Reflection in teacher education

  • Published on
    28-Feb-2017

  • View
    213

  • Download
    1

Embed Size (px)

Transcript

  • This article was downloaded by: [Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona]On: 29 October 2014, At: 03:03Publisher: 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 educationEli Ottesen aa University of Oslo , NorwayPublished online: 19 Feb 2007.

    To cite this article: Eli Ottesen (2007) Reflection in teacher education, Reflective Practice:International and Multidisciplinary Perspectives, 8:1, 31-46, DOI: 10.1080/14623940601138899

    To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14623940601138899

    PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE

    Taylor & Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information (theContent) contained in the publications on our platform. However, Taylor & Francis,our agents, and our licensors make no representations or warranties whatsoever as tothe accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose of the Content. Any opinionsand views expressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors,and are not the views of or endorsed by Taylor & Francis. The accuracy of the Contentshould not be relied upon and should be independently verified with primary sourcesof information. Taylor and Francis shall not be liable for any losses, actions, claims,proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages, and other liabilities whatsoeveror howsoever caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with, in relation to orarising out of the use of the Content.

    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. Terms &Conditions of access and use can be found at http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditions

    http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/crep20http://www.tandfonline.com/action/showCitFormats?doi=10.1080/14623940601138899http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14623940601138899http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditionshttp://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditions

  • Reflective PracticeVol. 8, No. 1, February 2007, pp. 3146

    ISSN 1462-3943 (print)/ISSN 1470-1103 (online)/07/01003116 2007 Taylor & FrancisDOI: 10.1080/14623940601138899

    Reflection in teacher educationEli Ottesen*University of Oslo, NorwayTaylor and Francis LtdCREP_A_213820.sgm10.1080/14623940601138899Reflective Practice1462-3943 (print)/1470-1103 (online)Original Article2007Taylor & Francis81000000February 2007EliOtteseneli.ottesen@ils.uio.no

    The concepts reflection or reflective practice are entrenched in the literature and discourses ofteacher education and teachers professional development. The concept is rather vague, althoughSchns notion of the reflective practitioner seems to be at the core of several understandings. Inthis paper, conversations between student teachers and their mentors during internship are analysedto explore how they reflect and what they seem to accomplish through reflection. Building on socio-cultural theory, reflection is constituted as collaborative communicative action through which anobject of reflection is constructed and expanded by the participants. By introducing the notionmode of reflection, the relationship between reflective action and the motive of the activity areexplored. In this paper, three modes of reflection during internship in teacher education arediscerned and discussed: (1) reflection as induction to warranted ways of seeing, thinking andacting; (2) reflection as concept development; (3) reflection as off-line or imagined practices.

    Introduction: perspectives on reflection

    The notions reflection, reflective practice, and reflective practitioners abound inthe literature on teacher education and teachers professional development (seeLoughran, 2002; Rodgers, 2002; Birmingham, 2004; Admiraal & Wubbels, 2005),and reflection has been advanced as an ideal in numerous teacher educationprograms. In the Norwegian context, the endorsement of reflection in teacher educa-tion is authorized as a key objective in the General Principles for Teacher Education(UFD, 2003, p. 14). Despite its apparent ubiquity in research conducted andreported, the term reflection remains problematic encompassing a range of theoreti-cal and practical approaches. Schns work (1983, 1987) is often considered a water-shed, initiating what has been labeled the reflective turn (Schn, 1991). However,the seminal impact of Dewey (1910/1997) and Van Manen (1977, 1991) has stronglyinfluenced the development of a variety of understandings and perspectives on reflec-tion in education (see among others Calderhead, 1987; Zeichner, 1987; Grimmet &Erickson, 1988; Zeichner & Tabachnick, 1991; Russell & Munby, 1992; Valli, 1992;

    *University of Oslo, Department of Teacher Education and School Development, PO Box 1099Blindern, N-0317 Oslo, Norway. Email: eli.ottesen@ils.uio.no

    Dow

    nloa

    ded

    by [

    Uni

    vers

    idad

    Aut

    onom

    a de

    Bar

    celo

    na]

    at 0

    3:03

    29

    Oct

    ober

    201

    4

  • 32 E. Ottesen

    Korthagen, 2001). The ideals or purposes of reflection in education are as manifoldas the term itself: development of self-monitoring teachers, teachers as experimenters,teachers as researchers, teachers as inquirers, teachers as activists, to mention but afew (cf. Tom, 1985; Cornford, 2002). It is not always clear whether reflection isconceptualized as an exclusively cognitive activity (as a special case of thinking,pondering, etc), or what exactly constitutes its relationship to ongoing, past or futureevents (but see Clandinin & Connelly, 1991). Across the diversity of perspectives andpositions, reflection is generally assumed to promote understanding and insight andto have transformation or empowerment as its purpose or effect; however, thisassumption is disputed (cf. Cornford, 2002).

    In a sociocultural perspective, actions are understood to be embedded in andemerging from peoples engagement in social activities. In the study presented here,reflective conversations1 between student teachers and mentors during internship areanalysed. I have found it useful to make a distinction between reflection as an objec-tive in teacher education and reflection as a discursive tool mediating learning. Forexample, numerous teacher education practices are designed to develop studentteachers as reflective practitioners (cf. Zeichner, 1994; Korthagen, 2001; Admiraal &Wubbels, 2005); reflective teachers are outcomes of learning processes during teachereducation. In contrast, the focus of this paper is on student teachers and mentorsemployment of reflection in communicative action as a culturally constituted tool inprocesses of meaning-making. Thus, I want to investigate how student teachers andmentors reflect in discussions during internship, and what they accomplish togetherwhen they reflect.

    Below I will advance a view on reflection based on sociocultural and activity-theoretical perspectives on human activity (Vygotsky, 1986; Leontev, 1978), recog-nizing reflection as action embedded in societal activities, i.e., as processes involvingstudent teachers and mentors in sociocultural contexts. I will argue that the mode ofreflection, that is, the direction it takes and the cultural resources employed, emergesin action, contingent on what is construed as the purpose or goal of the activity.Through the analysis of empirical evidence from discussions between studentteachers and mentors during internship, three such modes of reflection emerged: (1)reflection as induction to warranted ways of seeing, thinking and acting; (2) reflectionas concept development; (3) reflection as off-line or imagined practices. These arefurther explored below.

    Making sense of reflection

    Reflecting, reflecting, reflecting. I think all the time, dont I? I mean, its not like I dontthink. What is it with this reflection thing that makes it so important? (Stein, studentteacher)

    Steins outburst above stems from a discussion among student teachers in peercollaboration during internship. The students are discussing a case assignment,2 andStein has been confronted for not going about it in a reflective way. His comment ispertinent; obviously, in some sense he is thinking all the time, and such thinking is

    Dow

    nloa

    ded

    by [

    Uni

    vers

    idad

    Aut

    onom

    a de

    Bar

    celo

    na]

    at 0

    3:03

    29

    Oct

    ober

    201

    4

  • Reflection in teacher education 33

    connected to his participation in teaching and learning. It makes perfect sense to askwhat this reflection thing is, and why and how it is an important issue in teachereducation. In fact, a number of research papers pose similar questions (seeCalderhead, 1989; Zeichner, 1994; Korthagen, 2001; Loughran, 2002; Birmingham,2004). As Rodgers (2002) points out, a number of problems emerge in the practiceand research on teacher education from this confusion about the meaning of reflec-tion, for instance: What kind of thoughts qualify as reflection? How can reflection beassessed? How can it be talked about? How can it be researched to determine its effecton student teachers learning?

    When reflection is seen as embedded in and emerging from activity, it follows thatboth as individual and collective action it is always social. Since it is always repre-sented in the language of social practices and inscribed with warranted repertoires foraction (cf. Wartofsky, 1979), reflections are not copies of the world to be ponderedupon in individual minds. To clarify the notion of reflection in teacher education, adistinction needs to be made between reflecting and thinking. The notion of the objectof the activity (Leontev, 1978; Miettinen, 2005; Stetsenko, 2005) is helpful inmaking this distinction.

    The constituting characteristic of an activity is its object-orientedness.3 Accordingto Leontev (1978, p. 52), the object is doubly constituted in activity: as the object tobe transformed or produced in the activity, and as its representations in individualminds. By acting in the world, subjects incorporate relations into the object of theiractivity, thereby reconstructing the object as an entity in the world and as a socialrepresentation (Wartofsky, 1979). The objects so constructed give direction andgenerate meaning and intention; goal-directed actions constitute the empirical real-izations of activity (Leontev, 1978, p. 63). It is this sense of purposeful object-oriented action that distinguishes reflection from mere thinking. During internship,aspects of student teachers and mentors experiences can be seen as troublesome,arduous or perplexing, prompting the construction of objects of reflection. Reflectiveaction is the transformation of such objects through the consideration of availablecultural resources. As a situated configuration of the historical dialogue betweenalternative representations generated in activity (Wartofsky, 1979), any object ofreflection is ambiguous and contested. In reflective dialogues, the student teachersand mentors representations are turned outwards and possibly augmented in theinterplay with alternative representations. While the motive is connected to the activ-ity (learning to teach), the directions taken in reflective actions correspond to thegoal, understood as the empirical instantiation of the object in particular actions (i.e.,learning how to perform particular operations in teaching or expanding conceptualunderstanding).

    Above, I have detailed how reflection can be understood as both deeply ingrainedin and motivated by the activities of which it is a part, and as actions directed by situ-ated goals and purposes. Proper reflection is often described as a tool for connectingexperience and theory frequently postulating a need for advancement to higher levelsof theorizing (cf. Zeichner, 1994; Rosenstein, 2002). In an activity-oriented approachthe horizons of possible actions (Engestrm, 1994, p. 48) are defined in the activity.

    Dow

    nloa

    ded

    by [

    Uni

    vers

    idad

    Aut

    onom

    a de

    Bar

    celo

    na]

    at 0

    3:03

    29

    Oct

    ober

    201

    4

  • 34 E. Ottesen

    For student teachers in internship the centre of attention is primarily on what to teachand how to teach it (Edwards, 1995; Sundli, 2001; Snden, 2002). Through thecareful guidance of experienced teachers acting as mentors, student teachers areencouraged to make note of certain aspects of their practice and to act on theseaspects in certain ways. Through collaborative reflection on certain aspects of theactivity, horizons of alternative actions are made transparent to the student teachers.

    Sometimes the students and mentors engage in a mode of reflection in which theobject, though suggested by the situation at hand, is of a more principled character,such as: How can we know that pupils learn? How could the needs of all pupils beattended to? Such issues cannot (without great risk of forming misconceptions) beresolved by reflecting on alternative or accountable actions in specific classrooms.The goal directing reflection is changed from knowing how to teach to understandingteaching. The outcome of reflective actions is conceptual development, a generaliza-tion of knowledge as tools for future problem solving within the domain. Understand-ing emerges at the intersection of scholarly knowledge and practical experience. Whathas been taught is recontextualized in practical actions, while at the same time,practical experiences mediate new understanding of what is taught. However, suchdevelopment is contingent on a deliberate expansion of concepts; the fossilized formof concepts (Wardekker, 1998) conceals the dialogic qualities which led to theirdevelopment in the first place. Such conscious and systematic development ofconcepts could be a vital aspect of reflection in teacher education, in that it allows forScientific concepts [to] restructure and raise spontaneous concepts to a higher level(Vygotsky, 1987, p. 220). Concepts mediate student teachers understanding of prac-tical experiences, while at the same time, the meaning of the concepts are developed.

    As actions of the mind, reflection is not confined in time, space and purpose.Though objects of reflection often emerge from problems in the real world, and theprocess of reflection often is teleological in the sense of aiming to resolve such prob-lems, this is not so by necessity. Objects of reflection may be imaginary constructs, asin art or play; they need not make sense as it were. The possibility of creating atemporary disconnection from the real allows for low-risk imaginary enactment ofpractices or understandings. Constraining aspects pertaining to the practice of teach-ing may be bracketed and alternative worlds with different canons of representationbrought forward, thus possibly affording divergent actions and understandings (cf.Wartofsky, 1979). Such imaginative practic...

Recommended

View more >