10 SES 05 C, Reflectivity in Teacher Education
Reflectivity as a core competency of teachers has been a hot topic in teacher training as well as teacher education research for many years now. Griffiths and Tann (1992) describe the wide-spread rejection of scientific theories as guidelines for teaching. Various studies reported results that (student) teachers did not challenge their personal beliefs, but emphasized the importance of practical experiences, while oftentimes questioning the value of scientific theories and university education (e.g. Griffiths & Tann 1992, Terhart et al. 1994, Anselm 2010). Empirical approaches to assess teachers’ reflective action or their attitudes towards reflective practice in quantitative terms must rely on reliable and valid instruments to measure these constructs. In this talk, an instrument to measure different aspects of attitudes towards reflective practice and the results of scale analyses will be presented, challenges for the measurement of this latent variable will be exposed, and conclusions for the improvement of the instrument will be drawn.
The instrument is used in a research project at the Technische Universität Darmstadt. Our goal is to analyse the effects of newly implemented offers of counselling for freshmen student teachers concerning their professional development in their first year of studies, focussing on the effects on their attitudes towards reflection and their teacher beliefs. To fit our purposes within the project the instrument has to meet the following requirements: It should be applicable with freshmen students having no teaching experiences. Still, to avoid an ambiguous, superficial phrasing, the items had to have a clear reference to professional teaching activities. In consequence, we opted for items addressing students’ attitude towards reflective action in the classroom context instead of assessing reflective action. Most existing scales (e.g. Kember et al. 2000, Felten 2005) do not fully meet those requirements.
Theoretical Approach and Research Questions
Griffiths and Tann (1992), like e.g. Mezirow (1997), distinguish several hierarchically ordered levels of reflection: Reflection-in-action consists of two forms of reflection. Reflection-on-action, on the other hand, incorporates three forms of reflection. The three forms of reflection-on-action take place after action and require increasing structuring of the assessment and analysis of situational information. Only at the highest level, retheorising and reformulating, persons challenge their personal beliefs and also scientific theories. A person who is able to reflect on all five levels is called a reflective practitioner (cp. Griffiths & Tann 1992).
Building on Griffiths and Tann, Niggli (2004) deducted a model to depict student teachers’ patterns of interest in reflection. Besides student’s general level ofinterestin reflection-on-action, the model distinguishes student teachers’ willingness to either reflect action based on pedagogical theories (reflection through retheorising and reformulating) or to reflect action based on practical rules and teacher role models (reflection throughpractical experience). As a fourth component, we added a popular teacher belief to Niggli’s model: one’s personality as key to professional success as a teacher (cp. Calderhead 1996, Hartmann & Weiser 2007). In accordance with Griffiths and Tann (1992), someone holding but not questioning a pronounced teacher belief shows ‑by definition‑ a low level of reflection on the level of retheorising and reformulating. Moreover, theoretical assumptions state a general reluctance of persons to question their beliefs (e.g. Pajares 1992). Hence, approval of specific beliefs should correlate with a low level of interest in reflection-on-action in general.
Subsequently, our precise research questions are: a) Do factor analyses confirm the postulated factor structure of our measurement instrument? b) Does a strong belief in theimportance of personality traits for professional success as a teacher correlate negatively with a general interest in reflection-on-action and, furthermore, with reflection through retheorising and reformulating?
List of References Anselm, S. (2010). „Wissen ist gut, doch Können ist besser.“ In: Abel, J. & Faust, G. (Eds.). Wirkt Lehrerbildung? Antworten aus der empirischen Forschung. Münster a.o.: Waxmann, 155-163. Calderhead, J. (1996). Teachers: Beliefs and Knowledge. In: Berliner, D. C. & Calfee, R. C. (Eds.). Handbook of Educational Psychology. New York a.o.: Routledge, 709-725. Felten, R. v. (2005). Lernen im reflexiven Praktikum. Eine vergleichende Untersuchung. Münster a.o.: Waxmann. Griffiths, M. & Tann, S. (1992). Using Reflective Practice to Link Personal and Public Theories. Journal of Education for Teaching, 18(1), 69-84. Hartmann, M. & Weiser, B. (2007). Unbewusste Inkompetenz? … Selbstüberschätzung bei StudienanfängerInnen. In: Kraler, C. & Schratz, M. (Eds.). Ausbildungsqualität und Kompetenz im Lehrerberuf. Wien: Lit Verlag, 37-55. Kember, D., Leung, D. Y. P., Jones, A., Loke, A. Y., McKay, J. & Sinclair, K. et al. (2000). Development of a Questionnaire to Measure the Level of Reflective Thinking. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 25 (4), 381-395. Mezirow, J. (1997). Transformative Erwachsenenbildung. Baltmannsweiler: Schneider Verlag. Niggli, A. (2004). Welche Komponenten reflexiver beruflicher Entwicklung interessieren angehende Lehrerinnenn und Lehrer? – Faktorenstruktur eines Fragebogens uns erste empirische Ergebnisse. Schweizerische Zeitschrift für Bildungswissenschaften, 26(2), 343-364. Pajares, M. F. (1992). Teachers‘ Beliefs and Educational Research: Cleaning Up a Messy Construct. Review of Educational Research, 62(3), 307-332. Terhart, E., Cerwenka, K., Ehrich, K., Jordan, F. & Schmidt, H.J. (1994). Berufsbiographien von Lehrern und Lehrerinnen. Frankfurt a.M. u.a.: Peter Lang.
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