Article

‘It’s OK to feel totally confused’: reflection without practice by preservice teachers in an introductory education course

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Abstract

In the following article, we describe our research with preservice teachers (PSTs) engaged in an introductory course in curriculum, instruction, and technology. Typically, efforts to engage PSTs in reflection focus on the student-teaching experience. We assert there is potential for PSTs to think deeply about their identities prior to actual classroom experience. Our research concerns the development of reflective pedagogical thinking by PSTs, stimulated by a variety of curricular, instructional, and technological learning experiences. We will highlight the pedagogical innovations we employed to stimulate PSTs to engage in meaningful reflection prior to their student-teaching experiences. We will describe our learning experiences and nontraditional grading scheme in the course, and examine the impact of those practices on PST reflective writing.

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... The introduction of critical reflection can begin early in the process of teacher education. Indeed, Nelson et al identify that theory and practice do not need to be taught in isolation; issues of practice can be considered before school-based experiences through reflective modes of teaching (Nelson, Miller and Yun, 2016). ...
... Both student and tutor transcripts identified reflection as a key aspect in helping students to understand pedagogy. This chimes with evidence drawn from a range of literature on reflection, which cites opportunities for reflection as crucial to the development of understanding in professional learning (Harford and MacRuairc, 2008;Nelson, Miller and Yun, 2016). The purpose of reflection can be seen as critical inquiry, a way in which students develop their reasoning about why certain teaching strategies are employed and how these can have a positive impact on children (Lee, 2005). ...
... The use of discussion to support reflection was prevalent within the data. This research echoes that of others in suggesting that students need time and the supportive space to reflect critically on practice (Harford and MacRuairc, 2008;Nelson, Miller and Yun, 2016). The benefits of peer discussions appear to be in developing criticality of practice. ...
Conference Paper
Title: Meta-teaching in Initial Teacher Education - An analysis of teacher educator pedagogy using stimulated recall method in a UK-based university. A longstanding issue for teacher educators has been the successful integration of theory and practice for student teachers. This thesis explored how teacher educators’ pedagogy supports the development of student teachers’ understanding of these two aspects. A case study approach was utilised for data collection, drawing on the perceptions of teacher educators’ and student teachers’ experiences, locating it in a social constructivist paradigm. Five experienced teacher educators were interviewed using a stimulated recall method, in which video recordings of seminar teaching were discussed via 1:1 semi-structured interviews. A stimulated recall method was chosen, as it had not been extensively used in teacher education. Additionally, two student focus group interviews were undertaken, and voluntarily submitted reflection sheets from further students were collected. Interviews were transcribed, and the data was coded and organised using thematic analysis. The study was framed by concepts of pedagogical reasoning and Swennen et al’s view of congruent teaching (2008), in which the explicit modelling and deconstruction of practice supports student teachers’ development. The findings revealed that teacher educators used meta-teaching and modelling strategies in their practice to support understanding of theory in teaching. Teacher educators also highlighted the importance of opportunities for students to reflect on practice. The use of stimulated recall emerged as an important method to support teacher educators’ own professional development. The findings revealed that students were able to identify the meta-teaching within teacher educators’ practice and valued the opportunities to reflect on their own understanding. Theory was viewed by the students as an important component of their development as teachers.
... Self-and professional development is driven by reflective practice (Maaranen & Stenberg, 2017). However, several studies of teacher candidates highlight a lack of meaningful reflection across teacher education prior to practicums and field experiences (Akbari, 2007;Nelson et al., 2016;Tom, 1997). Nelson and colleagues (2016) found that multiple and varied opportunities to reflect, beyond simple single-post reflection responses and using merely teaching experiences as a catalyst, were beneficial to teacher candidate development. ...
... However, there are several key elements of this study that may inform practice in other teacher preparation programs. If teacher candidates report limited opportunities to meaningfully reflect on their process in teacher education (Akbari, 2007;Nelson et al., 2016;Tom, 1997), then different strategies must be employed to aid in the development process. We found our teacher candidates thought check-ins provided an opportunity for development through a direct, guided reflection process. ...
... Another area which could carry implications for teacher education programs is the value placed on field experiences and teacher strategies. Other studies have had similar findings (Barrick & Garton, 2010;Danielewicz, 2014;Nelson et al., 2016;Retallick & Miller, 2007, Zembylas, 2018. This means that a tighter connection between theory and practice is continually necessary to help teacher candidates situate course content into their field experiences, which is where they attribute their growth as teachers. ...
... Scholars recognize the significance of providing opportunities to explore identity development during preservice teacher education and continue to call for more research (e.g. Nelson, Miller, & Yun, 2016;Ticknor, 2014). The development of agentive professional identities relates to other aspects of teacher education, including the building of pedagogical context knowledge (Gelfuso, 2017) and the instructional practices preservice teachers (PTs) undertake in the classroom, including the implementation of critical literacy (Wolfe, 2010). ...
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In this analysis, events from a preservice teacher’s internship in a seventh-grade literacy classroom are explored using theories of deconstruction. Deconstruction is activated as both a lens through which to observe and a framework for understanding moments when binaries and other linguistic structures and shortcomings are illuminated as inadequate. In the discussion of deconstruction events and new understandings, the author explains the participant’s pushback on the expectation of dividing the personal and professional, her inclusion of voices and perspectives from outside the traditional literary canon, and her rejection of the expectation that preservice teachers will maintain the predetermined limits of the classroom. The paper concludes with implications for future research and teacher education, including a reconsideration of preservice teaching as an opportunity to destabilize inequitable power structures. © 2018
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Chapter
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Chapter
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Reflection has become an integral part of teacher education, yet its elusive boundaries make it difficult to define and teach. Examining the various facets of reflection with respect to teaching clarifies the concept, making it more accessible to pre-service teachers learning to reflect on their practice. This article explores those facets and provides a typology designed to guide teacher educators in teaching reflection to pre-service teachers.
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The origins of the “reflective teaching” concept are explored. It is suggested that the term has been interpreted and defined in numerous ways, with contrasting implications for the design of teacher education programs. It is argued that the concept requires further examination in the light of empirical research on teaching and how teachers learn to teach, and that existing research on teacher cognitions, teachers' knowledge, and the context of teachers' learning has potential to extend our understanding of the role of reflection in teacher education.
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In this paper, two teacher educators work to understand their attempts to transform teacher–student relations by altering traditional grading practices. Using actor-network theory, the authors examine the social effects produced across and throughout a school of education when they changed the meaning and significance of grades. Detailed analysis of retrospective reflections (narratives and dialogue) reveals the deeply ingrained and broadly interconnected role that traditional understandings of grades play in defining and stabilizing identities and responsibilities. The specific outcomes here reveal the authors’ complicity in the failure of their own change effort and offer implications for teacher educators attempting change.
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• Our schools are troubled with a multiplication of studies, each in turn having its own multiplication of materials and principles. Our teachers find their tasks made heavier in that they have come to deal with pupils individually and not merely in mass. Unless these steps in advance are to end in distraction, some clew of unity, some principle that makes for simplification, must be found. This book represents the conviction that the needed steadying and centralizing factor is found in adopting as the end of endeavor that attitude of mind, that habit of thought, which we call scientific. This scientific attitude of mind might, conceivably, be quite irrelevant to teaching children and youth. But this book also represents the conviction that such is not the case; that the native and unspoiled attitude of childhood, marked by ardent curiosity, fertile imagination, and love of experimental inquiry, is near, very near, to the attitude of the scientific mind. This book examines the problem of training thought and the logical considerations for training thought. If these pages assist any to appreciate this kinship and to consider seriously how its recognition in educational practice would make for individual happiness and the reduction of social waste, the book will amply have served its purpose. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved) • Our schools are troubled with a multiplication of studies, each in turn having its own multiplication of materials and principles. Our teachers find their tasks made heavier in that they have come to deal with pupils individually and not merely in mass. Unless these steps in advance are to end in distraction, some clew of unity, some principle that makes for simplification, must be found. This book represents the conviction that the needed steadying and centralizing factor is found in adopting as the end of endeavor that attitude of mind, that habit of thought, which we call scientific. This scientific attitude of mind might, conceivably, be quite irrelevant to teaching children and youth. But this book also represents the conviction that such is not the case; that the native and unspoiled attitude of childhood, marked by ardent curiosity, fertile imagination, and love of experimental inquiry, is near, very near, to the attitude of the scientific mind. This book examines the problem of training thought and the logical considerations for training thought. If these pages assist any to appreciate this kinship and to consider seriously how its recognition in educational practice would make for individual happiness and the reduction of social waste, the book will amply have served its purpose. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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