BEYOND PROFESSIONAL NOTICING

M. Myers

Queen's University (CANADA)
Professional ‘noticing’ has received increased attention in recent years (Grossman, 2011; Rooney & Boud, 2019).Researchers, however, especially for research in visual perception suggest that students make choices to concentrate on something, often regardless of teacher’s effort to direct them in a given way. To increase paying attention, Wageman’s et al, 2012) recommend to signal abnormalities, rather than similarities. The break from the flow of habitual things through surprise, the unexpected, various different positioning than anticipated will consolidate learning. Brock (1983) suggests that the proposed visual context be complex as the additional effort required also increases noticing, as eyes gloss swiftly over what is familiar, only paying attention to what makes the eyes stop, which in turn creates concentration. Palmer and Rock (1994) and Biederman (1984) recommend to just let people’s eyes move freely. This would mean the need to create contexts from which all learners can glean what is intended for learning. Nevertheless, psychologists in visual perception and visual cognition add more steps. They still see the need to research the points of visual impact for drawing attention, create the desire and the willingness to comprehend and to learn, without which input will not turn into intake. So this need to create a willingness to understand what to concentrate on, appears to be more important in order to take next steps and draw information from it and follow by action.

Methodology: The site is a university teacher education program in Canada. The participants are three groups of approximately 20 students in their professional preparation course. The design consists first of a theoretical research component, followed by a design of applications with simulated activities and their implementation followed by a qualitative study, during which observation notes were taken and analyzed to uncover relevant findings (Creswell,1994; Creswell & Poth, 2018; Patton, 2002, 2014). Sequences were developed, not only for professional noticing but also for willingness to understand and the follow-up effort to spring into action. Such observations stem from interactions with people and learning materials in professional practice (Fenwick et al, 2011). As well, studies on experienced teachers point to the importance of observation (Barnhart & Van Es, 2015; Stürmer et al, 2015).Observational notes taken during the processes in these teacher-training classes were analyzed to uncover themes and strategies.

Results: Among a number of unusual findings, some general tendencies were uncovered. Specifically directed questions guide attention more closely to where it is wanted and bring about more noticing. Group work helps engagement into intention to carry out tasks. The synergy among participants, especially coming from group leaders tends to produce expected results. That would mean that team teaching or teaming up professionals, with carefully assigned partnerships would prove to be more effective. Another important finding points to the fact that the will, to participate actively in action, is distributed unevenly. Some participants showed a capacity to carry out fully while others stopped in mid-stream. It is, however, unclear if the observation of those who appeared to be stopping mid-stream, does not also carry a momentum that goes full out later. There needs to be a further study of action as run-through for reinforcement and verification.