Teacher reflection as mediated practice 

Year: 2013

Author: Glasswell, Kathryn, Singh, Parlo, Martsinn, Marianne

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


In this paper we report on the work of a group of teacher educators/researchers engaged in an ARC funded school improvement research project in 12 low socio-economic schools from 2009-2012. Our paper explores the much discussed and researched topic of teacher reflection as process and product of teacher learning. Drawing on and refining existing broad conceptualisations of teacher reflection (e.g. Beattie, 1997; Schon, 1983), we offer a view of reflection as a mediated process. We utilise conceptual tools from sociocultural psychology (Daniels, 2001; Del Rio, 2002; Vygotsky, 1994) to argue for a revisiting of reflective practice as a complex and multilayered process. The process is characterised by distancing and approaching actions that acknowledge, redirect and renew the gaze of teachers and those involved with them.
Thematic analyses of semi-structured interviews and questionnaire data collected from the group of five school-based researchers/teacher educators are used to develop and illustrate an account of teacher refection as social rather than individual practice. Interview data support the notion that recurrent and structured interactions enable teacher reflection to become a tool for ongoing professional learning and instructional innovation. Student data detailing reading comprehension gains indicate that substantial progress is possible in schools where teachers engage in supported cycles of reflection and innovation facilitated by school-based teacher educators assuming the role of co-researchers. 
The proposed model of reflective processes is significant to the work of both teachers and researchers. It expands our current understandings of how teacher reflection happens and how its emergence can be supported. This work can guide the work of teachers and teacher educators as they seek to encourage, model and increase teacher reflective practice in all domains of schooling.
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Daniels, H. (2001). Vygotsky and pedagogy. London & New York: RoutledgeFalmer.
Del Rio, P. (2002). The external brain: Eco-cultural roots of distancing and mediation. Culture & Psychology, 8(2), 233-265.
Schön, D. A. (1983). The reflective practitioner: How professionals think in action. New York: Basic Books.
Vygotsky, L. (1994). The development of academic concepts in school aged children. In R. Van der Veer & J. Valsiner (Eds.), The Vygotsky reader (pp. 355-370). Oxford: Blackwell.