Practices of Teacher Guidance
Marjut Viilo & Pirita Seitamaa-Hakkarainen, University of Helsinki, Finland
The research described in this paper is a case study of a 4th—5th grade teacher’s efforts to guide and support classroom activities and social practices that facilitate progressive-inquiry learning (Hakkarainen, 2003) and creation of a knowledge building community (Bereiter, 2002; Scardamalia & Bereiter 2003) in the context of computer supported, collaborative learning. The aim of the ‘Artifact project - the Past, the Present, and the Future’ was to support students’ (N=31) understanding of the diversity of artifacts in their cultural context. Furthermore, the aim was to break boundaries of traditional schoolwork by supporting students’ collaborative knowledge building with the help of various domain experts. The collaborative learning environment, Knowledge Forum, facilitated the activities.
The project consists of 138 lessons and KF was used in 70 lessons. The teacher’s structured project diary and video recordings of classroom practices (about 70 hours), particularly teacher-student interaction, and knowledge produced to KF’s database constituted the data sources of the study. For our analysis, we will present how the teacher organized and guided the project based on the teacher’s reflective diaries. Based on the analysis of the diaries we examined the selected video episodes that represented teacher’s guidance and teacher’s and students’ joint discussions.
The preliminary results indicated that the teacher took a role of organizers concerning collaborative knowledge-building activities instead of controlling all aspects of students’ learning. Simultaneously, the students were not left without guidance. The teacher assessed continuously the students’ processes and the support they needed and facilitated students to take responsibility of their own inquiry little by little. The teacher used shared KB-view extensively during her teaching sessions; further, she actively helped students to connect their learning processes to their former educational activities and to future action. Knowledge Forum structured the process and mediated activities and their objects visible for the whole learning collective.