01 SES 08 C, Reflective Practice
The calling for reflective practitioners remains ever present with the persistent demand for quality provision in education (UNESCO, 2014). Reflective practice is widely recognised as an essential tool for supporting the initial and continuing professional development of those in education, helping to both inform change and improve practice and competencies in the workplace (Dewey, 1933; Schön, 1983; Moon, 2004). The arguments for its use are well rehearsed in academic and professional arenas, both at a national and international level (Pedro, 2005; Benson et al. 2001). However, whilst there have been efforts made to establish a shared consensus about what ‘reflective practice’ is (Brownhill, 2014), its value at both a personal and professional level, and the ways in which reflective practice can be effectively promoted, these all fail to fully recognise the complexities of this as a concept (Beauchamp, 2006; Finlay, 2008).
This paper offers a unique exploration of perceptions of reflective practice offered by the ‘rarely heard’ views of education trainers in Kazakhstan. These perceptions were gathered in 2013 during the delivery of in-service training led by members of the Faculty of Education at the University of Cambridge for trainers on the national Centre of Excellence (CoE) teacher development programme in Kazakhstan. Originally set up by the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan in 2011 under the auspices of the Autonomous Education Organisation (AEO) ‘Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools’ (NIS), the primary aim of the CoE programme is to equip teachers in Kazakhstan with the skills to develop citizens of the 21st century. One of the outcomes of the programme emphasises the ‘develop[ment of] teachers’ abilities to…reflect on their practice’ (NIS, 2012: 224). However, personal observations of CoE trainers engaging in reflective practice during their training suggested that this was not an activity which many found easy, nor one that they seemed particularly comfortable with; many appeared to struggle to ‘make sense’ of their reflections of their practice and the implications that these reflections had for future practice.
The research sought to explore the perceptions of CoE trainers from across Kazakhstan in an effort to gain an understanding of what they believed reflective practice to be, and what purpose it served in the development of educational provision and practice. The research also sought to explore ways in which trainers had actively engaged in reflective practice during the course of their training, critically examining evidence produced as a result of their reflective endeavours which demonstrated their developing ability to reflect.
Beauchamp, C. (2006) Understanding reflection in teaching: A framework for analysing the literature. Montreal, Quebec, Canada: Unpublished doctoral thesis, McGill University. Benson, R., Hardy, L. and Maxfield, J. (2001) The International Classroom: Using Reflective Practice to improve Teaching and Learning. [Online]. Available at: http://www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/melbourne01/pdf/papers/bensonr.pdf (Accessed: 27 January 2014). Brownhill, S. (2014) Work-based Reflective Practice. In: Brownhill, S. (ed.) Empowering the Children's and Young People's Workforce. London: Routledge. pp.157-173. Clough, P. and Nutbrown, C. (2007) A Students´ Guide to Methodology: Justifying Enquiry. 2nd edn. London: Sage. Dewey, J. (1933). How we think. Boston: D.C. Heath. Finlay, L. (2008) Reflecting on ‘Reflective practice’. Open University PBPL Paper 52, January. [Online]. Available at: http://www.open.ac.uk/cetl-workspace/cetlcontent/documents/4bf2b48887459.pdf (Accessed: 27 January 2014). Hsieh, H-F. and Shannon, S. E. (2005) Three Approaches to Qualitative Content Analysis. Qualitative Health Research, 15(9), 1277-1288. Moon, J. (2004) A Handbook of Reflective and Experiential Learning: Theory and Practice. London: Routledge. Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools (2012) Handbook for Teacher. Third (Basic) Level. Methodological Council of Center of Excellence AEO “Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools”. Pedro, J. (2005) Reflection in teacher education: exploring pre‐service teachers’ meanings of reflective practice. Reflective Practice: International and Multidisciplinary Perspectives, 6(1), 49-66. Schön, D. (1983) The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think in Action. USA: Basic Books, Inc. Tashakkori, A. and Teddlie, C. (2003) Handbook of Mixed Methods in Social and Behavioral Research. Thousand Oaks: Sage. UNESCO (2014) Teaching and learning: Achieving quality for all. The 2013/4 Education for All Global Monitoring Report. [Online]. Available at: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/education/themes/leading-the-international-agenda/efareport/reports/2013/ (Accessed: 29 January 2014). Wilson, E. (ed.) (2013) School-based Research: A Guide for Education Students. 2nd edn. London: Sage.
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