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Reflection in education : an exploration of EFL teachers' conceptions of reflective practice in the UAE

This study explored how six Arab EFL teachers constructed meanings of reflection, and how these meanings informed their teaching practice. The purpose of this research was to better understand reflective practice in teacher education. Dewey (1933), Schön (1983, 1987) and van Manen’s (1977) theories on reflective practice guided this study. A symbolic interaction theoretical and methodological framework (Denzin, 1978; Prus, 1996) was applied. The data were collected from teacher interviews, reflection journals and classroom observations. Five specific themes emerged from the data and were categorised within the symbolic interaction social processes of (1) acquiring perspectives, (2) achieving individuality, (3) experiencing relationships, (4) situating the act, and (5) the act of reflection (Prus, 1996). In addition, eleven sub-themes were derived from the data which illuminated how the teachers interpreted and practised reflection. The sub-themes included: (1) defining reflection, (2) questioning as reflection, (3) opportunities for reflection, (4) defining reflection from self / significant others, (5) looking back on action, (6) reflection is based on personal beliefs and educational theory, (7) encountering peers / cooperating teachers, (8) self-reflections, (9) verbal reflections, (10) written reflections, and (11) content of reflection. The findings revealed that teachers possessed a general understanding of reflection and practised technical and interpretive levels of reflection in different contexts. Engaging in reflective practice activities encouraged the teachers to question their own beliefs and theories. The study provided evidence showing that reflection is a key element of teacher development. Reflective thinking is a vehicle that can help teachers to progress from a level where they are mainly guided by intuition to a level where their actions are guided by reflection and self-inquiry. The study has implications for the ways in which teachers learn about reflection, and I do hope that teacher educators will find it useful.
Date January 2009
CreatorsConstantinou, Helen
ContributorsTroudi, Salah
PublisherUniversity of Exeter
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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