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The Reflective Framework for Teaching in PhysicalEducation: A Pedagogical ToolStarla McCollum aa Department of Health & Kinesiology , Georgia Southern University , Statesboro , GA ,30460Published online: 24 Feb 2013.
To cite this article: Starla McCollum (2002) The Reflective Framework for Teaching in Physical Education: A Pedagogical Tool,Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, 73:6, 39-42, DOI: 10.1080/07303084.2002.10607827
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/07303084.2002.10607827
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The Reflective Frameworkfor Teaching in Physical Education
A Pedagogical Tool
Preparing teachers to becomereflective practitioners, as wellas to become proficient in thetechnical skills of teaching, is increas-ingly the focus of many teacher edu-cation programs (Goodman, 1991;Valli, 1992). The development of re-flection is advocated in the NationalStandards for Beginning Physical Edu-cation Teachers (National Associationfor Sport and Physical Education[NASPE], 1995) in standard eight,which suggests that the teacher be-come a reflective practitioner who isable to evaluate the effects of his orher actions on others. In addition, abeginning physical educator shouldhave knowledge of "a variety of self-assessment and problem-solving strat-egies for reflecting on practice and itsinfluences on learning" (NASPE, p.16). The NASPE/NCATE Guidelinesfor TeacherPreparation in Physical Edu-cation further supports the develop-ment and facilitation of reflectivethought by challenging PETE pro-grams to prepare prospective teach-ers to consistently demonstrate useof a reflective cycle by describing,justifying, and critiquing teachingperformances; to set personal teach-ing goals; and to implement changein the teaching/learning environment(NASPE,2001).
A variety of pedagogical strategiescan be used to enhance preserviceteachers' (PTs') reflectivity. They in-clude the use of metaphors (Carlson,
August 2002 JOPERD Vol. 73 No.6
2001), student-created case studies(Wilson & Williams, 2001), and re-flectivejournaling (Van Manen, 1990).Systematic observation, role simula-tions, debates, and action research areadditional pedagogical strategies thatcan stimulate reflection. If teachereducators expect PTs to be reflectiveteachers who ask questions, are opento new ideas, and challenge traditionalpractices when they become inserviceteachers, then strategies to extendthinking and connect theory to prac-tice during professional preparationmust continuously be developed. Thepurpose of this article is to describeand illustrate how the "ReflectiveFramework for Teaching in PhysicalEducation" (RFTPE; Tsangaridou &O'Sullivan, 1994) can be used as apedagogical tool to facilitate reflec-tion and connect theory to practiceduring field experiences. It also in-cludes potential advantages of usingthe RFTPE, comments from PTs, andhints for facilitating reflection.
Connecting Theoryto PracticeEducators have long been concernedwith the separation between theory-based knowledge and practice inschool settings (Armaline & Hoover,1989; Bain, 1984; Zeichner, 1986).Linking knowledge to action is a criti-cal component of inquiry and reflec-tive practice in field experiences(Zeichner, 1981). It is especially im-
portant to facilitate reflection duringclasses that contain field componentsbecause these experiences allow PTsto compare and contrast theoreticalperspectives learned at universitieswith their personal conceptions ofteaching physical education in "realworld" settings. Dodds (1989) suggests:
Continuous practice in making con-scious choices about teaching andin reflecting about the consequencesofsuch choices enriches the impactof field experiences and gives train-ees enhanced opportunities to be-come students of their own teach-ing-the ultimate goal of effectiveteacher-training programs. (p. 101)
Although preservice and inserviceteachers acclaim field experiences asthe most valuable part of the under-graduate teacher-preparation program(Bell, Barrett, & Allison, 1985; Dodds,1985, 1989; Locke, 1984), it is oftendifficult for university supervisors toprovide close supervision and to cap-ture those trial and error incidentsthat can be valuable learning experi-ences for the PT. The RFTPE can beemployed as a guide to reflectivejournaling to shed light on thosemeaningful moments.
Reflective Frameworkfor Teaching in PhysicalEducationThe RFTPE was conceptualized anddeveloped after reviewing the litera-
ture on reflective teaching (Tsan-garidou & O'Sullivan, 1994). Thereflective process was divided intothree categories of focus: technical,situational, and sensitizing. Instruc-tional or managerial aspects of teach-ing are considered technical; contex-tual issues of teaching are character-ized as situational reflection; and sensi-tizing reflection concerns the social,moral, ethical, or political aspects ofteaching. The model also involvesthree levels of reflection. The descrip-tive level includes descriptive informa-tion about an action; justification fo-cuses on the logic or rationale of anaction; and the critique explains andevaluates an action (Tsangaridou &O'Sullivan, 1994).
Using the RFTPEas a Pedagogical ToolEach category in the RFIPE (techni-cal, situational, and sensitizing) has adifferent focus. The technical reflec-tions focus on the application of ef-fective teaching skills that usually havebeen learned in classes on teachingskills, instructional design, or meth-ods (Graham, 2001; Rink, 2002;Siedentop & Tannehill, 2000). Situ-ational reflections occur as a result ofwhat happens in the teaching/learn-ing environment. More specifically, thetriggering events are meaningful andunexpected, and they create the needfor decision making that may go be-yond the PT's original lesson plan.Sensitizing reflections deal with issuesrelated to the social construction ofthe physical education class (e.g., eq-uity in gender, race, or ability levels),moral values, and political (power,authority, and control) aspects ofteaching. These three foci of reflec-tion permit PETE faculty to presentteaching from multiple perspectives.
After presenting teaching as a com-plex phenomenon with many mean-ingful events providing topics for re-flective writing, it is helpful to havePTs brainstorm in groups, listing andposting examples of events from eachcategory offocus. Once PTs begin thereflective assignment during the fieldexperience, PETE faculty can decide
whether or not to categorize the focusofmeaningful events as technical, situ-ational, or sensitizing. Categorizationof events may depend on PETE pro-grammatic goals or the objectives of aparticular field experience. However,it should be noted that:
The three foci of reflection-tech-nical, situational, and sensitizing-ought not to be in hierarchical or-der, nor should their values be con-trasted. All three foci are importantand interconnected and ought tobe part of the reflective dimensionsof undergraduates during all fieldexperiences. (Tsangaridou &O'Sullivan, 1994, p. 26)
The three levels of reflection in theRFIPE (description,justification, andcritique) are used to facilitate depthand quality in PTs' reflective analysis.They also provide an instructional for-mat for PTs to use when writing abouta meaningful event. Such an eventcan be anything that creates excite-ment or frustration, challenges or re-inforces beliefs, or extends thinking.These events can occur during obser-vation, assisting, or teaching episodes.The PTs are asked to provide the fol-lowing information for each mean-ingful event:
Description: Describe the eventin detail. What happened? What didyou do, and what did the student(s)do?
Justification: Provide the logic orrationale for your actions. Why wasthis event important or significant?Why did you react the way you did?
Critique: Evaluate what you did.How do you feel about what you did?What did you learn from this event?How do you plan to follow up regard-ing this event?
The examples in table 1 illustratethe nature (focus and level) of PTs'reflection on teaching.
Why Use the RFTPE?There are several reasons why usingthe RFIPE is advantageous in facili-tating PTs' reflective analysis:
The RFIPE provides a specificformat for instructing or guiding re-
flective writing. It helps to clarify whatis significant to the PT and to facili-tate depth in the PT's reflective ana-lysis. Extending thinking to reflectbeyond the "what I did" to "why I didit" allows for growth in future deci-sion-making skills (Dewey, 1916/1944). When PTs are asked to reflectwithout clear instructions, they oftensubmit a lengthy paragraph thatmerely describes the general teachingenvironment, lesson, or some aspectof the lesson.
The RFIPE can be used for avariety of reflective assignments: peerobservations, supervising teacher ob-servations, videotape analysis, analysisof teaching episodes, student-teach-ing listserv postings, and analysis ofpost-lesson conferences.
Utilizing the RFIPE with variousreflective assignments in early fieldexperiences as well as in student teach-ing allows PETE faculty to monitorprogress in the nature of the PT's re-flection. Insight into the developmentof the PT's professional knowledgeand growth can be gained by askingquestions such as: (1) Can the PT con-nect theory to practice by transfer-ring knowledge from university classesto the school setting? (2) Can the PTgo beyond issues of classroom man-agement to aspects of student learn-ing, such as ability levels and equity?(3) Can the PT progress in the reflec-tive cycle to describing, justifying, andcritiquing meaningful events?
What PTs SayConsidering prospective teachers'views on reflective assignments canlend insight into what is significantand beneficial for professional growthin learning to teach. Therefore, PTswho had used the RFIPE as a guide toreflective writing for an entire semes-ter during an early field experiencewere asked to share their views. Theymade the following comments duringan interview after the field experiencewas completed:
"If we didn't use the framework[RFIPE] to reflect, it would just bemore general and it would be moretechnical than anything else."
Vol. 73 No.6. JOPERD August 2002
Table 1. Examples of the RFTPE
ConclusionEducating PTs to apply theory inteaching settings, generate their ownknowledge, and act upon that knowl-edge is no doubt a challenging pro-cess. 1 have found the RFTPE to be aneffective pedagogical tool in provid-ing opportunities for connectingtheory to practice, enhancing thelevel/depth of PTs' reflective think-ing, and broadening the scope of re-flection to multiple aspects of teach-ing. Such experiences can lend in-sight into the ways PTs think and con-sequently act when teaching physicaleducation classes.
Use a variety of reflective assign-ments and instructional strategies toextend PTs' thinking.
Connect reflection to experience(theory to practice). We cannot ex-pect PTs to automatically transferknowledge from university classes tothe school setting.
Allow class time for processingand discussing PTs' conceptions ofteaching.
Expect resistance to becoming re-flective. Some PTs want to be told whatto do, and they want to receive knowl-edge rather than being responsiblefor generating their own knowledge.
Description: "I told the first graders to get four feet apart from theirpartner. Nobody moved. So, I said it again and nobody moved. They justlooked at me."
Description: "I have two girls in my second period class who are deaf.They are not totally deaf, but they do use an interpreter. This week theybrought in a headset for me to wear while I was teaching because they wearhearing aids. When I was teaching I would constantly check to make surethey could hear me."
Justification: "This allows me to communicate with every student inthe class and allows the student to participate with the other students.Now, when 1 ask questions in class they are able to answer questionswithout going through the interpreter."
Critique: "I learned that there are ways to accommodate students withdifferent needs. You just have to think and use your resources. I hopethis technology keeps getting better so that all students have the sameopportunity to participate in any classroom setting."
Justification: "At first I panicked, but then I realized that 1 was talkingover their head. I thought for a second and then told them to take four giantsteps back from their partner. This was important because I couldn't getthem organized like I needed to."
Critique: "They understood four giant steps, but not four feet. In thefuture, 1 need try to use language they can understand."
Description: "I introduced a protocol at the beginning of class today. I toldthe students that when I say, 'stop,' I want them to sit down and put the ballin their lap."
Justification: "I did this because I wa...