Scherff & Singer Framing and Reframing the Field Experience

Scherff, L., & Singer, N. R. (2012). The preservice teachers are watching: Framing and reframing the field experience. Teaching and Teacher Education, pp. 263-272.

***Although the preservice teachers were required to be in the field and perform certain field-based tasks. There is no mention of the researchers as being university supervisors. Instead, the authors describe the researchers as being the course instructors who facilitated the online discussions and graded the classroom. There was no mention of the professors as being supervisors or to distinguish their roles beyond teacher.

Summary: This qualitative study used Sizer & Sizer’s (1999) school- and classroom-based lenses for observation to examine preservice teachers’ online discussions and understand how they framed and reframed their observations in their field experiences. The study found that the preservice teachers used all six lenses written as gerunds in their posts. The gerunds included modeling, grappling, bluffing, sorting, shoving, and fearing. The most common lenses were grappling and modeling. The researchers also found that the technologies supported their instruction as teacher educators and allowed them to use the students’ reflections to guide their class discussions.

Key Words: preservice teachers, reflection, supervision in teacher education


Conceptual Framework: Sizer & Sizer (1999) school- and classroom-based lenses known as modeling, grappling, bluffing, sorting, shoving, and fearing


Research Questions:

  1. How do the preservice teachers frame and reframe classroom events?
  2. What implications do prospective teachers’ framing and reframing of classroom events have for teacher education?




Online discussions



33 preservice teachers’ online discussions



  • PSTs uses all six lenses in their posts.
  • Modeling for PSTs meant sharing examples of what their cooperating teachers had done or strategies the cooperating teachers had used.
  • Grappling occurred when PSTs questioned the cooperating teacher’s actions.
  • Bluffing was when PSTs shared or criticized cooperating teachers’ practices and judged those practices as acting disingenuously.
  • Fearing statements focused on the PSTs worries of engaging in the act of teaching.
  • Grappling and modeling were the most common kinds of responses.
  • PSTs comments often included more than one lens and were conflicting.
  • “Tools, like the wiki offer us [teacher educators] a complementary teaching source for our courses. While we have asked students to write reflections based on field experiences, in the past we usually required the writing to be turned in at the end of the course as a summative assignment” (p. 271).