Academic journal article CEPS Journal : Center for Educational Policy Studies Journal

Encouraging Reflection and Critical Friendship in Pre-Service Teacher Education

Academic journal article CEPS Journal : Center for Educational Policy Studies Journal

Encouraging Reflection and Critical Friendship in Pre-Service Teacher Education

Article excerpt

Encouraging Reflection and Critical Friendship in Pre-service Teacher Education

Reflectivity is an important professional competence of contemporary teachers. In order to explore how to encourage students' reflection, we conducted a two-year action research project impelling them to become mutual critical friends. For critical friendship communication and other project activities, we utilised Moodle - an online learning management system. On the basis of the analysed data that were gathered at the end of each action research cycle, we determined that the students felt comfortable in the role of critical friends and that critical friends' reflections were particularly pleasant for them. They experienced the comments of their critical friends as friendly, encouraging, useful, specific, interesting, detailed, positive, professional and clear. The majority of students (91%) think that the critical friendship discussion should be continued within the course Correlated-integrated systems in Croatian language teaching, and 85% of them suggest introducing this approach in other teachers' education courses. We determined that the technical mode of reflective thinking prevails in the students' correspondence. The practical or contextual level could rarely be observed while critical reflection was completely absent in 11 of 14 discussions. Reflective thinking of students (future teachers) should be fostered from the beginning of their studies within various courses, particularly in the pedagogical and methodological ones. To encourage their students to be critically reflective, university teachers should embrace reflective thinking by becoming critically-reflective practitioners and conducting action research in their teaching practices.

Keywords: action research, critical friendship, critical reflection, reflection in teacher education, reflection through online discussion

Reflektivnost je pomembna strokovna kompetenca sodobnih učiteljev. Z namenom ugotavljanja, kako spodbujati refleksijo študentov, smo izvedli dveletno akcijsko raziskavo, v okviru katere smo študente spodbujali, da prevzamejo vlogo kritičnih prijateljev. Za komunikacijo med kritičnimi prijatelji in za druge projektne aktivnosti je bil uporabljen Moodle - spletna učilnica oz. učno orodje. Na osnovi analiziranih podatkov, ki smo jih zbrali na koncu vsakega akcijsko raziskovalnega cikla, smo ugotovili, da so se študentje dobro počutili v vlogi kritičnih prijateljev in da so bile refleksije kritičnih prijateljev za njihovo učenje spodbudne. Komentarje kritičnih prijateljev so izkusili kot prijateljske, spodbujajoče, uporabne, konkretne, zanimive, podrobne, pozitivne, strokovne in jasne. Velika večina študentov (91 %) je menila, da bi se morala razprava kritičnega prijateljstva nadaljevati v okviru predmeta sistemi korelacije in integracije pri pouku hrvaškega jezika, 85 % pa jih je predlagalo uvajanje tega pristopa v druge predmete pedagoškega izobraževanja. Ugotovili smo, da v komunikaciji med študenti prevladuje tehnična raven refleksije. Praktično ali kontekstualno raven smo zasledili redko, medtem ko je bila raven kritične refleksije popolnoma odsotna v enajstih izmed štirinajstih razprav. Reflektivno mišljenje študentov (bodočih učiteljev) bi morali spodbujati od začetka njihovega študija v okviru različnih predmetov, zlasti v okviru pedagoških in specialnodidaktičnih. Da bi visokošolski učitelji spodbudili svoje študente h kritični reflektivnosti, bi morali sami postati kritično-reflektivni praktiki in v okviru svojega poučevanja izvajati akcijsko raziskovanje.

Ključne besede: akcijsko raziskovanje, kritično prijateljstvo, kritična refleksija, refleksija v izobraževanju učiteljev, refleksija v okviru spletne razprave

Introduction

Reflective thinking in education has its theoretical roots in Dewey's seminal work How We Think. He asserts that 'active, persistent, and careful consideration of any belief or supposed form of knowledge in the light of the grounds that support it, and the further conclusions to which it tends, constitutes reflective thought' (Dewey, 1910, p. …

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