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fMRI of Expert-Novice Teachers within the


fMRI of Expert-Novice Teachers within the Reading the Eyes in the Mind Test Brandon Minzer Harvard University Abstract History of expertise research Traits ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: fMRI of Expert-Novice Teachers within the

fMRI of Expert-Novice Teachers within the
Reading the Eyes in the Mind Test
Brandon Minzer Harvard University
  • History of expertise research
  • Traits common to experts
  • Difficulties within the research
  • Proposed methodology
  • Predicted findings

Introduction to Expert-Novices
  • How is an expert defined?
  • An expert is an individual widely recognized as
    reliable source of particular knowledge,
    technique, or ability whose judgment is accorded
    authority and status by the public
  • Niels Bohr
  • An expert is a man who made all the mistakes in
    a very narrow field

Why Unravel the Nature of Expertise?
  • Expert performances provide a temporary
    pedagogical theory
  • Scaffolding
  • Instructional benefits

Characterization of Expert-Novices
  • Experts are better able to recall facts,
    features, and specific patterns with their domain
    of expertise
  • Thought and Choice in Chess (de Groot, 1965)
  • Perception, memory, organization of knowledge and
    decision making of experts was different to
  • Prerequisite for expertise lies in the
    development of functional, efficient ways of
    perceiving, recalling, processing and organizing
    information within a particular domain

Characterization of Expert-Novices(cont.)
  • Perception in Chess (Chase Simon, 1973)
  • Superior performance is for specifically
    meaningful information
  • Increased memory for chess positions
  • The acquisition of of perceptual diagnostic skill
    in radiology (Lesgold et al., 1981)
  • Experts perceive meaningful data more efficiently
    because they recognize more meaning in the

Expert-Novice Distinctions in Teaching
  • There exist two predominant frameworks that
    define the patterns existent in master level
  • Multifaceted cognitive ability
  • (Anderson, 1984)
  • Improvisational practice
  • (Yinger, 1987)

Developing the Perception of an Expert Teacher
  • The better a teacher becomes at interpreting the
    significance of what they see, the better
    information is available to make sound decisions
    in the classroom
  • Development of acute perceptual capacities is a
    primary characteristic for expert teachers
    (Berliner, 1984)
  • Experts are better able to observe students and
    discern critical cues that provide insight for
    informed and intuitive decisions (Woorons, 2001).

Four Features of How Experts See
  1. Focus on events relevant to student performance
    and learning
  2. Make inferences from observations
  3. Pay attention to atypical occurrences
  4. Observe with a critical eye

Experts fMRI
  • The automation of skill is correlated with less
    cognitive involvement and effort (Allard, 1993)
  • Professional piano players activated a smaller
    number of voxels during a finger movement task
    (Krings et al., 2000)
  • Board game cognition activated other cortical
    areas during analysis (Chen et al., 2002)
  • High degree of frontal lobe involvement (Levy
    Goldman0Rakic, 2000)

Expert Teachers and fMRI?
  • NOTHING? No one has yet to try it.
  • Why?
  • No Checkmate
  • Teaching tasks are difficult to conduct in a
  • Identification of skilled teachers
  • Pedagogical knowledge is undervalued

Reading the Mind in the Eyes(Baron-Cohen, 2001)
  • Involves inferring the mental state of a person
    from just the information conveyed in photographs
    of eyes
  • Consists of 36 images that were normed with a
    large population
  • Initially used as a Theory of Mind Task to assess
    both Autism and Aspergers syndrome

fMRI Proposal
  • Teachers and the Reading the Mind in the Eyes
  • Experts are better at interpreting what they see
  • Acute perceptual capacities
  • Discern critical cues that provide insight for
    informed and intuitive decisions

  • Experts will display a decrease in total
  • Response time difference between experts and
  • Perhaps experts will have activations in
    alternative regions

  • Subjects will be drawn as in previous behavioral
    expert-novice teacher studies
  • Experts
  • Will be identified from recommendations from
    school superintendents and principals
  • Each nominee will be observed on multiple
  • Novices
  • First-year teachers who have recently graduated
    and been certified
  • N12, 6 right handed expert teachers 6 novice
  • Elementary school teachers

  • Example of the task prior to the scan
  • Event-related design
  • 100 face perception stimuli
  • 33 control, shape perception task
  • 8 sec duration of the stimuli (piloted)
  • 18 minute scan/subject
  • 4 choice right handed button press

Experimental Stimulus
Aghast Irritated Reflective Impatient
Control Stimulus
Circle Triangle Square Oval
fMRI data Acquisition
  • Gradient echoplanar imaging will be acquired in a
    GE Signa 1.5T scanner
  • One hundred T1 and T2 weighted images depicting
    BOLD contrast over 18 minutes
  • 14 near-linear axial slices, 7mm thick, with a
    0.7 mm interslice gap
  • TR 3 sec, TE 40 ms
  • Total Cost 2800.00

Implications for Teaching
  • Bridges still need to be built between
    neuroscience and basic educational research
  • Designing of preparation programs for the
    training of novices
  • May range from the manner in which science class
    is taught to authentic teacher evaluation

Limitations of the Study
  • The findings have numerous potential implications
    for future research however, the devised tasks
    may have been too artificial to simulate other
    important differences in the way experts and
    novices actually distinguish and proceed upon
    classroom situations

  • The goal of education is not to create consumers
    of evidence, but rather generators of knowledge.