Teacher-student interaction

Teacher visual attention

In the classroom, the teachers’ visual attention focuses on the students. This is natural, as the main goal of teaching is to enhance the learning and well-being of them. During student collaborative problem solving, teacher’s main attentional targets are students’ solution papers, faces, and hands.

The papers inform the teacher on students’ progress on the problem solving. Looking at faces, helps the teacher to understand the emotional states of the students. Interestingly, student hands also seem to contain relevant information to teacher. By looking students’ hands, the teacher can draw conclusions on students’ motivational state: are they writing with a pen or playing with a phone.

The durations of teacher gazes are affected by several factors. The complexity of the interaction may cause short glances at multiple targets, whereas concentrating on scaffolding students’ learning process or encouraging them emotionally can be seen as long paper or face targeted dwells. Teacher scanning  the whole class is a completely different issue: The amount of professional information they can gain with short, successive gazes across the classroom is amazing.

Next, we are going to analyze, what kind of momentary effects does the scaffolding have on student interaction and learning process in the context of collaborative mathematical problem solving.

Nonverbal teacher-student interaction

During the small-group scaffolding, the teacher guides the interaction with verbal and nonverbal communication. The use of eye contacts can convey warmth and friendliness but also authority. Who wants to be in the gazer target of an angry teacher? However, your preliminary results indicate, that the students are more willing to start eye contacts with their teacher, when she conveys behaviors of communion. The teacher’s momentary agency seems not to affect the student-started eye contacts in such a direct way. Maybe the students are more used to and comfortable with a leading teacher than an unfriendly one?

We are also starting an analysis on student gaze at teacher gestures during small-group scaffolding on mathematical problem solving. A body of educational research acknowledges the relevance of teacher gestures for student learning, but we lack research on the students actual momentary attention on them.


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