Developing preservice teachers’ reflective teaching through professional dialogues with overseas peers

Yue On James KO, Ridwan MAULANA

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers

Abstract

Contribution: This paper reports the theoretical framework, objectives, methodology, and expected findings of a project recently awarded an innovative teaching grant at the Education University of Hong Kong (EDUHK). The threefold project objectives are aimed at developing reflective competence in preservice teachers:1. Develop reflective teaching through knowledge and teaching practice sharing with non-local preservice teachers (African and European) as critical friends;2. Enhance pedagogical awareness through lesson observation and micro-teaching activities in a self-accessed program at Moodle designed to support block practice;3. Support adoptions of flipped classroom in diverse classroom contexts.
Reflection is regarded as an aspect of quality teaching (Jay, 2003; Taggart & Wilson, 2005) as well as a . Emphasising reflective practice has been considered as a hallmark of excellent teaching strategies in higher education (Boud & Walker, 1998; Kane, Sandretto & Heath, 2004; Yost, Sentner, & Forlenza-Bailey, 2000). Reflection is important because it underpins professional judgement, provides a channel for learning and professional advancement, and serves as a means to teaching improvement, learning enhancement and a steady growth in performance standards for both schools and national education systems (Pollard et al., 2014).
Teaching is complex activity that requires real time response and knowledge integration of learners, subject matter knowledge, assessment, and instruction. Effective teachers can be characterized by their ability to consider interrelationships of these multiple aspects of teaching (Davis, 2006). Reflection is defined as “deliberate thinking about action with a view to its improvement” (Hatton & Smith, 1995, p.40).
Reflection is productive for preservice teachers when it requires them to integrate their knowledge about different aspects of teaching. This reflective process is proactive if it is taken before the lesson at the lesson planning stage, while it is reactive if the focus is what has happened in a past lesson. Very often this is a mixed process.
Reflection is a valued emphasis in the current field experience requirements of the EDUHK because preservice teachers are expected to develop the “ability to facilitate learning and talk meaningfully about [their] practice” (Tyrrell et al., 2013, p.15) in their conferences with supporting teachers and supervisors as well as in their lesson plans, learning journals, and a portfolio.This project will offer an innovative approach to encourage reflection by student teachers through: 1) e-learning activities involving lesson observation, 2) peer sharing, and 3) practices on flipped classroom during their practicum. These learning activities will share the same three key characteristics identified in other focal reflection frameworks in the literature (see Lee, 2005; Ward & McCLotter, 2004): cyclic nature, broad perspective, and inquisitive stance to integrate theory and practice.
Engaging in lesson observation and micro-teaching activities could help preservice teachers build a repertoire of teaching skills, but also enhance preservice teachers’ pedagogical awareness in our previous Teaching Development Grant project, PEERS. We will explore whether preservice teachers can develop a global perspective of teaching through regular reflections and weekly experience sharing with other non-local preservice teachers. Student teachers are expected to take full advantage of multimedia and technologies in sharing.
Method: This project will be a collaboration with the Department of Teacher Education, University of Groningen, the Netherlands, and the National Teacher Colleges in Uganda. These overseas institutes will recruit Dutch and African preservice teachers to join the project in the Netherlands and Uganda. These non-local pre-service teachers will have a weekly discussion with EDUHK students as their critical friends regarding their teaching experience and learning activities in the PEERS program. As the learning materials and the e-platform was set up for e-learning and data collection in our previous project, only minor adjustments are needed for the current project. The first recruitment of participants will start in early February for Year 3 and Year 5 students in the Full-Time BEd programmes who will take part in the Block Practice between 13 Mar and 29 Apr 2017 and between Mid-Oct and Nov, 2017 respectively. Two postgraduate students will conduct most of the interviews before, during and after the block practice and conducting analysis under the guidance and supervisions of the project of team members. Thirty to forty students will be recruited to join in the first block practice period (Mar-April, Cohort 1) and another 30-40 students (Oct-Nov, Cohort 2). In addition to the data collection activities specified in Lee (2005) such as pre-questionnaire and post-questionnaire, a pre-fieldwork focus group interview, and a semi-structured individual interview, preservice teachers at the EDUHK will have to complete online activities in the revised PEERS program. These activities are designed to enhance reflective teaching and engage them with non-local preservice teachers weekly. In each period, EDUHK students can discuss their teaching experience and plans with their peers at the university in blogs as well as with preservice teachers in the Netherlands and Uganda once a week in skype meeting. Engaging preservice teachers in diverse cultures will allow them to understand how some teaching practices may vary across cultural contexts, while some other practices are more or less invariant. By engaging in weekly dialogues (see Xie, Ke & Sharma, 2008), preservice teachers can share experiences and evaluate their teaching practices more objectively. EDUHK students are then required to write short learning journals (Moon, 2006; Xue, Ke, Shama, 2008) and portfolios (Orland-Barak, 2005).
Expected Outcomes: Following Ward and McClotter (2004), we consider codes in their blogs, learning journals, and portfolios that indicate: a) deep reflection on personal qualities that affect teaching, and b) summative reflective statements describing teaching success as two major indicators of “visible outcomes” of reflective teaching. In particular, we will look into any statements on the dialogues with non-local preservice teachers in generating reflections and developing a global perspective in pedagogy and a commitment in the teaching profession. Copyright © 2017 ECER.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017

Citation

Ko, J., & Maulana, R. (2017, August). Developing preservice teachers’ reflective teaching through professional dialogues with overseas peers. Paper presented at the ECER 2017: Reforming Education and the Imperative of Constant Change: Ambivalent roles of policy and educational research, Copenhagen, Denmark.

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