Improving reflection for preservice teachers in an Initial Teacher Education post-graduate program: Scaffolding theory to practice

Year: 2019

Author: Watson, Marthy, Barton, Georgina

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Reflection for preservice teachers is important for professional growth. In fact, Korthagen (2001) states that describing processes during learningis important for all teacher education programs.This paper shares data from a post-graduate initial teacher education program in a regional university.In the second of two literacy education coursesoffered online, studentsare expectedto reflect on their theoretical and practical choices in addressing diverse learners in the classroom.In doing so, students are also required to reflect on the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers. Participants in this study were consenting students in the above-mentioned coursein Semester 2 2018 and Semester 1 2019.As teaching staff into thecourse,we createdmoreexplicit plans to scaffold the reflection components of the curriculum compared tothe firstoffering. Both staff also wrote reflections on progress and collected students’ samples of work, including formative and summative assessment examples.Written samples of work were analysed in relation to the 5Rs model (a revised version of Ryan (2013) and Bain, Ballantyne, Mills and Nestor’s (2002) original model) as well asusing a semiotics tool to identifyaspects of text and sentence structure as well as grammar and word knowledge (ACARA,n.d.; Halliday, 1973).Results showed thatwith weekly reflection activities that were collaborativeas well asproviding exemplarsof assessment greatly improved students’ reflective writing. This presentation will share some of these resources as well as annotated examples of students’ work, analysed using theoretical frameworks of reflection and semiotics. Implications of this knowledge include the need to plan and teach reflection in an ongoing manner as well as providing quality resources for students. Limitations include the fact that such resources may be discipline specific and may not easily transfer to other contexts. Some areas of reflection however may begeneralisableto different disciplines and therefore improve students’ reflection and reflective skills overall.


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Korthagen, F. A.,Kessels, J.,Koster, B.,Lagerwerf, B., &Wubbels, T. (2001).Linking practice and theory: The pedagogy of realistic teacher education. Routledge.

Ryan, M., & Ryan, M. (2013). Theorising a model for teaching and assessing reflective learning in higher education.Higher Education Research & Development,32(2), 244-257.