Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

The Effect of Reflective Teaching on the Intrinsic Motivation and Critical Thinking of Iranian Efl Learners across Age Groups

Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

The Effect of Reflective Teaching on the Intrinsic Motivation and Critical Thinking of Iranian Efl Learners across Age Groups

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

Reflective teaching has been included in the studies on teacher education in general and English language teaching in particular as an important means which teachers use to understand the complexity of the English language as well as the social conditions affecting such learning and teaching. The literature on reflection has indicated three different forms/levels of 'reflection-on-action' (Schon, 1983).They are describing and reporting events and providing reasons or justifications for their occurrence and consequently seeking the best practice. According to Rezaeyan (2013, P.9):

One of the main assumptions of initial research on teacher thinking was the recognition that teaching shares many aspects of other professions. According to this view, teachers have a body of specialized knowledge acquired through training and experience, they are goal-oriented, they make judgments and decisions when faced with complex and ambiguous information, and they construct knowledge through repeated practice and reflection on that practice.

Moreover, Sze (1999, p. 147) argues that: "despite the popularity of reflective teaching, there are many questions which have been left unanswered. For teacher educators, the most immediate question is probably whether reflective teaching is an effective pedagogy of teacher education".

The emphasis of the new approaches to teaching on personality factors (Kramsch, 2001) like motivation and factors enhancing the critical thinking level of the learners as one of the main cognitive abilities has been asserted by educational experts (Fisher, 2001). Many teachers often experience the problem concerning students' tendency to copy the information without further elaboration; the problem possibly comes as the result of spoon-feeding methods employed in many traditional classrooms (Stapleton, 2001), consequently learners do not consider the proper effect of critical thinking in their learning. Also, language teachers spend most of their time teaching language but do not prepare students for lifelong learning. As Kabilan (2000) believes for learners to be proficient in a language, they need to be able to think critically and creatively.

Quite recently, the field of teaching in general and language teaching in particular have been subject to newly evolved theories of learning. As Akbari (2005), Kumaravadivelu (2001) and Pica (2000) assert, language teaching, learning and teacher education have recently witnessed a great amount of change. Crandall (2000) contends that, this change has been more of "a shift from transmission, product-oriented theories to constructivist, and process-oriented theories of learning, teaching, and teacher learning" (pp. 34 -35). Highlighting this view, Brown (2000) asserts that, constructivists posit that reality is constructed in social contexts. As a consequence of this new paradigm the concept of learning and its process gained a new definition. In the same context, Cunningham (2000 ) notes that, "constructivism views learning as an active process where learners reflect upon their current and past knowledge and experiences to generate new ideas and concepts" (p. 2). Based on this newly emergent view of learning and considering the fact that teachers have experienced learning at various stages of their lives and are always involved in an ongoing learning process, Crandall (2000) maintains that in the light of constructivism teachers are considered the main source of knowledge about teaching. According to Tabachnick and Zeichner (2002), reflective teaching is consistent with constructivist learning theories in that, it emphasizes the concept of reflection as a source of knowledge for teachers. Language learners as the main stakeholders of the profession are also functioning in a social context in which a host of variables are interacting which may affect their learning positively or negatively. To this end, two of the most important factors in this regard are critical thinking and motivation. …

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