AACTE to Award Dissertation on Developing Reflective Practitioners Through Guided Video Analysis

AACTE will honor Sarah A. Nagro, assistant professor of special education in the College of Education and Human Development at George Mason University (VA), with the 2017 AACTE Outstanding Dissertation Award for her study The Effects of Guided Video Analysis on Teacher Candidates’ Reflective Ability and Instructional Skills. The award will be presented at the 69th AACTE Annual Meeting Speaker Spotlight Session, Saturday, March 4, in Tampa, Florida.

Nagro’s study, which also is published in the current issue of Teacher Education and Special Education, investigated the effects of offering guidance and feedback to special education teacher candidates as part of their reflection and video-analysis activities. Two groups of teacher candidates with comparable prior experience participated in semester-long field assignments during which they video-recorded their instruction four times and wrote four reflections. One group of candidates also received directed guidance and feedback on their video analysis. At the end of the semester, both groups self-reported improvements in their teaching ability, but only the treatment group showed significant growth in both their instructional skills and their reflective ability.

“I am thrilled for and delighted that Sarah Nagro is the recipient of the 2017 AACTE Dissertation Award,” said Mark R. Ginsberg, dean and professor in George Mason’s College of Education and Human Development. “Her research, focused on the critical elements of clinical training for teacher candidates, is both important and contemporary. Her outstanding dissertation extends our understanding of the importance of reflection while also deepening our appreciation for the use of video analysis as a tool to enhance candidate learning.”

The dissertation was completed in 2015 at Johns Hopkins University (MD), where Nagro’s doctoral studies were funded through the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs. Professor Laurie deBettencourt was Nagro’s adviser.

“Despite the popularity of including video analysis in both teacher preparation and teacher credentialing, there is a paucity of scientific research on the effects of video analysis during teacher preparation field experiences,” deBettencourt said in a nomination letter for the AACTE award. “Continued efforts in understanding how to directly instruct preservice teachers to become reflective practitioners using videotaping activities and analysis is critically important. Nagro’s work will be used by many teacher educators to guide their field experience activities during their teachers’ preservice requirements.”

Reviewers on AACTE’s Committee on Research and Dissemination echoed the praise for filling a gap in the research about a common practice in teacher preparation, noting the importance of having evidence that engaging candidates in guided video analysis is worth the extra time and resources required.

Nagro earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at D’Youville College in Buffalo, New York, and worked as a special education teacher before heading to Johns Hopkins for her Ed.D. work in special education. Now, less than 2 years after completing her dissertation, she has amassed an already-impressive portfolio of publications, presentations, and service work. She also won dissertation awards from the Teacher Education Division of the Council for Exceptional Children and from the American Educational Research Association’s Special Interest Group on Special Education Research.

Dean Ginsberg noted that although Nagro’s doctoral work was clearly exemplary, “more importantly it has catapulted her on a highly productive trajectory of research that will be of high impact and consequence. I am certain that this well-deserving award will be the first of many recognitions of her work by her peers in the future.”

AACTE issued a press release today announcing all of its 2017 award winners. For more information on AACTE’s awards program, visit http://aacte.org/professional-development-and-events/awards. Applications for next year’s dissertation award will open in April.

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