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Reflective thinking by teachers and improvement in teaching practices

Burrows, Nancy Lynelle
Scope and Method of Study:
Factors that might contribute to teachers' reflection on their teaching were studied by purposively selecting 72 of 100 volunteers who were teachers in one PK-12 school district. Four groups of 18 were organized. All were administered the opinionnaire both pre and post. Also, all 72 had one of their instructional sessions video recorded. Group One had no additional intervention. Group Two read five advance organizer questions prior to the video recording. Group Three viewed their video recorded session with their principals. And, Group Four engaged in the same activities as Groups Two and Three combined. The opinionnaire was based on Zeichner and Liston's interpretation of Dewey's concept of reflection. The three factors were openmindedness, responsibility and wholeheartedness. The opinionnaire was developed and field tested resulting in an alpha of .9599.
Findings and Conclusions:
Seven null hypotheses were developed to guide the study suggesting that no statistically significant differences would be found within and between groups. One Way ANOVA and MANOVA discovered no significant differences; all of the hypotheses were accepted.
Because the pre-opinionnaire responses were relatively high, the post-opinionnaire responses did not increase much. Possibly, teachers are not sufficiently proficient in self-reflection so they over estimated their abilities. Or, maybe the instrument did not detect variances in teachers' self reflection abilities. Reading only, and not thoroughly discussing the advance organizers, may have resulted in no increase in reflective thinking about their teaching. If taking the pre-opinionnaire and being subjected to the interventions increased teachers' abilities to self-reflect, the post-opinionnaire responses would have been higher than the pre-opinionnaire responses.