ELIZABETH VAN ES, PhD
2008 KSTF Research Fellow
Department of Education
University of California – Irvine
When Dr. Elizabeth van Es entered graduate school, she was concerned with how to make professional development meaningful for teachers. As a former high school teacher, she experienced one-shot in-service trainings that had very little to do with what went on in her classroom on a day-to-day basis. She also felt the isolation of teaching, having had few opportunities to collaborate with teachers to study her practice. As a teacher leader who used technology for student learning, she became interested in how technology could be used as a tool for teacher learning. She entered graduate school to pursue this interest and continues to study how video can be used to help pre-service and practicing teachers learn about teaching.
Prior to entering graduate school, Beth was a high school English and communications teacher. During her four years of teaching, she embraced ways to integrate technology into the classroom and led professional development sessions around this topic. She earned her BA in the teaching of English from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 1992, and her PhD in learning sciences from Northwestern University in 2004. She continued at Northwestern as a post-doctoral fellow from 2004-2006.
Beth’s research focuses on developing teachers’ skills at noticing. This means learning to attend to student thinking and analyzing the impact that one’s teaching has on student learning. “Currently, much of secondary math teaching follows a traditional transmission model. The teacher introduces a topic and shows how to solve problems. Then, the class solves one or two problems together, after which students solve additional problems independently. This process tells teachers very little about student thinking – where they get confused and why or different strategies students can generate to solve a problem based on what they already know. If I could change one thing about math teaching, it would be to help secondary mathematics teachers slow down their instruction and let student thinking become more visible in the classroom.”
Beth uses video for two purposes: to see how they can make student thinking visible and to learn how to analyze teaching. “Future teachers have had little, if any, experience in a mathematics classroom where students share ideas that become the focus of discussion. Video provides images of teaching of this sort.” These same videos become tools for analysis. With carefully structured prompts, Beth helps prospective teachers notice student learning in the videos and analyze how the teaching influenced learning.
With the help of the KSTF Research Fellowship, Beth is studying how future mathematics teachers learn to notice through video analysis of teaching. She is also studying how to design a course for pre-service teachers to develop this critical skill for teaching.
Awards and Recognitions
Specialist in the field of Cognitive Science, Northwestern University (2004); Semi-Finalist, Spencer Dissertation Fellowship (2003); Outstanding Paper Award, Society for Information Technology (2002)
- van Es, E.A. & Sherin, M.G. (in press). The influence of video clubs on teachers’ thinking and practice. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education.
- van Es, E.A. (2009). Participants’ roles in the context of a video club. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 18(1), 100-137.
- Sherin, M.G. & van Es, E.A. (2009). Effects of Video Club Participation on Teachers’ Professional Vision. Journal of Teacher Education, 60, 20-37.
- van Es, E.A. & Sherin, M.G. (2008). Mathematics teachers’ “learning to notice” in the context of a video club. Teaching and Teacher Education, 24, 244-276.
- van Es, E.A. & Sherin, M.G. (2006). How different video club designs support teachers in “learning to notice.” Journal of Computing in Teacher Education, 22(4), 125-135.
- van Es, E.A., & Sherin, M.G. (2002). Learning to notice: Scaffolding new teachers' interpretations of classroom interactions. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 10 (4), 571-596.