How Teachers Define and Enact Reflective Practice: It’s All in the Action

Joseph M. Shosh,

Associate Professor of Education, Moravian College (USA)

Abstract: In “How Teachers Define and Enact Reflective Practice: It’s All in the Action” Joseph M. Shosh studied the action research practices of 22 Pennsylvania and New Jersey (USA) teachers meeting within the Reflective Practice Seminar of Moravian College’s Master of Education Program during the fall semester of 2010. Teachers defined reflective practice as the process of observing their teaching and their students’ learning carefully in order to think deeply to improve their teaching practice, with more than two-thirds of teachers including action as a specified rather than implied facet of the definition. 75% of the study participants agreed that reflective writing and collegial conversation were the most valuable means of thinking more deeply about their practice, and teachers compared reflective practice to notions of self-discovery, improved senses, overcoming a challenge, and joy or accomplishment. An analysis of the 104 theme statements (or findings) from the teachers’ action research studies identified the specific actions teacher researchers took within their diverse teaching environments to (1) support student achievement, (2) encourage active student engagement, (3) facilitate student metacognition, (4) develop collaboration among learners, (5) promote student ownership, (6) differentiate instruction, and (7) address inevitable challenges as teachers and researchers. The author concludes that reflective practice cannot be directly taught but instead emerges through the reflection on action that occurs when teachers are conducting action research.

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