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Video-mediated collaborative lesson planning in virtual exchange among transnational teams of pre-service language teachers

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 March 2024

Semih Ekin
TED University, Türkiye (
Ufuk Balaman
TED University, Türkiye (
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Virtual exchange (VE) projects in pre-service language teacher education are increasingly being recognized as an innovative practice due to their affordances for providing teacher learning opportunities in technology-rich environments. This study aims to report these opportunities based on results from a VE project consisting of diverse teacher education activities, including lectures, webinars, asynchronous tasks, and synchronous video-mediated interactions. This project provides a medium for pre-service teachers to collaboratively design a lesson to be implemented in hybrid language learning environments. We specifically deal with the video-mediated interactions of the transnational groups of pre-service language teachers using multimodal conversation analysis (CA) as the research methodology and investigate VE phases to explore how their interactions become consequential for the final pedagogical design. The findings show that the pre-service teachers retrospectively orient to shared practices in the earlier phases of the VE project, and the deployment of retrospective orientation as an interactional resource creates interactional space for collaborative decision-making related to their pedagogical designs. We argue that tracking the video-mediated pedagogical interactions of the pre-service teachers using CA is a methodological innovation that allows researchers to collect interactional evidence for the emergent teacher learning opportunities. The findings bring new insights to the role of the technology-mediated settings (e.g. VEs and telecollaboration) in language learning, teaching, and teacher education and in bridging different cultures, curricula, and physical spaces.

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© The Author(s), 2024. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of EUROCALL, the European Association for Computer-Assisted Language Learning

1. Introduction

It is a widely held view that pre-service teachers (PSTs) should be provided as many technological, pedagogical, and content knowledge development opportunities as possible in their initial teacher education to better prepare for both online and face-to-face teaching environments (Koehler & Mishra, Reference Koehler and Mishra2009). The developmental trajectories of PSTs and the inherently complex, interactive, and reflective procedures involved can best be navigated with a closer look at their collaboration with others (Li, Reference Li2020). Therefore, creating reflective and interactive environments where PSTs can discuss, co-create, and co-organize teaching practices, and gradually gain professional experience, affords many opportunities for teacher learning in situ. For a fuller understanding of such opportunities, previous research addressed the positive outcomes of PSTs’ social participation in diverse teacher education activities such as lesson planning conferences (e.g. Liu, Reference Liu2013; Morton & Gray, Reference Morton and Gray2010; Shi & Yang, Reference Shi and Yang2014) and virtual exchanges (VEs; e.g. Antoniadou, Reference Antoniadou2011; Bueno-Alastuey & Kleban, Reference Bueno-Alastuey and Kleban2016; Dooly & Sadler, Reference Dooly and Sadler2013). This study brings together these two activities as an innovative way of creating opportunities for teacher learning through a 14-week project involving VE (also referred to as telecollaboration and online intercultural exchange). The study focuses primarily on the interactional practices of transnational groups of PSTs in and through video-mediated interactions for collaboratively planning lessons to be implemented in hybrid learning environments (Morton & Gray, Reference Morton and Gray2010). The collaborative production of the lesson is the predetermined end point of the VE project and as such constitutes an ideal activity for an exploration of the teacher learning opportunities afforded by the VE project. More specifically, we focus on one interactional resource in particular, retrospective orientation to shared experiential practices (cf. Can Daşkın & Hatipoğlu, Reference Can Daşkın and Hatipoğlu2019; Jakonen, Reference Jakonen2018), and respond to the following research questions:

  1. 1. How do PSTs’ retrospective orientations to shared experiential practices in early phases of the VE project shape the interactional trajectory of video-mediated collaborative lesson design meetings?

  2. 2. In what ways do the interactional processes involved in PSTs’ collaborative pedagogical decision-making create teacher learning opportunities in a VE setting?

2. VE for language learning, teaching, and teacher education

Language learning and teaching contexts have been among the focal areas for the use of VE. A closer look at the literature shows that there is a predominant task-oriented approach in the design and implementation of VE projects (e.g. Dooly & O’Dowd, Reference Dooly and O’Dowd2012; O’Dowd & Waire, Reference O’Dowd and Waire2009). VE participants are confronted with different linguistic and cultural understandings while also finding an optimal meaning-making environment to accomplish shared goals during the exchange (O’Dowd & Waire, Reference O’Dowd and Waire2009). The goal-oriented and interactive nature of VE in language learning settings facilitate learners’ development of (i) linguistic competence (e.g. Angelova & Zhao, Reference Angelova and Zhao2016; Sauro, Reference Sauro2009), (ii) intercultural communicative competence (Belz, Reference Belz2003; Chen & Yang, Reference Chen and Yang2016; Chun, Reference Chun2011; Lee & Markey, Reference Lee and Markey2014; O’Dowd, Reference O’Dowd and Jackson2011; Schenker, Reference Schenker2012), (iii) pragmatic competence (e.g. Kinginger & Belz, Reference Kinginger and Belz2005; Liaw & Bunn-Le Master, Reference Liaw and Bunn-Le Master2010), and (iv) online interactional competence (e.g. Balaman, Reference Balaman2018; Balaman & Sert, Reference Balaman and Sert2017a, 2017b).

In a similar vein, there is a good deal of research investigating the effect of VE on teacher development. These studies examined how VE provided the teachers with opportunities for the development of intercultural competence (e.g. Dooly, Reference Dooly2011; Üzüm, Akayoglu & Yazan, Reference Üzüm, Akayoglu and Yazan2020), linguistic competence (e.g. Bueno-Alastuey & Kleban, Reference Bueno-Alastuey and Kleban2016), as well as technological and pedagogical content knowledge (e.g. Dooly & Sadler, Reference Dooly and Sadler2013; Hauck, Müller-Hartmann, Rienties & Rogaten, Reference Hauck, Müller-Hartmann, Rienties and Rogaten2020; Rienties, Lewis, O’Dowd, Rets & Rogaten, Reference Rienties, Lewis, O’Dowd, Rets and Rogaten2022). In this line of research, most telecollaboration and VE practices share a common teacher learning objective, which is to provide authentic experiences so that PSTs can improve their skills, competences, and knowledge required for an understanding of the true potential of technology-mediated settings (Cappellini & Hsu, Reference Cappellini and Hsu2020; Develotte, Guichon & Vincent, Reference Develotte, Guichon and Vincent2010; Grau & Turula, Reference Grau and Turula2019; Guichon, Reference Guichon2012; Mangenot, Reference Mangenot2017). In return, it is expected that PSTs will transform these teacher learning outcomes into teacher knowledge in action while designing technology-rich learning environments (e.g. VEs) for their future students (Badem-Korkmaz, Ekin & Balaman, Reference Badem-Korkmaz, Ekin and Balaman2022; Balaman, Reference Balaman2023; Ekin, Balaman & Badem-Korkmaz, Reference Ekin, Balaman and Badem-Korkmaz2024).

The use of VE as experiential learning practices primes “doing” or “experiencing” as the source of learning (Wright, Reference Wright2010); thus, one important concern is the transferability potential of those practices gained as a result of social participation in a VE project towards the design of one such a project. Hence, a closer look at the use of VEs oriented to collaborative pedagogical design activities is required. To fully exploit the affordances of VE for language education, it is quite important to arrange appropriate training that is shaped by these kinds of exchanges to allow teachers to tackle the challenges of designing such contexts. These challenges include paying attention to different aspects such as ways of promoting intercultural exchanges, respecting diversity, establishing partnerships, selecting online tools, and, overall, making a wide range of pedagogical decisions that necessitate a diverse set of skills and competences during the design process (O’Dowd, Reference O’Dowd2015). More directly related to the scope of the present study are VE-based teacher education practices concerned with the online collaboration of PSTs for co-producing tasks, lessons, and/or diverse pedagogically sound activities for facilitating language learning (Badem-Korkmaz et al., Reference Badem-Korkmaz, Ekin and Balaman2022; Cappellini & Combe, Reference Cappellini and Combe2017; Cutrim Schmid & Hegelheimer, Reference Cutrim Schmid and Hegelheimer2014; Develotte, Mangenot & Zourou, Reference Develotte, Mangenot and Zourou2005; Ekin et al., Reference Ekin, Balaman and Badem-Korkmaz2024; Kurek, Reference Kurek2015). As a context for meaning-making and pedagogical decision-making, task design or lesson design processes in telecollaborative teacher exchanges have been found to have a positive impact on the professional development of PSTs (e.g. Badem-Korkmaz et al., Reference Badem-Korkmaz, Ekin and Balaman2022; Dooly & Sadler, Reference Dooly and Sadler2013; Ekin et al., Reference Ekin, Balaman and Badem-Korkmaz2024; Fuchs, Snyder, Tung & Han, Reference Fuchs, Snyder, Tung and Han2017; Sadler & Dooly, Reference Sadler and Dooly2016). The decision-making mechanisms underlying the pedagogical choices of PSTs have been reported to provide opportunities for an improved capacity to recognize and utilize the task specifications required for designing telecollaboration activities (Kurek & Müller-Hartmann, Reference Kurek and Müller-Hartmann2017).

With these in mind, the use of VE in initial teacher education holds great potential to unveil and expand PSTs’ professional experiences in online meetings with peers from diverse educational backgrounds working together to accomplish a shared goal (Dooly, Reference Dooly and Pérez Cañado2013). The shared goal in the focal VE project is to create a lesson by co-constructing, negotiating, and finalizing the multitude of pedagogical contents and decisions in and through talk-in-interaction (Liu, Reference Liu2013). The interactional architecture of teachers’ design-relevant conversations has been the focus of previous research. The process of creating a shared lesson plan among peers is termed “lesson planning conferences,” and such meetings have been found to invoke “the construction of personal practical knowledge and professional identity” (Morton & Gray, Reference Morton and Gray2010, p. 298). In designing lessons collaboratively, the teachers discuss teaching principles and imagine the enactment of their designs in classrooms along with teaching materials like real objects (Leyland, Reference Leyland2016; Morton & Gray, Reference Morton and Gray2010). Especially when pedagogical decisions need to be made collaboratively, research has shown that the teachers use certain principles, such as naming pedagogical activities, to arrive at a group decision oriented to the collaborative lesson plan (Greer & Leyland, Reference Greer and Leyland2018). Small groups of PSTs have also been reported to draw on disciplinary terminology (e.g. task/activity types) while summing up their ideas in telecollaborative task design conversations (Ekin et al., Reference Ekin, Balaman and Badem-Korkmaz2024).

Although PSTs’ displays of disciplinary knowledge in design conversations can provide evidence for emergent teacher learning opportunities, there is no research to date, to our knowledge, that has traced such opportunities across multiple steps of a teacher education cycle in a VE project. In this context, the methodological tools of multimodal conversation analysis (CA) are particularly helpful. Given that the lesson planning conversations take place in video-mediated interactions, examination of the screen recordings of these meetings via CA can pinpoint the exact moments of specific experiential practices that are necessary for group decisions. The interactional trackability of these moments on a retrospective basis also increases the validity of conclusions.

In the present study, we exclusively focus on PSTs’ retrospective orientations to shared experiential practices (Can Daşkın & Hatipoğlu, Reference Can Daşkın and Hatipoğlu2019; Jakonen, Reference Jakonen2018), which recognizably occurred in the earlier periods of the VE project timeline. PSTs’ retrospective orientations to the shared experiential practices are conceptualized as their ways of bringing temporality (Mercer, Reference Mercer2008) and lived experiences, hence experiential practices, into the interaction to establish a mutual understanding in their lesson planning talk and pedagogical decision-making process. In mundane conversations, the participants benefit from using such references to objects, individuals, time, events, and practices (Can Daşkın, Reference Can Daşkın2017) to establish a common ground and make the conversation more accessible and understandable for the co-participants (You, Reference You2015). In a teacher education setting, the use of such referencing practices can mediate between the PSTs’ actionable disciplinary knowledge and ongoing pedagogical discussions (Balaman, Reference Balaman2023). To this end, analyzing PSTs’ retrospective orientations to their shared experiential practices in a VE-based teacher education setting can help uncover the role of their experiential practices in collaboratively designing lesson plans. It also enables tracking the PSTs’ interactions retrospectively and identifying interactionally observable and pedagogically salient teacher learning opportunities that emerge over time.

3. Methods

This project was designed as a semester-long VE partnership among three universities in Germany (12 participants), Türkiye (14 participants), and Sweden (15 participants). All participants were PSTs of English as a foreign language in the respective countries and taking different courses with convergent objectives. Following the ethical approval of the project (04.03.2021 – E-51944218-300-00001480191), written consent was obtained from all participants. The VE project was recognized as the main component of each course in the participating universities. The exchange was organized based on three different domains. The first domain was an asynchronous task module (ATM), which consisted of asynchronous, individual, and/or team tasks shared on the dedicated learning management system of the project at different intervals. The second domain was synchronous team exchanges (TE). The PSTs from the partnering universities were teamed up (six teams in total), and they met with their team members on a weekly basis to complete synchronous tasks by engaging in video-mediated interaction. The third domain was online joint class sessions (OJCS) in which all PSTs from three partnering universities were gathered, and the teacher trainers and an invited researcher (only in one of the OJCSs) provided the PSTs with input on how to engage in TE, and how to design tasks or lessons within the scope of the VE project.

The entire VE process was designed by adopting the progressive exchange framework suggested by O’Dowd and Waire (Reference O’Dowd and Waire2009) and based on three telecollaborative task types, namely (i) information exchange tasks, (ii) comparison and analysis tasks, and (iii) production tasks. In the current project, the teacher trainers used these task types in order, thus determining the timeline of the VE activities and project flow (see Figure 1). The project started with the OJCS-1 (Introduction), during which the trainers formed the teams, introduced the project timeline, delivered instructions for the entire process, presented some telecollaboration and VE examples, and kicked off the project. Following this extensive preparation session, the PSTs completed the first two tasks via three team exchanges (TE1, TE2, and TE3). Before starting the third (productive) task, the trainers invited a VE expert to deliver a webinar (OJCS-2) on the challenges and important points of designing VE projects. Following this, the teams started the third task (from the 4th to 7th week; TE4, TE5, TE6, TE7, and optionally more TEs if needed) and completed all the requirements (i.e. to create a shared lesson design on a global problem for hybrid learning environments) by the end of the project timeline. During this phase, the trainers also organized three more OJCSs (OJCS 3, 4, and 5) to monitor the progress with the PSTs and prompted some interim discussions about the ongoing VE and lesson design processes.

Figure 1. Procedural flow of the project.

The dataset consists of screen recordings of video-mediated interactions and written/visual posts (i.e. reflections, asynchronous task entries, and other PST entries, and teacher products given as screenshots to supplement the analysis), which come from various practices across the timeline of the VE project (i.e. TEs, ATM, OJCSs). Based on the project flow (Figure 1), we specifically focused on video-mediated TEs and established links with other stages only when the PSTs established such links in and through talk-in-interaction. We use multimodal CA (Mondada, Reference Mondada2019; Sidnell & Stivers, Reference Sidnell and Stivers2013) to describe the emic perspectives of the participants on a moment-by-moment and line-by-line basis. As a result of the close examination of the screen-recorded interactions of the participants, we identified one recurrent practice that led the PSTs to a collaborative pedagogical decision, namely retrospective orientation to shared experiential practices (see Can Daşkın & Hatipoğlu, Reference Can Daşkın and Hatipoğlu2019; Jakonen, Reference Jakonen2018). To further elaborate, all analytic findings presented in the next section can be completely traced back to the collaborative work of the participants that emerged during the VE project and are therefore referred to as shared practices experienced with all team members. We present how the participants deployed retrospective orientations to these shared experiential practices, and how these orientations shaped their lesson planning conversations and played a role in their pedagogical decisions.

We should also note that the example in this study is drawn from a larger dataset (Ekin, Reference Ekin2023) that includes recurrent instances (14 cases) of retrospective orientations to shared experiential practices that occurred during the project and subsequently led to a joint pedagogical decision (Balaman, Reference Balaman2023). We limit our focus to one transnational team of PSTs (initials of pseudonyms: NAT, KET, PIN, and PEL) and use their retrospective orientations to one experiential practice in particular as the starting point for our analysis. To provide an overall snapshot of the entire shared history among the participants, we present the focal practice from this team’s last team exchange because this meeting held the potential to include summaries and references to the entire project time that they experienced. Therefore, despite being based on a larger dataset (Ekin, Reference Ekin2023), we acknowledge that we only present a limited portion of the focal phenomenon to closely examine one case in greater detail.

4. Analysis and findings

The following extracts come from the 10th video-mediated team meeting (TE10) of the focal group of PSTs. During this meeting, they tried to complete their overall lesson design and submit their lesson plans as the end point of the project. In earlier meetings, they determined “gender equality” as the theme of the (imagined) lesson and “a gender equality themed theater play” as the end product of their lesson design. Hence, their lesson planning conversations were shaped by this topic. One of the co-participants adopted the role of a typist (NAT) and shared her screen to make the written form of the collaborative lesson plan accessible to the co-participants. The extracts are presented under two main headings to fully reflect the changes in their pedagogical decisions (i.e. first decision on lesson design and final decision on lesson design) and procedurally demonstrate how the PSTs’ decision-making processes are shaped when they retrospectively orient to a shared past experience.

4.1 First decision on lesson design

The first extract (Extract 1.1) starts with the PSTs’ proposals of some lesson-related ideas and shows how they draw on their shared experiential practices in the VE project in so doing. The PSTs are planning the 6th week of their 10-week-long lesson design. Prior to the extract, they talked about some of the ideas that they noted earlier for the 6th week, including an activity – “interviewing an activist who has an influence on gender equality” – in line with the overall theme of the lesson. At the beginning of the extract, NAT’s proposal of a timeline for this specific idea marks the initiation of a pedagogical decision-making instance.

Extract 1.1 “Do you guys remember the joint class we had?” (00:28:53–00:29:51)

In lines 1 to 4, NAT proposes a timeline (la:st↑ lesson) for this activity idea to be used in the planned lesson. She then delivers her utterance after an intra-turn 2.6 s pause and the lip pursing in line 5. Following 0.7 s of silence, she produces a self-assessment oriented to her own proposal in lines 6 and 7. In the follow-up turn, she asks a question to elicit other team members’ ideas on her proposal by leaving the turn incomplete and stretching the turn-final first-person plural pronoun in line 8 (we:), which marks the collaborative nature of the pedagogical decision-making process. Subsequently, 2.8 s of silence occurs. In line 10, with the turn-initial hesitation (.hh er::) and possibility markers (maybe we can), KET takes the turn in the response slot and delivers an alternative proposal (a joint classroom … invite the activist), which is aligned by PEL in line 13. Although the name of the proposed activity is the same as determined by the teacher trainers (the joint class) and implemented earlier within the VE project, KET’s turn design does not include a direct orientation to this activity (i.e. OJCS-2 in Figure 1). KET completes the production of her design idea by comparing it with NAT’s idea (she talks (1.4) instead of interviewing), while NAT bodily orients to this proposal in line 14.

In the follow-up turn, NAT provides an explicit positive assessment for KET’s idea and, unlike KET, NAT retrospectively refers to this activity as a shared past practice (do you: guys remember the joint class we had) in line 16 (Jakonen, Reference Jakonen2018). Also note that NAT designs her turn as a remember recognition check (You, Reference You2015) addressed to the co-participants, which further marks the sharedness of the activity as experiential practice. Her retrospective orientation includes the details of the shared event (spanish … gu:y) and it is followed by her proposal of using a similar activity (we could do:) in line 20. Therefore, KET’s initial activity proposal is upgraded by NAT, and by proposing to use this as an activity in their own lesson design, NAT not only displays agreement with KET but also deploys a retrospective orientation to contribute to the ongoing collaborative pedagogical decision-making. NAT’s reference to the invited person in this event as “Spanish guy” receives laughter from the co-participants. Their mutual laughter (Liang, Reference Liang2015) shows the recognition of NAT’s reference by all team members. NAT delivers a positive assessment with a smiley tone and ends this laughing episode by line 26. In the subsequent parts of the video-mediated meeting (Extract 1.2), we see how the retrospective orientation to a recognizably shared past event leads to a group decision following a PST’s proposal of a timeline for the lesson design idea.

Extract 1.2 “But really good for the last lesson” (00:29:52–00:30:23)

After closing the mutual laughter episode (Liang, Reference Liang2015) following her reference to a shared past event (Can Daşkın & Hatipoğlu, Reference Can Daşkın and Hatipoğlu2019), in line 27, NAT delivers a positive assessment and returns to her earlier proposal of a candidate timeline for the activity (but really good for the la:st& lesson). She initiates an extended, stepwise telling of the activity idea during which the co-participants bodily display listenership (lines 29, 32, and 33). During her telling, NAT refers to a presentation in line 29, group work in line 30, critical assessment of the presentation in line 31, joint class in line 33, and lastly to the closing of the activity. She ends her telling with the teasing turn (Koç, Reference Koç2023) in lines 32 and 34. Therefore, by using the interactional space created as a result of the retrospective orientation to the shared practice, NAT contributes to the lesson planning conversation. NAT’s closing of the telling with the teasing turn receives laughter from PIN and KET in lines 35 and 36. In an overlap with KET’s positive assessment, NAT uses a turn-final request for confirmation (that’s a good way ri:ght↑) for her design idea (Jakonen, Reference Jakonen2014). All of the co-participants display agreement in an overlapping fashion (lines 40 to 43), showing that the design idea was registered as a collaborative pedagogical decision. However, due to NAT’s extended telling, the agreement by co-participants addresses the overall plan rather than each proposed activity constituting the plan. The extract ends with NAT’s opening of a Word document on the shared screen, and she informs the team members that she, as the typist, will write this collaborative decision in the lesson plan.

In what follows, we present the PSTs’ activities on the shared screen after the end of the extract. In the following two minutes, NAT, as the typist, scrolls down on the screen-shared Word document and starts a writing aloud episode (Balaman, Reference Balaman2021). Under the VE part of the plan, which marks the hybrid component of the imagined learning environment, she adds “A short presentation by an activist” (Figure 2).

Figure 2. NAT’s addition of presentation activity on the file.

Note. The red arrow was added by the authors.

Subsequently, she brings the cursor to “Double-lesson number” (i.e. the timeline) part of the document, deletes 6, and writes 10 instead. This aligns with her earlier proposal oriented to the timeline of the activity, the last lesson, which is the 10th week according to their plan.

Extract 1 and Figure 2 portrayed how the PSTs decided on a lesson design activity in a collaborative fashion by using retrospective orientation to a shared experiential practice during the earlier periods of the VE project. That is to say, NAT brought a shared component to their ongoing pedagogical interaction and used this as the source for her proposed design idea, which in the end was accepted by the co-participants and added to the lesson design as a collaborative pedagogical decision. However, the next section shows that although the changes in the design of the lesson plan regarding the activity steps were accepted, the timeline still requires a further discussion, which prompts another instance of pedagogical decision-making.

4.2 Final decision on lesson design

In this section, we present extracts showing how the PSTs revisited and changed parts of their first decision in interaction. The following extracts come from the same meeting (TE10) and start 41 minutes after Extract 1. Following the participants’ work on the details of the activities, the extract starts with PIN’s problematization of the timeline of the mutually agreed activity (see Extract 1). This problematization causes the team members to re-evaluate their previously decided activity idea in their lesson planning conversation. During Extract 2.1 and Extract 2.2, NAT shares her screen, and all the participants have visual access to the Word document (i.e. the same document in Extract 1) showing the relevant activities.

Extract 2.1 “Are we only going to plan it in session ten?” (01:10:18–01:11:16)

The extract starts with PIN’s confirmation question about the timeline of the presentation activity (are we: only going to plan it in session ten). Her question is bodily confirmed by KET and verbally replied by NAT with an epistemic stance marker (yeah i thought so) in line 4. In overlap with NAT’s turn-final utterance, PIN initiates providing a counter-argument about the pedagogical aspect of the proposed activity (some students (1.1) might get (1.4) new input or ideas for their play). Also note that PIN refers to this activity as providing input, which is an instance of pedagogical knowledge display. PIN’s counter-argument overlaps with NAT’s loud change of state and acknowledgement tokens in line 10. PIN, then, continues delivering accounts for her counter-argument in line 12 (=if so:) but interrupted by NAT, which results in NAT’s apology in line 15. Subsequently, PIN reformulates her account in line 16 (so >that< they can use it fo:r their pla:y↑) and completes the delivery of her counter-argument.

Following 2.9 s of silence, NAT takes the turn with an audible in-breath and refers to their earlier pedagogical decision-making process (that was the question we asked before) (see Extract 1.2 for the group agreement on the decision). Her reference incorporates PIN’s counter-argument into the initiation of a new pedagogical decision-making process regarding the timeline of the mutually agreed activity. In doing so, NAT invites the co-participants into the ongoing decision-making process by proposing two alternative uses for this specific activity, either as the conclusion or as input provision, which displays her understanding of PIN’s earlier pedagogical knowledge–relevant reference. Let us remind at this point that the earlier group agreement did not specify the activity steps, but it was more generally oriented to the overall plan proposed by NAT. After some time in the meeting, we see that these specific activity steps are also negotiated so that the PSTs can share their stance, which demonstrates the collaborative nature of the meeting structure at hand.

The decision-making process continues with the following segment, and PIN elaborates on her problematization (21 lines of PIN’s clarification regarding whether there was a presentation activity in earlier weeks in the plan were omitted for brevity purposes). Following those 21 lines, the PSTs reach a final decision on the lesson plan–related idea by deploying a retrospective orientation to their shared experiential practice (i.e. presentation) that occurred in the VE project.

Extract 2.2 “I liked the presentation we had, but it was also for input” (01:11:44–01:12:16)

After clarifying the presentation activity, PIN designs her turn to problematize the link between the type of the mutually agreed activity (an activist gives the presentation) in lines 48 and 49 and its pedagogical objective in their collaborative plan (not rea:lly a conclusion but more new input) in lines 50 and 51. Coordinated with PIN’s turn, NAT removes the relevant part from the Word document on the shared screen. In the turn-final position in line 52, PIN initiates a question (wouldn’t you say), which makes the co-participants’ (dis)agreement relevant (Badem-Korkmaz & Balaman, Reference Badem-Korkmaz and Balaman2022). Subsequently, NAT and KET display agreement in overlap. In the follow-up turn, NAT takes the turn and asks a question dispersed with the 3.3 s of silence in line 56 and completed in line 57 (so:: do we: even want↑). NAT’s question turn is withdrawal implicative and an extension of her screen-based action (deleting the activity from the lesson plan). Therefore, she deletes the activity first and publicizes this action next with her question. Despite the earlier agreements by the co-participants (lines 53 to 57), NAT’s turn makes the co-participants’ stance displays relevant next (Balaman & Sert, Reference Balaman and Sert2017a). Following 3.5 s of silence, PIN responds with an I-mean-prefaced turn (i mean i like it) and states her disagreement with a complete withdrawal of the focal activity in line 59. Subsequently, PIN engages in delivering further accounts for her stance and deploys a retrospective orientation to the shared experiential practice as part of the VE project that they are part of in line 60 (i liked the presentation we ha:d). In the follow-up turn, PIN provides her understanding of why there was a presentation in their shared activity (OJCS-2 in the VE project flow) (but it was also for input), and NAT displays agreement with PIN.

So far in the lesson planning meeting, we have seen divergent stances by the co-participants. NAT initially proposed to include the presentation activity as a part of the last lesson and later initiated another instance of pedagogical decision-making by withdrawing her earlier proposal after PIN’s problematization. PIN, on the other hand, questioned the pedagogical focus of the activity (conclusion vs. input provision) and displayed disagreement with planning the activity for the last lesson (conclusion). In doing so, she displayed her pedagogical and disciplinary knowledge in action by designing her arguments based on the relevant pedagogical knowledge and deploying retrospective orientation to their shared experiential practice after NAT’s question. She referred to the OJCS that they had and reminded that it was at the beginning phase for input provision purposes. Relatedly, she proposed that their pedagogical design should be similar to what they experienced within the VE project and displayed her stance accordingly. NAT, then, agreed with PIN, which requires NAT to undo the deletion of the presentation activity as the typist. Therefore, another instance of retrospective orientation to a shared experiential practice shaped the interaction in a way to lead the PSTs to a decision in their overall lesson plan. The decision is to keep the presentation activity within the plan and change the timeline from the 10th to the 5th week in their lesson design, as seen in the remaining parts of the meeting.

After the end of Extract 2.2, NAT proposed changing the timeline and brought the cursor to the “Process/Activities” part of the 5th week. She cut the relevant part (A short presentation by an activist on the topic: gender equality ˜ 20 min) from the plan of the 10th week and pasted it to the plan of the 5th week. She referred to the part that she added as the “VE-joint-class” on the shared Word document (see Figure 3), which is similar to the activity in the VE project (i.e. OJCS-2). Therefore, we see again that the interactional space created by the retrospective orientation was exploited by the co-participants for the purpose of incorporating the shared experiential practice into their own design.

Figure 3. NAT’s addition of the presentation activity in the beginning of the 5th week’s plan.

Note. The red arrow was added by the authors.

However, the episode that led the PSTs to a collaborative pedagogical decision process did not end here. Following the inclusion of VE-joint class and the presentation to the specific part of their design for the 5th week, PIN reminded the co-participants of the pedagogical aspect of her proposal, namely treating the presentation as the source of input, and recommended unpacking this in the lesson plan as well. Accordingly, NAT inserted a statement into the Comments section of the plan (see Figure 4).

Figure 4. Addition of presentation as “A New Source of Input” into the lesson design.

Note. The red arrow was added by the authors.

This process can be summarized as follows. The collaborative decision-making process started with KET’s proposal of an idea, which was subsequently shaped by NAT through her use of retrospective orientation to a shared experiential practice. The present VE project included an invited webinar (i.e. OJCS-2), and a speaker delivered a presentation about some important aspects of designing a VE project. Relatedly, NAT’s retrospective orientation to this webinar and bringing this shared experience into the interaction was immediately accompanied by agreements of the co-participants (Extract 1.2). The mutual agreement led the PSTs to a group decision, and NAT added “inviting an activist to give a presentation” to the VE section of their plan of the last lesson by making it visible on the screen-shared Word file (Figure 2). Although the PSTs strategically used the interactional space after NAT’s retrospective orientation to reach a collaborative decision regarding the inclusion of the activity, we identified that there were other details to be negotiated within the group when PIN problematized the timeline of the mutually agreed activity. PIN’s proposal of doing the presentation activity before the last lesson was accepted by the co-participants after PIN deployed a retrospective orientation to the same activity (Extract 2.2, line 60) (i.e. OJCS-2). Here, NAT displayed hesitation about the inclusion of the activity with a withdrawal implicative question (Extract 2.2, line 58), but the use of retrospective orientation by PIN following this question helped the co-participants decide that this activity should be included in their overall design with immediate verbal and bodily confirmations (Extract 2.2). Therefore, for a second time in the same meeting, the use of retrospective orientation led to a group decision. Another similarity with the first instance of retrospective orientation emerged when PIN reminded of the pedagogical aspect of the presentation activity (input provision) within the scope of the VE project. That is to say, the PSTs used the interactional space afforded by the retrospective orientation to shared experiential practices over the course of a VE project to reach the final version of their collaborative pedagogical decision. NAT, as the typist, added it to the shared Word document and registered it as the final product of the team. We discuss this in more detail in the following section.

5. Discussion and conclusion

Bringing lived and hands-on experiences into the language teacher education contexts is invaluable to PSTs’ professional development, which also calls for an analytical approach to demonstrate how such experiences emerge in situ and later play an active role in identifying the emergent PST learning opportunities. In this study, we used multimodal CA to examine a transnational group of PSTs’ video-mediated interactions and focused on their pedagogical decision-making processes during a VE project oriented to collaborative lesson planning. The findings showed that experiential practices and their use in action during video-mediated lesson planning conferences are socially constructed phenomena that can be tracked across multiple language teacher education activities (Badem-Korkmaz et al., Reference Badem-Korkmaz, Ekin and Balaman2022; Ekin et al., Reference Ekin, Balaman and Badem-Korkmaz2024). One interactional practice in particular helped us navigate the VE activities, namely retrospective orientation to shared experiential practices (Can Daşkın & Hatipoğlu, Reference Can Daşkın and Hatipoğlu2019; Jakonen, Reference Jakonen2018). Tracking the teacher education cycle in the VE project, we explored how one activity (i.e. webinar by an expert of VE) was drawn on by the PSTs to initially create interactional space for negotiating pedagogical decisions and then to pave the way for reaching a collaborative decision.

We argue that our analytic approach of treating the retrospective orientations to a specific VE activity as the starting point for tracking the entire process brought new methodological innovations into pre-service language teacher education research. Primarily, we found evidence for the teacher learning opportunities that recognizably occurred over the course of joint lesson planning and were observably linked to the activities involved in the VE project (i.e. OJCS-2), albeit in a non-linear way. By closely examining the shared social interactional histories of the PSTs that they made available in their last design-relevant interactions, we showed how experiential practices in a VE-based teacher education setting can be transformed into teacher knowledge in action. Therefore, the findings contributed to the existing research that reported the positive impact of VE practices in terms of experiential learning opportunities on language teacher development (Dooly & Sadler, Reference Dooly and Sadler2013; Fuchs et al., Reference Fuchs, Snyder, Tung and Han2017; Sadler & Dooly, Reference Sadler and Dooly2016). The webinar was framed as an OJCS by the teacher trainers and referred to as joint class and presentation by the PSTs. Therefore, we see that designing technology-rich teacher education environments promoting experiential learning opportunities is a complex undertaking insofar as teacher trainers should also consider the type of the activity as well as the contents of the activity because they might function as input for PSTs. The extent to which such input is operationalized becomes clearer when the PSTs use the input in their own practice. We demonstrated that the PSTs not only oriented to a specific activity in their shared experiential practice but also referred to the pedagogical objective of this particular event (i.e. input provision; Greer & Leyland, Reference Greer and Leyland2018). Overall, their retrospective orientations created interactional space for displays of pedagogical knowledge in action in the form of producing and negotiating lesson planning–related proposals (Extracts 1.1 and 1.2) and co-constructing and evaluating arguments regarding the timing and pedagogical focus of an activity (Extracts 2.1 and 2.2). Eventually, the retrospective orientations shaped the ongoing video-mediated interactions and led the entire group to a collaborative pedagogical decision. Relatedly, tracking these orientations across multiple social interactional teacher education activities using the methodological tools of multimodal CA enabled documenting the teacher learning opportunities afforded by VE.

To these ends, we argue that despite the complex organization of the teacher education activities, the methodological trackability (i.e. based on the participants’ past references to earlier activities, which were also available as data) helped show that teacher learning opportunities manifested themselves in non-linear ways, which can inform how expectancies for teacher professional development should be calibrated (Strom, Mills & Abrams, Reference Strom, Mills and Abrams2023). Relatedly, PSTs in their initial teacher education should be provided with these kinds of telecollaborative training cycles to gain more interactional, technological, pedagogical, and content knowledge development opportunities (Vinagre, Reference Vinagre2017). The PSTs’ problematizations of a design idea, sequencing activities in a lesson, collaborative decision-making processes, proposals of various creative ideas, and efforts to collaborate with peers in an online setting are some of the reportedly valuable and inherently reflective practices that contributed substantially to their professional development (Ekin & Balaman, Reference Ekin and Balaman2023; Kurek & Müller-Hartmann, Reference Kurek and Müller-Hartmann2017). However, these contributions did not naturally emerge immediately after the training activities but were identified when the PSTs operationalized them when deemed relevant, thus indicating non-linearity overall. Let us also note that, as acknowledged as a limitation for the study, we documented only one practice in particular. Other instances also arise in the larger dataset, demonstrating the affordances of active social participation in language teacher education activities for professional development.

Future research might investigate the shared experiential practices that were not referred to during the planning conversations to fully understand the situated perspectives of PSTs towards what makes some parts of the disciplinary knowledge more actionable than others. Teacher education activities enabling the collaboration of the PSTs with in-service teachers from diverse backgrounds in a technology-mediated setting (e.g. VEs) can also create rich teacher learning opportunities. The PSTs can establish links between disciplinary knowledge and actual practices in the field by engaging in reflective discussions with in-service teachers. We also anticipate that future research could bring further insights into collaborative writing while collaboratively planning. Lastly, we see great value in complementing lesson planning conversations (Morton & Gray, Reference Morton and Gray2010) and other design-oriented VE activities with an actual implementation stage. In so doing, PSTs would gain more reflective teacher learning opportunities by critically examining their own designs in practice (e.g. Badem-Korkmaz et al., Reference Badem-Korkmaz, Ekin and Balaman2022; Ekin et al., Reference Ekin, Balaman and Badem-Korkmaz2024).


This paper is based on the first author’s PhD dissertation (Ekin, Reference Ekin2023) at the Institute of Educational Sciences, Hacettepe University, Türkiye.

Ethical statement and competing interests

This research was conducted with the permission of the Hacettepe University Ethics Committee (E-51944218-300-00001480191 – 23.03.2021) in Ankara, Türkiye. All participants declared interest to voluntarily take part in the project and delivered written/signed informed consent forms. Anonymization and pseudonymization processes were involved in the analysis, presentation, and reporting of the data. The authors declare no competing interests.

About the authors

Semih Ekin is an assistant professor in the Department of English Language Education at TED University, Türkiye. His research areas are virtual exchanges, conversation analysis, language teacher education, and teacher professional development.

Ufuk Balaman is an associate professor of English Language Education at TED University, Türkiye. Using multimodal conversation analysis to examine video-mediated L2 interactions, his recent publications appeared in System, TESOL Quarterly, and Linguistics and Education. He is the author of the monograph Conversation Analytic Language Teacher Education in Digital Spaces.


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Figure 0

Figure 1. Procedural flow of the project.

Figure 1

Figure 2. NAT’s addition of presentation activity on the file.Note. The red arrow was added by the authors.

Figure 2

Figure 3. NAT’s addition of the presentation activity in the beginning of the 5th week’s plan.Note. The red arrow was added by the authors.

Figure 3

Figure 4. Addition of presentation as “A New Source of Input” into the lesson design.Note. The red arrow was added by the authors.