The effect of expert guided eye gaze on novice instrumental music teachers' observations of middle school band rehearsals
The purpose of this study was twofold: (a) to examine and compare the eye gaze of novice and expert instrumental music teachers observing videos of middle school band rehearsals, and (b) to develop and evaluate a possible method for increasing novice music teachers’ situational awareness through systematic observation of training videos embedded with expert eye gaze and think aloud commentary. Novice teachers (n=29) completed a pre- and posttest where they observed 20 1-minute videos of middle school band rehearsals; experts (n=5) served as a referential comparison group. The researcher recorded the participants’ eye gaze using iView eye tracking software. Novice teachers were randomly assigned to treatment (n=15) and nontreatment (n=14) groups; the treatment group participated in six expert guided video training sessions between the pretest and posttest. For analysis, six of the 20 video segments were randomly selected and gridded Areas of Interest (AOI) heatmaps were created and used to make comparisons between groups. Results showed that 90.6% of the average median dwell times for AOIs were similar between experts and novices. Subtle differences were illustrated when visually examining the gridded AOI heatmaps and making connections to the video contents. Novice teachers focused on easily identifiable teaching moments such as posture, instrument carriage, and overt student misbehavior; experts focused on these and more subtle areas that required technical evaluation, such as embouchure and playing technique. Additionally, expert guided eye gaze was not shown to be an effective training tool since the eye gaze of all participants improved from pretest to posttest, suggesting that repetition alone resulted in more expert-like observations for novice teachers.