Date of Award

12-2009

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Child and Family Studies

Major Professor

Mary Jane Moran

Committee Members

Priscilla Blanton, Rena Hallam, Dulcie Peccolo

Abstract

Abstract

Two preschool teachers served as participants in this instrumental case study with the purpose of: (1) identifying the emergence of new understandings and processes of joint, shared activity, (2) examining the ways in which the use of two diverse methods (electronic and audio journals) influenced and mediated critical reflective practice, and (3) examining the link between reflection and action.

There were two major findings. First, the use of multiple methods to engage in reflection was found to be critical to encourage and support effective, rich reflection. Second, teachers changed the conceptualization of their professional relationships and of reflective practice. When their collaborative reflections were put into action, change in professional relationships and practices occurred.

From these findings, two themes emerged. The first theme encompassed the relational and structural aspects of the reflective setting that influenced reflective practice. The second theme involved the use of multiple tools or methods that mediated their processes. Included in the discussion are the ways structural and relational features of the school setting (and research design) influenced teachers’ ability to engage in continual reflection leading toward new knowledge, skills and dispositions. The use of diverse tools was shown to contribute to the participants’ abilities to reflect deeply and critically. Implications for the practice of collaborative reflective practice in early childhood settings include the reorganization of the school context to insure time, space and methods that promote shared reflective experiences.

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