A study into the reflective capability of Hungarian primary teachers with differing levels of experience

Sherwin, Helen (2011). A study into the reflective capability of Hungarian primary teachers with differing levels of experience. EdD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000f8eb

Abstract

This case study explored the reflective capability of Hungarian primary teachers of English to uncover how beginner teachers can be helped to reflect more effectively. The participants consisted of three groups of teachers with differing levels of experience: three “beginner” teachers, three “accomplished beginners” (experienced Hungarian, beginner English teachers), three “experienced” teachers.

Reflection was viewed as a complex, cognitive skill and was investigated within a framework that combined research traditions of reflection and cognitive skill acquisition. The cognitive and metacognitive skills teachers used to analyse their teaching both pre and post-lesson were compared. Data from semi-structured interviews, diaries and observational field notes was analysed using a combination of qualitative and quantitative analytic strategies.

Findings revealed that the experienced teachers reflected in a more critically aware and informative manner than the beginner/accomplished beginner teachers whose overall reflective capability appeared to be constrained by problems they experienced with reasoning skills such as problem solving. Also, the accomplished beginners (experienced teachers retraining to teach a new subject) reflected in ways similar to the beginner teachers and did not use the pedagogic reasoning skills developed through teaching their specialist subject of Hungarian, to help themselves reflect on their English teaching. All beginner and accomplished beginner teachers claimed their reflective capability developed during the study, something they attributed to co-planning lessons with an experienced practitioner.

The main conclusion drawn from this study was that both Hungarian beginner teachers and accomplished beginners may need very structured assistance in developing the strategic thinking skills underpinning reflection before effective reflection can occur. Co-planning was suggested as a framework within which such assistance could be provided.

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