Repetitive Microteaching: Learning to Teach Elementary Social Studies

Derek L. Anderson, Don Barr, Christina Labaij


The role of deliberate practice in the development of performance has been studied extensively in many contexts, such as in athletics (eg. Ericsson, Krampe, & Tesch-R?mer, 1993). The construct of deliberate practice in the development of teacher performance has been receiving heightened examination lately, though the role of practice in the development of elementary social studies teachers remains essentially unexplored. The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of a repeated practice microteaching model on the teaching behaviors of 64 elementary preservice teachers who taught the same social studies lessons to small groups of 4th-grade students four times in succession. Candidate reflection journals from all candidates, observational transcripts of 14 teaching pairs, focus group interviews with the candidates, and informal cooperating teacher interviews revealed that the preservice teachers’ lessons changed over the four successive teaching episodes. The candidates became more comfortable and confident after teaching the same social studies lesson multiple times. Candidates also reported that their lessons became better, yet the qualitative data revealed that even though their teaching became more efficient and student work correctness improved, only a few preservice teachers increased the cognitive demand of their questions and activities. Nonetheless, most candidates demonstrated increased use of social studies pedagogical content knowledge through their examples and discussions, as well as increased attention to student thinking. Repeated practice field experiences seem to hold potential for elementary candidates to develop their use of social studies pedagogical content knowledge.


social studies; elementary; teacher education; microteaching; deliberate practice

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