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Do Teachers See Everything? How Experts and Novices Perceive Classroom Information

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A common belief in the literature is that expert teachers have developed strategies to notice information and allocate their attentional resources to what is relevant for teaching. These common beliefs about the visual processes of expert teachers are methodologically rooted in the analysis of verbal protocols. In the present study, we used eye tracking to complement verbal analysis and to capture where teachers direct their gaze to. Participants were 75 participants (25 student teachers, 25 expert teachers, 25 school principals) who inspected photographs of classroom situations. The situations varied in their interactional complexity (teacher only, student-teacher dyad, small group, whole classroom) and in the duration of stimulus presentation (1 second, 3 seconds, 5 seconds). In this presentation I will offer a few findings on expert-novice differences, outline interactions between the visual and verbal data material, and discuss implications for teacher education.

Profile Andreas Gegenfurtner is a post-doctoral research fellow at the TUM School of Education in Munich. He is an educational researcher whose interests include transfer of learning, motivation, and human expertise. In 2008 he earned a diploma in education from the University of Regensburg, Germany, with a study on motivation to transfer learning from training to the workplace. He moved to the University of Turku, Finland, where he earned his doctoral degree with a thesis entitled “Motivational influences on transfer: Dimensions and boundary conditions”. In Turku he started to use eye tracking as a method to capture the transfer of visual attention processes of experts and novices in medical image diagnosis. Since 2012 he works as a post-doc researcher at the TUM School of Education where he applied eye tracking to the teaching domain, aiming to understand how expert and student teachers select, organize, and use classroom information.

This talk is part of the Psychology & Education series.

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