Insufficient knowledge of the nature of the teaching profession in general and of the act of teaching as one of its aspects in particular makes the search for ways to achieve a better pedagogic-didactic training of the student teacher an extremely difficult one. Research activities aiming at an improvement of training methods for prospective teachers should be considered of vital interest, the more so in view of the efforts which are being made to obtain a more adequate classroom climate in our schools. To teach or to be taught includes more than just the rational-technical component on which one in search for gains in efficiency is perhaps inclined to lay more stress than on the socio-emotional part which, especially in respect of classroom teaching, should be considered essential.
Assuming the growing need for research and theory as regards the problems of teaching and how to learn to teach, this study pays attention to the work of a number of researchers whose aim it is to apply their findings in the field of group dynamics and educational psychology to concepts that regard the practice of teaching. In addition to psychological aspects of learning groupdynamic points of view in particular are considered to be of importance for constructing a theory of instruction. The didactic interaction between learning and teaching activities takes place under circumstances in which the socio-emotional climate of the classroom does not only influence the scope and contents of intellectual learning results but affects also the emotional-volitional aspects of personality development. At the core of our study is the supposititon, based on general experience, that the teacher plays an important part in the formation of the socio-emotional climate of the classroom.
Being a teacher implies inter alia
a complex body of didactic skills. Traditional training methods usually confront the student teacher simultaneously with exercises of divergent skills. The question as to whether it would not be preferable to introduce the potential teacher gradually to the various skills involved in teaching and classroom management has led to a development in which it is attempted to define more closely the act of teaching and to break it down into its constituent elements. Despite its preliminary character the materials presented here may well prove to contain valuable suggestions for a better theoretical basis of the act of teaching.
Although not entirely, the act of teaching may to a large extent be looked upon as a verbal affair manifesting itself in a monologue or dialogue: a lecture to
the class or a talk with
Particularly in the United States of America this verbal character of the act of teaching is made the subject of investigations into teachers behavior. Basing themselves on the assumption that verbal transactions as a function of a special objective - in this case a didactic objective - can be looked upon as a 'game' the rules of which must be known in order to be able to participate successfully in said transactions, some researchworkers concentrate on the analysis of the verbal interaction between teacher and class. This research has produced a number of analytical categories that can be considered to be of importance for the description of the act of teaching. As is clear form WINNEFELD's system of didactic tendencies, in Germany too useful work is done with reference to teacher behaviour.
Seen from the point of view of those engaged in the practical pedagogic-didactic training of future teachers, a system of analysis with reference to the act of teaching is particularly interesting if it can be used as an instrument for the evaluation of the teacher contact with the class. For this reason much space is given in this study to the system of didactic interaction analysis as developed by FLANDERS. Each of the categories which together form the abovementioned system is discussed separately and a number of alternative systems are considered. The FLANDERS system is based mainly on groupdynamic ideas regarding the role of the teacher as the leader within the classroom and it is concerned to a high degree with the way in which such phenomena - important both from a pedagogic and didactic point of view - as authority, goal-orientation, and social access function within the framework of the classroom. In FLANDERS' conception these phenomena are directly subject to the didactic strategies and tactics used by the teacher. FLANDERS introduces the in our opinion useful notion of flexibility as a category to describe the control of interaction structures exercised by the teacher. An important feature of the FLANDERS system is the possibility to transform the data obtained from direct observation into matrices. The technique to be used is explained in this study. In our opinion this technique can be applied successfully so as to give feedback to teachers with regard to certain aspects of their way of teaching.
With a view to the application of the techniques of analysis in teacher training, some investigations that trace the influence of feedback data obtained through interaction analysis on the act of teaching are examined. The results have a provisional character and will, it is hoped, lead to replicate work in a field which in the Netherlands is almost unexplored. Lessons recorded on tape and analysed by us are used as examples of matrix interpretation. These examples refer to lessons given by prospective teachers at agricultural and horticultural schools. The results of the matrix interpretation in question are compared on the basis of the dimension direct-indirect teacher behavior. Interaction analysis and the processing of matrices are comparatively time-consuming activities. This seems to us to be a disadvantage, especially with a view to their application in research and training programmes. Mention is made of the application of electronic devices to eliminate to a large extent this difficulty. Thanks to a close collaboration between the TECHNICAL
, the COMPUTER
, and the DEPARTMENT OF
EDUCATION OF THE
this electronic equipment will soon become available.
In order to stimulate the search for new ways in the practical training of teachers, a fusion of research and training by way of interaction research is recommended. Intention, action and feedback are mentioned in this connection as the basis of a training model.