Professional vision in action: An exploratory study

M. G. Sherin, R. Russ, A. Colestock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The study of teachers' professional vision poses some unique challenges. The application of professional vision happens in a manner that is fleeting, and that is distributed through the moments of instruction. Because of the ongoing nature of instruction, it is not realistic to expect that one could "pause" instruction momentarily, ask a teacher what he or she is attending to at that moment, and then continue uninterrupted. To address this problem, the authors have relied extensively on video as a tool for studying professional vision. They asked teachers to look, retrospectively, at short excerpts of video that the authors had collected of their own teaching, or the teaching of others. This article reports the authors' attempts to employ a new technological solution to study professional vision in action. The authors have recently begun to explore the use of a new kind of tiny wearable video camera called Camwear 100 that can be worn by teachers in order to capture classroom events from their own perspective. The purpose of this study is to, first, draw some initial conclusions about the viability of this new technological solution as a means through which to study professional vision, and to perhaps enhance it. Second, the authors report on some of their first attempts to use the camera to answer basic questions about the nature of teachers' professional vision as it is applied in action. To explore how the features of the camera might permit the authors to investigate teachers' professional vision in a new way, the authors recruited one high school mathematics teacher to test the camera in his classroom. With respect to viability, the results of this study were generally positive. The teacher and his students did not find the use of the camera to be overly disruptive. The authors' tentative conclusions about teachers' professional vision are presented.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-46
JournalIssues in Teacher Education
StatePublished - 2008


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