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Building a Shared Understanding of Reflection to Inform Candidate Knowledge and Practice
Unformatted Document Text:  Building A Shared Understanding of Reflection…1 Strand One - “Imaging Future Students, Future Teachers”Title: Building A Shared Understanding of Reflection to Inform Candidate Knowledge and Practice Section I: Content Reflective teaching has generally been described as the practice of considering one’s effectiveness as well as purpose (theories) for action within the classroom (Dewey, 1933; Ferraro, 2000; Grimmett et al, 1990; Handal and Lauvas, 1987; Osterman & Kottkamp, 1993; 2004; Schon, 1983; Zeichner & Liston, 1996). In their work on reflective teaching, Zeichner and Liston (1996) note the zeal for this topic was taken up by “teachers, teacher educators, and educational researchers all over the world (4).” Today, as many schools prepare their vision statements for national accreditation visits, the term “reflection” appears as a pillar in conceptual frameworks. Teacher educators agree that they know a reflective candidate when they see one or read their writing and yet there is a lack of shared understanding of what those qualities consist of and, most importantly, how to support their development in others. This presentation addresses two interconnected issues: (i) the perceptions and shared understanding of teacher education faculty and candidates regarding reflection and (ii) how that information can be used to develop a means of teaching and assessing reflective practice. The relevance of this information directly relates to the increase in diversity of the country’s K-12 population. The need for teachers to consider their effectiveness as well as their theories for action with a broad range of students with diverse learning strengths and challenges is essential. In today’s complex classrooms, teachers who are able to question their own assumptions and consider unexplored paths are the most likely to reach the students who are overlooked, described as too much work, or troublesome by others. In order for teacher education programs to meet the challenge of preparing reflective practitioners, a mutual understanding of what reflection means and looks like in candidates is an essential conversation. Without an established working definition of reflection, candidate development will remain uneven and individualized depending upon the standards set by varying faculty in their program. In addition, without considering what candidates know and believe about reflection when they begin a teacher preparation program, faculty overlook a valuable source of data about the starting point for instruction. As indicated before, the need to move beyond “I’ll know it when I see it” perceptions of reflection are needed in teacher education to effectively structure opportunities for learning and practicing reflection-in-action (Dewey, 1933). Section II: Outcomes and Methods Participates in this session will learn about a pilot study, using a triangulation model, to examine (i) faculty and (ii) candidates definitions and perceptions of reflection, and (iii) the level of reflective knowledge and skill used in writing by beginning candidates in a teacher education program. The researchers will share the process and results of developing a shared framework among three faculty in order to assess the entry level reflective writing skills of freshmen in a teacher preparation program. An extensive literature review undertaken at the start of the pilot study serves as the foundation for the faculty’s working concepts. The second point in the triangulation model is provided by survey data from freshmen education majors regarding their perceptions of reflection. The pilot survey,

Authors: Mueller, Mary., Sardone, Nancy. and May, Grace.
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Building A Shared Understanding of
Reflection…1
Strand One - “Imaging Future Students, Future Teachers”
Title: Building A Shared Understanding of Reflection to Inform Candidate Knowledge
and Practice
Section I: Content
Reflective teaching has generally been described as the practice of considering
one’s effectiveness as well as purpose (theories) for action within the classroom (Dewey,
1933; Ferraro, 2000; Grimmett et al, 1990; Handal and Lauvas, 1987; Osterman &
Kottkamp, 1993; 2004; Schon, 1983; Zeichner & Liston, 1996). In their work on
reflective teaching, Zeichner and Liston (1996) note the zeal for this topic was taken up
by “teachers, teacher educators, and educational researchers all over the world (4).”
Today, as many schools prepare their vision statements for national accreditation visits,
the term “reflection” appears as a pillar in conceptual frameworks. Teacher educators
agree that they know a reflective candidate when they see one or read their writing and
yet there is a lack of shared understanding of what those qualities consist of and, most
importantly, how to support their development in others.
This presentation addresses two interconnected issues: (i) the perceptions and
shared understanding of teacher education faculty and candidates regarding reflection and
(ii) how that information can be used to develop a means of teaching and assessing
reflective practice. The relevance of this information directly relates to the increase in
diversity of the country’s K-12 population. The need for teachers to consider their
effectiveness as well as their theories for action with a broad range of students with
diverse learning strengths and challenges is essential. In today’s complex classrooms,
teachers who are able to question their own assumptions and consider unexplored paths
are the most likely to reach the students who are overlooked, described as too much
work, or troublesome by others.
In order for teacher education programs to meet the challenge of preparing
reflective practitioners, a mutual understanding of what reflection means and looks like in
candidates is an essential conversation. Without an established working definition of
reflection, candidate development will remain uneven and individualized depending upon
the standards set by varying faculty in their program. In addition, without considering
what candidates know and believe about reflection when they begin a teacher preparation
program, faculty overlook a valuable source of data about the starting point for
instruction. As indicated before, the need to move beyond “I’ll know it when I see it”
perceptions of reflection are needed in teacher education to effectively structure
opportunities for learning and practicing reflection-in-action (Dewey, 1933).
Section II: Outcomes and Methods
Participates in this session will learn about a pilot study, using a triangulation
model, to examine (i) faculty and (ii) candidates definitions and perceptions of reflection,
and (iii) the level of reflective knowledge and skill used in writing by beginning
candidates in a teacher education program.
The researchers will share the process and results of developing a shared
framework among three faculty in order to assess the entry level reflective writing skills
of freshmen in a teacher preparation program. An extensive literature review undertaken
at the start of the pilot study serves as the foundation for the faculty’s working concepts.
The second point in the triangulation model is provided by survey data from
freshmen education majors regarding their perceptions of reflection. The pilot survey,


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