Reflection in teacher education: exploring pre‐service teachers’ meanings of reflective practice

  • Published on
    03-Dec-2016

  • View
    213

  • Download
    0

Embed Size (px)

Transcript

  • This article was downloaded by: [University of Glasgow]On: 16 March 2013, At: 05:31Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registeredoffice: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK

    Reflective Practice: International andMultidisciplinary PerspectivesPublication details, including instructions for authors andsubscription information:http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/crep20

    Reflection in teacher education:exploring preservice teachersmeanings of reflective practiceJoan Y. Pedroa University of Hartford, USAVersion of record first published: 20 Sep 2011.

    To cite this article: Joan Y. Pedro (2005): Reflection in teacher education: exploring preserviceteachers meanings of reflective practice, Reflective Practice: International and MultidisciplinaryPerspectives, 6:1, 49-66

    To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1462394042000326860

    PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE

    Full terms and conditions of use: http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditions

    This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Anysubstantial or systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing,systematic supply, or distribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden.

    The publisher does not give any warranty express or implied or make any representationthat the contents will be complete or accurate or up to date. The accuracy of anyinstructions, formulae, and drug doses should be independently verified with primarysources. The publisher shall not be liable for any loss, actions, claims, proceedings,demand, or costs or damages whatsoever or howsoever caused arising directly orindirectly in connection with or arising out of the use of this material.

  • Reflective PracticeVol. 6, No. 1, February 2005, pp. 4966

    ISSN 1462-3943 (print)/ISSN 1470-1103 (online)/05/01004918 2005 Taylor & Francis Group LtdDOI: 10.1080/1462394042000326860

    Reflection in teacher education: exploring pre-service teachers meanings of reflective practiceJoan Y. Pedro*University of Hartford, USATaylor and Francis LtdCREP6104.sgm10.1080/1462394042000326860Reflective Practice1462-3943 (print)/1470-1103 (online)Original Article2005Taylor & Francis Ltd61000000February 2005JoanY.PedroUniversity of HartfordDivision of Education200 Bloomfield AvenueWest HartfordCT 06117USPedro@hartford.eduUSA

    Reflective practice in teacher education is one reform effort that has taken hold in the educationcommunity. This article shares some of the findings of a qualitative interpretive study that exploredhow five pre-service teachers constructed meanings of reflective practice, and how these meaningsinformed their practice. The purpose of this study was to better understand reflective practice inteacher preparation. The theoretical framework originates in the works of Dewey and Schn, andapplies a symbolic interaction theoretical and analytical framework to give voice to the pre-serviceteachers within the historical and institutional contexts of a teacher preparation program. Ninethemes were culled from the data and categorized within the symbolic interaction social processesof acquiring perspective, achieving individuality, and situating the act of reflection. These themeshighlighted how the pre-service teachers interpreted and practiced reflection in this teacher prepa-ration program. The findings suggest that these pre-service teachers had a general understanding ofreflection and learned to reflect through various opportunities, and in different contexts. This studyhas implications for the ways in which pre-service teachers learn about reflection, raises questionsabout innovative writing practices in reflection and is insightful for teacher educators who preparepre-service teachers to become reflective practitioners.

    Introduction

    The reflective practice paradigm in teacher education is one reform effort that hastaken hold in the education community (Zeichner & Liston, 1987; Valli, 1992).During the 1980s reflective practice became a popular concept in the United States(Tabachnick & Zeichner, 1991; Valli 1992), and it continues today as a noteworthyreform effort. In the name of reflection, many teacher education programs have incor-porated strategies to encourage pre-service teachers to think critically about theirpractice. Proponents cite many benefits of reflective approaches to teacher education.

    *Division of Education, 200 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford, CT 06117, USA. Email:Pedro@hartford.edu

    Dow

    nloa

    ded

    by [U

    nivers

    ity of

    Glas

    gow]

    at 05

    :31 16

    Marc

    h 201

    3

  • 50 J. Y. Pedro

    Some see it as the vehicle for getting the new cadre of teachers involved as active part-ners in school renewal (Zeichner & Liston, 1987; Valli, 1992). Reflection, they say,helps teachers understand and have control over the content and processes of theirown work (Zeichner & Liston, 1987, p. 26), and it develops the teacher as a decision-maker, who can help to define the direction of schooling (Zeichner & Liston, 1987;Valli, 1992).

    My interest and understanding of reflective practice was heightened because ofmy involvement in a teacher preparation program that encourages reflection.Moving from a traditional teacher preparation in another country to become amentor in an initial teacher preparation program in the United States that focusedon encouraging reflective approaches spurred my interest in the reflective practiceapproach in teacher education. Additionally, I developed a growing skepticism ofthe social efficiency tradition of teaching and learning that I had embraced for manyyears in my career as teacher and teacher educator. Previously my concern was todevelop teachers with skills and competencies which research has shown to be asso-ciated with desirable pupil outcomes (Zeichner, 1992, p. 164). Although I believedthat this approach has served to produce effective teachers efficient in basic teachingskills, I acknowledged the reflective practice paradigm as another way to help teach-ers learn how to accommodate the diverse needs of their students.

    Through the review of the literature on reflective practice, and mentoring of pre-service teachers, many questions about reflective practice surfaced. I believed thatlooking at reflection through the eyes of the pre-service teachers would greatly add tomy understanding of reflective practice. I felt that the insights gained from such aprocess would allow me to more ably assist pre-service teachers to get a strong starton their practice. The main goal of this study was to discover how pre-service teachersunderstand and interpret reflective practice. This study was guided by three mainresearch questions, (a) how do the pre-service teachers perceive and understand theconcept of reflection? (b) how do the pre-service teachers describe how they learn toreflect on their practice? and (c) in what context did the pre-service teachers engagein reflection?

    Links to the literature

    A great deal of research has been devoted to the conceptual analysis of the popularslogan reflective practice in teacher education (Zeichner, 1999, p. 10). Dewey(1933) has been acknowledged as a key originator in the twentieth century of theconcept of reflective practice (Hatton & Smith, 1995, p. 2). He reasoned that reflec-tion precedes intelligent action and is the act of active, persistent and careful consid-eration of any belief or supposed form of knowledge in the light of grounds thatsupport it, and the consequence to which it leads (Dewey, 1933). Reflective thinkingin Deweys view generally addresses practical problems, allowing for doubt andperplexity before possible solutions are reached (Hatton & Smith, 1995, p. 2).

    Emanating from Deweys work are key issues that have guided the interpretationand broadening of the concept of reflective practice. The first issue involves thinking

    Dow

    nloa

    ded

    by [U

    nivers

    ity of

    Glas

    gow]

    at 05

    :31 16

    Marc

    h 201

    3

  • Reflection in teacher education 51

    about action, the second involves the time frame in which reflection takes place, thethird has to do with whether reflection is by its very nature problem-centered or not,and the fourth issue deals with whether reflection takes into account the widerhistoric, cultural and political values and beliefs (Hatton & Smith, 1995. p. 4). Theseissues have spurned many debates and evolved contemporary models of reflectionadding to the puzzlement and varied use of reflection in teacher education.

    Schn (1983, 1987) introduced the dimension of the time frames in which reflec-tion takes place and linked reflection to action. He suggested that reflection is apurposeful, systematic inquiry into practice (1983), and emphasized that profession-als should learn to frame and reframe problems they face, test out various interpreta-tions, and modify their results (Hatton & Smith, 1995, p. 3). Other models ofreflection (Killen, 1989; Pugach 1990; Smith & Lovatt, 1991) have also consideredvarying time frames in which reflection takes place in order to make changes to behav-ior (Hatton & Smith, 1995).

    In a critique of the various models of reflection, Liston and Zeichner (1990)suggested that few of these conceptual approaches identify meaningful criteria fordiscerning what counts as good reasons for educational actions(p. 236). They arguethat teacher education ought to aim directly at developing teachers who are able toarticulate their purposes and can be counted on for giving good reasons for theiraction(p. 236). These researchers imply that underlying the orientation of reflectivepractice is the concept of liberation, which allows the teacher to exercise their judg-ment on the content and processes of their work (Zeichner & Liston, 1987, p. 24).

    There is also the argument that teacher education should be concerned with issuesof equity and justice through critical reflection (Smyth, 1989; Gore & Zeichner,1991). Zeichner and Liston (1996) argued that in the social reconstructionist tradi-tion, reflection is viewed as a political act that either contributes towards or hindersthe realization of a more just and humane society (p. 59). In this tradition, teachersare expected to think critically about the social order and use reflection to addressmoral and social aspects of teaching, and as such deliberate on issues that help themexamine equity and social justice (p. 60).

    The use of reflection in teacher preparation programs seems to hold promise forchallenging the traditional/ behaviorist views of teacher preparation that some believehave continually obstructed attempts at educational reform (Bryan, 2000). Thesewriters are often critical of the social efficiency tradition in teacher education which,they say, fail to emphasize a concern for reflection about the institutional, cultural andpolitical contexts of schooling (Zeichner & Liston, 1996, p. 53). It has been arguedthat behaviorism encourages a reductive approach to educating teachers oftenfocusing on sets of indicators while ignoring the artistic and moral dimensions thatare essential to teaching (Tom, 1987; Noddings, 1988). The understandings andexperiences of the pre-service teachers in this study were explored against the back-drop of these orientations and views and form a theoretical framework for this study.

    An interest in viewing the participants construction of meanings of reflective prac-tice led to the theory of symbolic interaction. This theory deals directly with issuessuch as language, communication and their interrelationships (Merriam, 1988), and

    Dow

    nloa

    ded

    by [U

    nivers

    ity of

    Glas

    gow]

    at 05

    :31 16

    Marc

    h 201

    3

  • 52 J. Y. Pedro

    perpetuates the notion of being able to put oneself in the place of others. A symbolicinteraction theoretical and analytical framework was used to develop a clearer under-standing of how the pre-service teachers interpreted what they learned about reflec-tive practice and how they used it. I utilized the generic social processes, acquiringperspectives, achieving individuality and situating the act (Prus, 1996) to highlightthe emergent and interpretive themes of the pre-service teachers association ofreflective practice. Prus (1996) suggests the use of generic social processes as aheuristic device for envisioning the process of lived experiences in a more concertedmanner.

    Methodology

    Participants in the study

    The participants in the study were drawn from a graduate teacher preparationprogram and ranged in age, from 22 to 42 years. They were purposely selected(Cresswell, 1994) to reflect differences in the grade levels they taught, their place-ment schools, gender and ethnicity. A maximum variation strategy (Miles &Huberman, 1994) was used to select participants who represented diverse or multi-ple perspectives, but also identified common patterns.

    The participants were assured confidentiality and assigned pseudonyms. Barbara isa white female in her forties. Lisa is twenty-two years old and is the only African-American student in the program. Jason is a white male. He is 23 years old, and is oneof two males in the program. Maria, of Hispanic origin, is another of the maturestudents in the program. Paulette is a 22-year-old white female. She is one of theyounger pre-service teachers in the program.

    Data collection

    This is a qualitative study in a descriptive and interpretive design. The interpreta-tions of the pre-service teachers conceptions and understandings of reflectivepractice were captured through the transcription and analysis of three individualin-depth interviews, as recommended by Seidman (1998), and through the exami-nation of the pre-service teachers reflection journals. Participant-observations ofthe final teaching practice were recorded in field notes and served to verify the pre-service teachers responses. These field notes served to check descriptions againstfacts and note discrepancies (Stake, 1995). Participant observations gave me aninsider perspective of the phenomena under study. Yin (1994) states that observa-tional evidence is often useful in providing additional information about the topicbeing studied. The pre-service teachers were interviewed upon the completion ofthe final teaching practice and submission of their ten-week reflection journals.Data collection was conducted over the period of three semesters to enable me tocollect data from the five pre-service teachers in the program, analyze and write thenarratives.

    Dow

    nloa

    ded

    by [U

    nivers

    ity of

    Glas

    gow]

    at 05

    :31 16

    Marc

    h 201

    3

  • Reflection in teacher education 53

    Interviews. The qualitative interviews were the main source of my data collectionand took on a conversational aspect that covered open-ended questions. Responsesto open-ended questions demonstrated the pre-service teachers unique way of look-ing at the world and their definitions of the situations (Silverman, 1993). I also usedfollow-up questions for clarification and to capture the unfolding of their perspec-tives (Rossman & Rallis, 1998). Each interview was one hour long, a...

Recommended

View more >