Seeing what teachers see: Exploring the use of eye tracking in teacher expertise studies

Charlotte Wolff, Hans Van 'T Zelfde, Halszka Jarodzka, Els Boshuizen

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterAcademic

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    The exploratory study presented in the poster is part of a larger research project investigating teachers’ cognitive processing and knowledge structuring and how these are expressed at varying levels of expertise development. The experiment is guided by an interest in determining which processes underlie expert teachers’ ability to deal with complex classroom settings and which research methods support such inquiries. As questions about cognitive and perceptual processes are difficult to investigate with traditional methods, we propose the use of process-tracing methods to capture and investigate these processes. Verbalization techniques will be employed to uncover teachers’ cognitive processes. However, as teaching is a highly visual task which places demands on teachers’ visual attention, eye-tracking is proposed as a method for capturing the perceptual and attentional processes of teachers. Eye tracking is a method which allows for the measurement and analysis of eye activity. Eye movements are recorded, measured, and analyzed in relation to the environment in which they occur to infer information about where a person’s gaze (and attention) is directed, the gaze duration, and the order in which gaze (and attention) is allocated. Eye tracking technology currently offers a number of options for collecting eye tracking data. This study considers two systems: a mobile, head-mounted system and a stationary, remote system. These systems were compared to determine the extent to which each system is able to capture covert cognitive and perceptual processes as well as overt behaviour of teachers. The mobile eye tracker is employed directly in the classroom while the stationary eye tracker is applied to a video-taped classroom lesson. The study also explores the effectiveness of eye tracking in combination with other methods, namely think aloud and questionnaires, to detect differences in the skills and knowledge expressed by experienced mentor teachers and inexperienced student teachers.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2012
    EventEARLI Sig 14 "Learning and Professional Development": Learning in transition - Antwerp, Belgium
    Duration: 22 Aug 201224 Aug 2012


    ConferenceEARLI Sig 14 "Learning and Professional Development"
    Abbreviated titleSIG14


    • teacher expertise
    • method comparison
    • eye tracking


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