- 1What is transcript analysis?
- 2Why use transcript analysis?
- 3How can transcript analysis advance justice in the classroom?
- 4What are some challenges and limitations of this pedagogy?
- 5Which high-leverage practices should teacher educators pair with transcript analysis?
- 6Where in the learning cycle can transcript analysis be used?
Transcripts are scripted episodes of teaching. These episodes can be transcribed from actual instances of teaching or developed as fictional instances of teaching. Transcripts may be created to depict a variety of teaching scenarios, including one-on-one interactions between teacher and student or teacher and caregiver, interactions between multiple students, and whole and small -group interactions between teacher and students. Transcripts are representations of practice, in that they are artifacts that stand in for actual instances of teaching (Grossman, et al, 2009, Hammerness & McDonald, 2009).
Transcript analysis is when novices use transcripts to study practice. The teacher educator provides a transcript and asks novices to use a particular lens to analyze it.
Transcript analysis allows novice teachers to slow down and focus in on micro moments of teaching. Unlike in live teaching, in which interactions often happen very quickly, in transcript analysis a novice teacher can take as much time as they need to fully examine the interaction documented on paper. Like in rehearsal, in transcript analysis a teacher educator can “quiet the background noise,” focusing the novice teacher on one particular element of practice (Grossman, et al, 2009).
Transcript analysis allows novice teachers to…
- Notice specific teacher moves within an episode of teaching
- Notice and analyze student response to specific teacher moves within an episode of teaching
- Analyze and improve instruction
Transcript analysis allows teacher educators to…
- Represent nuanced episodes of teaching
- Provide exemplars of teaching that might not be readily available in other forms, such as video
- Provide feedback on a novices’ enactment of a teaching practice.
Using transcripts can help novices learn to attend to critical aspects of teaching practice—refining their teaching skill and preparing to enter the classroom ready to teach.
Also, because transcripts are fabricated episodes of teaching, they can be infused with context-specific details, including setting, demographic information, and even commonly occurring scenarios that put students at risk in real classrooms. Teacher educators, knowing the likely scenarios that novices might find themselves navigating in real classrooms, have the flexibility to build characters, dialogue, and other aspects of a narrative that will provide novices with the context they need to analyze teacher behavior, and imagine, practice and enact more equitable and socially just responses to classrooms’ most difficult situations. Moreover, transcripts allow novices these opportunities without putting anyone (novices or students) at real risk.
Transcribing actual episodes of teaching or creating fictional transcripts can be labor intensive, and depending on how one uses transcript analysis – in the analyze phase of the learning cycle, for instance – it may not always be feasible. To reduce labor, some use pre-fabricated transcripts. This is a viable option if existing transcripts are available for your content area, depict episodes of skillful teaching, include worthwhile content, and attend to justice.
Creating fictional transcripts or using pre-fabricated transcripts has the potential to reify stereotypes or continue to silence and marginalize certain voices. It is important that teacher educators carefully evaluate and curate transcripts to ensure that novices are not being uncritically exposed to problematic messages inherent in the context and/or dialogue of the transcript.
Transcripts are best used with high-leverage practices that involve interaction (between a teacher and a student or caregiver, or between a teacher and a group of students). Transcript analyses are typically best used in relation to the following high-leverage practices:
- Eliciting and interpreting student thinking
- Diagnosing particular common patterns of student thinking and development in a subject-matter domain
- Leading group discussion
- Building respectful relationships with students
- Providing oral and written feedback to students
- Talking about a student with parents or other caregivers
Transcript analysis can be used at two points in the learning cycle. In the introduce phase, transcript analyses can be used to provide exemplars (or purposefully crafted non-examples) of teaching that will facilitate novices’ noticings of certain elements of a particular teaching practice. Transcript analysis can also be used in the analyze phase of the learning cycle to support novices’ reflection on a recent episode of their own teaching.
When transcripts are used to introduce a practice, the transcript should hew closely to the decomposition of the high leverage practice and make the teaching practice and all of its components noticeable to novices. When transcripts are used to support novices in analyzing their own practice, the transcript should as accurately as possible depict the specific episode of teaching to be analyzed.