University of Tasmania
whole_PeacockDiannePatricia1991_thesis.pdf (8.51 MB)

Teacher as reflective practitioner : some implications for professional development

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posted on 2023-05-27, 17:42 authored by Peacock, Dianne Patricia
This study explores. the notion of teacher as researcher, as reflective practitioner, and contends that the professional development most likely to enhance teachers' practice in classrooms is that which engages them in systematic, self-critical inquiry into their own practice, or in other words, assists them to become reflective practitioners. Teaching is viewed as creating and sustaining the predisposition and the conditions for learning to occur; it follows that the teacher's role is seen as engendering students' engagement in learning, and that learners are perceived as constructors of their own knowledge. Implicit in this view is the acknowledgement that teaching is inherently complex and problematic. It might be expected that the way we view teaching has a direct bearing on the way we view professional development. Yet past practices in professional development have generally been unsuccessful in bringing about change in teachers' classroom work, largely because they have tended to be incompatible with the complexity of the teaching and learning process. In endeavouring to find a conception of teaching adequate to its essential nature, several models of teaching are explored: teaching as craft, as applied science, as fine art, as moral endeavour and, finally, as moral science. The conception that emerges as the most promising is that of teaching as moral science, the reflective practice of a professional ethic, with the teacher in the role of researcher, systematically inquiring into his own practice. Stenhouse's (1975) notion of teacher as researcher, Schon's (1983) conception of the reflective practitioner and Eisner's (1979) concepts of connoisseurship and educational criticism are analysed for their contributions to our understanding of the teacher as reflective practitioner. Central to their theories is the premise that reflective practitioners progressively construct their own knowledge through heuristic and hermeneutic approaches to their professional experience. This view of knowledge as personal construct, it is argued, is essential to any conception of reflective practice, and moreover, it involves a significant paradigm shift in theories about teacher knowledge. In attempting to develop an explanation of this notion, the study looks to theories of language development and aesthetics; turning in particular, to the work of Britton, Polanyi and Langer. What emerges is that all knowledge relates to experience. Thus reflective practitioners progressively construct their knowledge, deriving practice from theory, and theory from practice. The inquiry-based approach to professional development, which follows from this view of practitioner learning, contends that teachers' reflection on their systematic inquiry into their teaching will provide them with insights that- can be applied and tested in practice: a continuous-process of learning about their practice and about how they can make-changes to it. Thus professional development programs have a key role in supporting teachers' sustained and critical inquiry, and in encouraging collaborative ways of learning, to support the development of a discourse which will enable teachers to talk and write about their practice in increasingly precise ways. In sum, inquiry-based professional development programs empower teachers to take responsibility for their learning and for enhancing their teaching.


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Copyright the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). Includes bibliographical references (leaves 142-149). Thesis (M.Ed.Stud.)--University of Tasmania, 1991.

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