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Teachers’ Experiences of Professional Reflection

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Laura Saylor

on 21 April 2013

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Transcript of Teachers’ Experiences of Professional Reflection

Laura Saylor Teachers’ Experiences
of Professional Reflection ONCE UPON A TIME There was a researcher who wondered about how teachers
experienced professional reflection activities. She had been a teacher for eight years and a principal for eighteen years. She had recognized the power of professional reflection in her own teaching experience and in helping other teachers grow and develop professionally. Her World View The very nature of wanting to uncover the complexities of the reflective processes (a specific lived experience) of teachers advanced her research to the constructivist paradigm and the beliefs and values aligned with it. Her research interests related to teacher reflection would likely contain many diverse and socially constructed realities. The Big Search So she set out in a search of all the literature on teachers' professional reflection. There she found so many treasures. Among the treasures were Dewey, Schön and Larrivee. Dewey Reflection as defined by Dewey (1910) is the, “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” (p.6). This definition serves as a foundation for this research study. Schön She learned that professional knowledge and proficiency occur in the context of action, "Clearly, then, when we reject the traditional view of professional knowledge, recognizing that practitioners may become reflective practitioners in situations of uncertainty, instability, uniqueness, and conflict, we have recast the relationship between research and practice. For on this perspective, research is an activity of practitioners. It is triggered by features of the practice situation, undertaken on the spot, and immediately linked to action (Schön, 1983, pp. 308-309). Larrivee She found Larrivee's (2008) research based levels of reflection so helpful she adopted them as the conceptual frame for her study, she employed three levels of reflection identified by Larrivee (2008): (1) an initial level focused on teaching functions, actions or skills, generally considering teaching episodes as isolated events(2) a more advanced level considering the theory and rationale for current practice;(3) a higher order where teachers examine the ethical, social and political consequences of their teaching, grappling with the ultimate purposes of schooling. How do early childhood and elementary teachers experience professional reflection activities?
How do early childhood and elementary teachers perceive professional reflection activities in their own practice?
How do early childhood and elementary teachers perceive professional reflection activities in their school setting?
What wishes do early childhood and elementary teachers have
about professional reflection? Her Questions.... From her experiences, world view and literature search she developed some questions... Her phenomenological study design using interpretive typological analysis (Hatch, 2002) with qualitative data derived from in-depth interviews (Rubin & Rubin, 2012) used a purposive convenience sampling (Bernard & Ryan, 2010) of six early childhood and elementary teachers within a particular school in a suburban area of Cincinnati. Her in-depth interview instrument included major interview questions and follow-up of questions. Interviews were conducted in person and took approximately 40 - 50 minutes to conduct. Her Study Once her interviews were complete, she began the process of transcription. She has so far finished two of those. Four additional interviews will be transcribed and analyzed. All six will then be cyclically reviewed and analyzed in order to consider data components in light of the data as a whole. Transcription and initial Analysis Interpretive typological analysis has been and will continue to be her major data analysis strategy. She will also continue to make notes and memo as she continues to simultaneously collect and analyze data. Even at this point, she can see that by doing so she can track her own thoughts and hunches that may lead to refining her questions and improving her strategies (Miles and Huberman, 1994). This data has and will continue to be analyzed to the extent that themes can be found in participants’ responses as guided by the typologies related to the framework for understanding levels of reflective practice developed by Larrivee (2008). Strategies & Memos So far... The researcher hopes that the results of her study will provide effective guides for doing reflection as part of professional development. She intended for her study to be a stimulus for researchers and a spark for those charged with the professional development of teachers. She acknowledges that her study was exploratory in nature and cannot be generalized. A further limitation was her own experience and creativity (Maxwell, 2013) in considering my design, method, data, and analysis. She knows this limitation, for any researcher, may always be present; however, she hopes that as she grows her understanding of qualitative research will expand and allow her to broaden my creative application of its many iterative components. Implications
and Limitations Not the end...but rather, back to the beginning So she set out on a quest much like the boy
in this video who turned to participants in finding answers to his exploratory question: And so she has learned the owl-like wisdom of her experience, the research that has come before her, and that of her most expert participants.
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