Date of Award

5-2016

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Educational Psychology

Major Professor

John M. Peters

Committee Members

Ralph Brockett, Mary Ziegler, John Lounsbury

Abstract

The purpose of this narrative inquiry (NI) was to explore, through personal narratives, the experience of the impact of Reflective Practice (RP) training (offered through an institute for collaborative communication housed within a large southeastern regional research one university) and subsequent practice on the day-to-day lives of two participants. While most published studies focus on RP impact during or immediately after training, this inquiry spanned seven months post training.

Field texts were generated from five open, non-structured interviews, journals, and field notes. The findings were framed within the NI commonplaces of temporality, sociality, and place, as well as seminal theories supporting the concept that dialogic interactions continuously shape and transform our ways of being. The researcher’s inquiry “alongside” participants wove her presence into the story.

Participants storied RP experiences in the context of four themes: changes in their roles at work and home, experience of using the aspects of RP, choosing better ways of being in relationship with others, and practicing RP in the future to support and improve skills. They described shifts in their own behavior while, or as a result of, using RP. Through practicing reflective listening, suspending their judgements and pre-conceptions, and actively choosing to be open to new possibilities (reflective, framing, and theorizing levels of RP) they discovered new ways of seeing things, engaged in new types of dialogic interactions, and created new relationships with family members and colleagues relative to pre-RP. Their experiences include Mezirow’s three aspects of transformative learning: critical reflection, reflective discourse, and reflective action, leading to both women describing improved practice and experiencing themselves as better human beings as a result of RP.

Though small, this study suggests possibilities for further exploration of RP’s impact on educators who practice it alongside their students, as well as its potential contributions to understanding transformative learning outside the classroom. It also opens the door for a larger conversation regarding a broader role for educational psychology beyond classrooms and academic outcomes to making more lasting, transformative differences in people’s lives.

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