Reflective Teaching and Action Research

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Reflective Thinking and Action Research

Puja ShrivastavReflective Thinking and Action Research

IntroductionTeachers usually do what their teachers did in the past and believe that they know what they and their students should do in the classroom.The beliefs and perceptions of student teachers admitted to the teacher education are likely to affect their approach to teacher education programme.2Puja Shrivastav

ContAlready existing perspectives and beliefs come in the way of acquiring new knowledge and skills.This may involve the student teachers to re-examine their existing beliefs and approaches.Teacher education gives importance to theory and practical experience. 3Puja Shrivastav

ContLearning and experience in the professional arena becomes useful only when effective teaching and learning is followed by reflection.This will help to crystallize the teaching and learning experience.4Puja Shrivastav

ReflectionReflection commences when one inquires into his or her experiences and relevant knowledge to find meaning in his or her beliefs. It enable teachers to direct their activities with foresight and to plan according to ends- in view. (John Dewey, 1933)There are two important aspects of reflection-reflective thinking and reflective action.5Puja Shrivastav

Reflective ThinkingReflection is a processing phase where thinking and learning take place.It involves personal consideration of ones own learning.Reflective thinking is an approach of self observation. It is more than mere introspection.Reflection aids the learner in making connections between the moral and social issues in the story.6Puja Shrivastav

Reflective Thinking ContdTeacher education as a profession often requires teacher educators and student teachers to reflect upon their practices, link their reflections to theories and communicate in writing an understanding of the connection between the reflection and theory. Teacher educators can expose student teachers to reflect by sharing their own learning and understanding regarding an educational issue or classroom experiences.7Puja Shrivastav

Benefit of Reflective Thinking Develop a questioning attitude and new perspectives Become objective and critical of your own actionsIdentify areas for change and improvement Think of alternative explanations of events Make use of evidence from theories Respond effectively to new challenges Recognise that your own point of view will change with time

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Benefit of Reflective Thinking ContdDiscuss with others to deepen your insight and explore a range of perspectives Ask questions such as what was I thinking and feeling - did this influence me, and why? What were the students thinking and feeling? What is the evidence for this? What else could I have done? Generalise and apply what you have learned from one situation to other situations

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Forms of ReflectionReflection-in-action Thinking about your practice.Reflection-on-action- Reflections of lessons or events, carried out after lesson or event has occurred.Evaluation- Reflection after the lesson or performance.Intra-professional verbalized- Reflections carried out in the company of others in the same community practice.Extra- Professional verbalized- Reflections carried out in the company of selected support network.10Puja Shrivastav

Reflective PracticeReflective practice can be considered as active learningBeginning of reflective practice in the area of learning can be seen, where one question is answered by another question so as to challenge the subject under discussion.

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Benefits of Reflective PracticeIncreased learning from an experiencePromotion of deep learning Identification of personal and professional strengths and areas for improvement Identification of educational needs Acquisition of new knowledge and skills Further understanding of own beliefs, attitudes and values Encouragement of self-motivation and self-directed learning Could act as a source of feedback Possible improvements of personal and clinical confidence

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Limitations of Reflective PracticeNot all practitioners understand the reflective process One may feel uncomfortable challenging and evaluating own practice Could be time consuming May have confusion as to which situations/experiences to reflect upon May not be adequate to resolve educational problems

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Reflective Practice in Teacher EducationRefers to the process of the teacher educator studying his or her own teaching methods and determining what works best for the student teachers. It involves the consideration of the ethical consequences of classroom procedures on students. Thus reflecting on different versions of teaching, and reshaping past and current experiences will lead to improvement in teaching practices. Reflective practice assists teachers in making the professional knowledge, gained from their experience in the classroom, part of their decision-making.14Puja Shrivastav

Action ResearchAction research is used synonymously and interchangeably with teacher research or practitioner research. Action research pursues action and research. The action research process is collaborative and investigative where teachers work together to design and follow through with research on practical problems in their classrooms.Teachers are involved in the process of inquiry to improve educational practice.

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Action Research ContdAction research involves inquiring into ones own practice through a cyclical process which involves planning, acting, observing and reflecting (Kemmis and McTaggart, 1988). It is most effective when the end result emerges from the data. The conclusions emerge slowly over the course of the study. Action research enables learning through the process of critical reflection, meaningful experiences, and self-directed inquiry.

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Action Research ContdThe systematic action research process is a cyclical step-by-step process. Teachers who engage in the action research process are immersed in examining what it means to make disciplinedas opposed to intuitivestatements about teaching (Freeman, 1998, p. 9). Therefore, the teachers account is derived from evidence that has been gathered through a systematic and evaluative research process. In other words action research or teacher research is characterized by uniting the doing and wondering of the practice of teaching (Freeman 1998, p. 3).17Puja Shrivastav

Action Research Building the Reflective PractitionerAction research is a form of staff development that encourages and develops the skills of educators to become more reflective practitioners, more methodical problem solvers, and more thoughtful decision makers (Sparks & Simmons, 1989). Sagor (2000) believed that an important purpose for action research was building the reflective practitioner . He explained that when reflections on the findings from each days work inform the next days instruction, teachers cant help but develop greater mastery of the art and science of teaching.

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Integrated Action Research Model

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Integrated Action Research Model

Step 1Select the issueReflection

Step 2Collect dataReflection

Step 3Analyze dataReflection

Step 4Report resultsReflection

Step 5Take actionReflection

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DisadvantagesTeachers find it difficult to devote time and engage in action research.While teaching it is difficult to find enough time to collect data, reflect, re-read, or share with colleagues.Teacher researchers are not able to distance themselves from the situation being researched and thus objectivity becomes difficult. There are differences in teaching and researching. Research hampers his/her teaching.

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ContFor example, a teacher that is focused on investigating the impact of a new reading strategy on student learning would spend instructional time teaching that reading strategy, gathering evidence about the students learning, analyzing the collected data for evidence of student growth and reflecting on the strategys overall impact on teaching and learning. In this situation other curriculum and instruction may be ignored or temporarily put to the side in order to focus on the research.22Puja Shrivastav

Applications of Action ResearchTeaching does change as a result of the research conducted. The teacher is able to focus on specific areas which need improvement. Discussions with colleagues help develop ideas. Action research projects and related practices allow teachers to modify teaching practices and have an impact on student achievement. Teachers are able to use better strategies for facilitating students to become better learners.Teachers feel confident about themselves as researchers and the research piece in general. 23Puja Shrivastav

Applications of Action Research Contd..Research supported practice leads to personal and professional growth7. Action research allows some teachers the opportunity to make connection between practice and research.8. Teachers as adult learners transfer their knowledge about action research to future teaching practices.9. Action research provides the teachers with the needed practical skills.10. It gives them an opportunity to develop a philosophy of education.

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Applications of Action Research Contd..Teacher action research can easily blend theory and practice.Action research formalizes a system that good teachers must use it a constant basis.It is an easy way to maintain professionalism.On the basis of research data, the teaching program can be modified to suit the learners.

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Applications of Action Research Contd..Action research can make the teachers feel very proud of their research. They find it as having an added advantage even worthwhile mentioning in their curriculum vitae and during job interviews. As such teachers do recognize the significance of their research.Different method for personal reflection, such as, journal writing, mentally walking through the day, jotting notes on her lesson plans, or talking to colleagues helps.

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Applications of Action Research Contd..Teacher reflection sometimes happens in fits and starts and writing happens when there is tension.Some teachers can reflect on what went well and what did not and then note down about what can be done differently. This indicates that being reflective is central to teaching.Action research has a significant impact on the assessment practices of the teachers. Teachers use different methods to gather information about students such as tests, projects, group assignments, anecdotal comments, observation checklists, one on one testing, self evaluation, interviews, samples of student work, and observation.

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ConclusionIt can be said that engaging in classroom research has a positive influence.Teaching practices and student achievement are influenced by teachers involved in action research process. It should be noted that teachers need to internalize the action research process in their conception of their practice. The process of action research provides educators with a disciplined way of studying about their profession. This process can encourage the teachers to be introspective and work towards self-improvement.

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