Details of Thesis

Title The Role of Reflection in Leading the Professional Development of the Advanced Skills Teacher
Author Hanifin, Pamela Anne
Institution Australian Catholic University
Date 2000
Abstract This thesis critiques the role that reflection plays in leading teacher professional development. It critically explores the reflective processes that five Advanced Skills Teachers use to create meaning for their practice and to direct their professional learning. The research inquired into how this activity has contributed to their ongoing professional growth by connecting important learning events of the past, to decisions made and action taken when dealing with current problematic curriculum issues. This is relevant as the research was set within Brisbane Catholic Education during a time of system initiated curriculum reform. The theoretical framework for the research was primarily underpinned by critical social theory. It was also guided by an interpretative philosophy, In order to give some consideration to the personal dimension of experience. A case study approach was adopted as it promoted collaborative inquiry. This offered scope and flexibility to extrapolate and to critically explore the embedded values and thinking that underscored the teachers' decisions and actions. Most data were collected through a number of ongoing semistructured and open-ended interviews. The emergent design for the research allowed for systematic, yet flexible and ongoing data collection, analysis and participant feedback. Other supporting data included folio documentation, artefacts, an inquiry project summary sheet and a research diary. The research concluded that reflection plays an important role in enabling teachers to accept moral and professional responsibility for their own personal and professional development. However, this research has attested that there is no single model of what it means to be a reflective practitioner. Reflective practice and teacher professional development are highly idiosyncratic, complex and multi-dimensional phenomena that are clearly influenced by the interplay of a wide range of personal and contextual factors. The research revealed that teachers utilise a variety of reflective forms and processes, through various modes, to serve context specific interests. It also concluded that it was the teacher's explicit awareness of the critical intent behind thinking and subsequent action that appeared to be important to professional growth. This intent was consistently framed around each teacher's moral commitment of care and responsibility to the students as persons and learners. It became the most salient impetus behind professional deliberations and generative efforts to improve practice. Emotion tended to playa powerful, mediating role in this process. Moreover, reflection on the cognitive, affective and social dimensions of knowledge appeared to enable the teachers to consider the values· and ideals that underscored decisions and subsequent actions. The research concluded that reflection involves highly interactive cognitive and sensory processes that enable the teacher to connect with the self, with the students and with others in and beyond the school community. Reflective activity also seemed to enable the teachers to consider the consequences of dealing or not dealing with system initiated curriculum reforms, from the perspective of the students' best interests. The research revealed how the current emphasis on curriculum reform has influenced efforts to create a more holistic curriculum that gives attention to the person of the student. The modelling of reflective processes and the negotiation of aspects of the curriculum with the students provided worthwhile opportunities for these teachers, as well as their students, to articulate assumptions that underscored decisions and actions. The engagement in introspective self-dialogue, social reflection and reflective collaboration with peers and students appeared to enhance personal and professional development. This research also concluded that· administrative recognition and tangible support at the personal, school and system level provided conditions that were conducive to ongoing teacher renewal and development.
Thesis 01front.pdf  279KB
02chapter1.pdf 2,197KB
03chapter2.pdf  6,138KB
04chapter3.pdf 2,075KB
05chapter4.pdf  7,258KB
06chapter5.pdf 3,754KB

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