Conceptualizing Reflection in Teacher Development

Conceptualizing Reflection in Teacher Development

Conceptualizing Reflection in Teacher Development

Conceptualizing Reflection in Teacher Development

Synopsis

Reflection has become widely recognized as a crucial element in the professional growth of teachers. Terms such as reflective teaching enquiry-orientated teacher education, teachers as researchers and reflective practitioner have become quite prolific in discussions of classroom practice and professional development. It is frequently presumed that reflection is an intrinsically good and desirable aspect of teaching and teacher education and that teachers, in becoming more reflective, will in some sense be better teachers, though such claims have been rarely subject to detailed scrutiny.

Excerpt

James Calderhead and Peter Gates

Reflection has come to be widely recognized as a crucial element in the professional growth of teachers. Terms such as 'reflective teaching', 'inquiry-oriented teacher education', 'teacher as researcher' and 'reflective practitioner' have become quite prolific in discussions of classroom practice and professional development. It is frequently presumed that reflection is an intrinsically good and desirable aspect of teaching and teacher education, and that teachers, in becoming more reflective, will in some sense be better teachers, though such claims have rarely been subjected to detailed scrutiny.

Reflective terminology, however, is being used in various ways, and is informed by diverse theoretical frameworks. The work of John Dewey (1933) has been particularly influential. His distinction between action based on reflection and action that is impulsive or blind, and his emphasis on the need to develop certain attitudes of open-mindedness and skills of thinking and reasoning in order to reflect have shaped the way that many researchers and teacher educators have thought about reflective teaching. Donald Schön (1983) has also been influential with the notion of reflection-in-action-the idea that professionals engage in reflective conversations with practical situations, where they constantly frame and reframe a problem as they work on it, testing out their interpretations and solutions. Experiential learning and work in adult learning, drawing upon the work of Kolb (1984) for example, has had some influence. Critical theory, including the work of Carr and Kemmis (1986), has stimulated considerable thought about the importance of increasing teachers' awareness of the causes and consequences of their action through research on their own situation.

The current enthusiasm for reflective teaching may be partly explained in terms of an attempt to understand more fully what is distinctive about teachers' professional development and to come to terms with its complex-ity. It might also be partly explained in terms of a reaction against current trends in many Western countries towards an increasing centralization in the control of education. At a time when teachers are increasingly being portrayed in educational policy as technicians or deliverers of the

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.