Looking Again at “Surface Level” Reflections: Framing a Competence View of Early Teacher Thinking
Teacher Education Quarterly
In this paper, we present the results of a study on the reflection practices of pre-service teachers in the context of a student teaching seminar. Specifically, we examine and reinterpret reflective practices that are typically framed as “low level” and are categorized as descriptive, routine, or technical. We ask: How can we understand a wide range of teacher reflection practices, especially those that do not appear to exhibit much depth? We highlight patterns to suggest how seemingly routine reflections may serve a relevant purpose for teacher growth and development. Findings show that beginning teachers’ use multiple strategies to pose questions, identify realizations, and name action steps—for example, narrating or describing, posing How do I…? or How can I…? questions, and stating self-affirmations. We conclude by suggesting that teacher educators must aim to observe, value, and engage the existing reflection practices of beginning teachers. Teacher educators can support beginning teachers to use a wide range of reflection strategies to create meaning and coherence in relation to their teaching.
Ryken, A. E., & Hamel, F. L. (2016). Looking again at “surface level” reflections: Framing a competence view of early teacher thinking. Teacher Education Quarterly, 43 (4), 31-53.