the strategies that best fit your context. If some components of the IMB approach will not fit into your current program or university structure, select the one that will fit and be most appropriate for your own students and situation. The goal is to help preservice and inservice teachers understand their students’ thinking, and whatever strategies can best work for you and your students given your context are the ones to include.
  4. Remember that improvement is an iterative process. Continue to adapt and refine the approach as needed for your context. Once you have selected the aspect or aspects of IMB that you think will be most impactful, continue to reflect on and obtain feedback about the process from the students with whom you work, and then make modifications to support your goals.
  5. Collaboration is valuable and can take many forms. At the core of the IMB approach is the belief that collaboration leads to better understandings about learning to teach science and mathematics. Whether collaborating to plan, teach, and reflect on lessons taught, or the sharing of models of students’ thinking and engaging through discussion boards online, the notion of collaboration is still at the core of each of our pedagogical approaches to working with teachers. We recognize the structure of various institutions teacher education programs/courses may make it difficult to afford students the opportunity to collaborate in the same physical space (classroom, or school), as did Julie; however, it is worth exploring what technologies your institution may offer to arrange other means of collaborating in synchronous and asynchronous spaces.

[1] For further details comparing these two models of Lesson Study see Carter et al. (2016).

Supplemental Files



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Carter, I. S., Park Rogers, M. A., Amador, J. M., Akerson, V. L., & Pongsanon, K. (2016). Utilizing an iterative research-based lesson study approach to support preservice teachers’ professional noticing.  Electronic Journal of Science Education, 20 (8). Retrieved from

Harlen, W. (2015). Teaching science for understanding in elementary and middle schools. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

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Kang, H., & Anderson, C. W. (2015). Supporting preservice science teachers’ ability to attend and respond to student thinking by design. Science Education, 99, 863-895.

Lambdin, D., & Lester, F. (Eds.). (2010). Teaching and learning mathematics: Translating research for elementary school teachers. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics: Reston, Virginia.

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