Chapter One Introduction
1.1 Background of the study
Teacher professional development and in-service training have attached increasing interest in recentyears. Teacher professional development and continuing education have been stressed by recent educationreform efforts, and it is extensively accepted that teachers’ professional development stretch over the entireoccupation career (McIntyre & Byrd, 1998). Faced with rapid change and demands for high standards,teachers must be involved in continued learning to become more effective in today’s schools. As thecomplexity and interdependency of professions increase, educators must keep abreast of emergingknowledge, and be prepared to use it, continually refining their conceptual and craft skills to become morecompetent (Cervero, 1988; Guskey, 2000; Houle, 1980).Teacher professional development is studied and presented in the relevant literature in many differentways. But always at the core of such endeavors is the understanding that professional development is aboutteachers learning, learning how to learn, and transforming their knowledge into practice for the benefit oftheir students’ growth. Teacher professional learning is a complex process, which requires cognitive andemotional involvement of teachers individually and collectively, the capacity and willingness to examinewhere each one stands in terms of convictions and beliefs and perusal and enactment of appropriatealternatives for improvement or change. All this occurs in particular educational policy environments orschool cultures, some of which are more appropriate and conductive to learning than others. Theinstruments used to trigger development also depend on the objectives and needs of teachers as well as oftheir students. Thus formal structures such as courses and work shops may serve some purposes, whileinvolvement in the production of curricula, the discussion of assessment data or the sharing of strategiesmay serve other purposes. Not every form of professional development, even those with the greatestevidence of positive impact, is of itself relevant to all teachers. There is thus a constant need to study,experiment, discuss and reflect in dealing with teacher professional development on the interacting linksand influences of the history and traditions of groups of teachers, the educational needs of their studentpopulations, the expectations of their education systems, teachers’ working conditions and the opportunitiesto learn that are open to them.
1.2 Purpose of the study
The present study in an attempt to combine the theory of reflective teaching with the practice ofEnglish teaching so as to find out the current situation of reflective teaching conducted among high schoolEnglish teachers and the factors influencing reflective teaching, how do high school English teachers doreflective thinking in their teaching to promote their professional development in Long Xi County.Therefore, this study aims to offer support and assistance for teachers’ professional development andinformation for teacher-training organization.
Chapter Two Literature Review
2.1 The definition of reflection
A few researchers have tried to define the concept of reflection over the past decades. Dewey definedreflection as an “active, persistent, and careful consideration of any belief or supposed form of knowledgein the light of the grounds that support it and the future conclusion to which it tends”(Dewey, 1993: 9).Schon (1987) divided reflection into two major processes: reflection -on -action and reflection -in -action.Besides, Moon (1999) argued that reflection for action is where learners reflect, based on the previousexperiences, before the actual action, which then leads them to future action.
2.2 Studies on the history and the present situation of reflective teaching
To have a right and all-round comprehension towards reflective teaching, we must first review thehistory in its development because the formation and development of reflective teaching is a long process. The early studies about reflective teaching are British Loke and Spinoza, from which one had thedetailed elaboration on the reflection. But most experts who go in for the reflective teaching studies allconsider Dewey as the first forefather; they thought it was he who was the first person to make theelaboration on the reflection. Dewey presented his principal ideas about reflective teaching in the bookHow we think, he believes “active, persistent, and careful consideration of any belief or supposed form ofknowledge in the light of the grounds that support it and the further conclusions to which it tends,constitutes reflective thought” (Dewey, 1993:9). So Dewey stresses that the reflective teachers have thecompetence of three kinds of mind: open-mindedness, responsibility, whole-heartedness in the reflectiveteaching. He was also the first person to regard teachers as reflective practitioners that can play asignificant role in new curriculum reform and educational reform. Since then, the reflective practice hasbeen influenced by each philosophy and methodology theory. Berlak (1981) defined reflective teaching by describing reflection. He thought that reflection was acritical ability of examining its own actions and situations to call for considerations of moral and ethicalproblems. In other words, reflective teaching not only technically questions or evaluates the effectivenessof the teaching, but also asks teachers to carefully consider the ethical significance of their teachingpractice and will improve their teaching behavior based on the insight.Cruickshank et al (1981) considered the reflective teaching as a process that the English teachersemploy different ways to cope with the classroom situation, to achieve the same end he carried on differentmethods, its aim is to spur the teacher unceasingly to put forward “what” and “why” questions, and toemanate their teaching conception and the thinking of teaching practice.
Chapter Three Theoretical Framework......... 15
3.1 Constructivism ......... 15
3.2 Teacher professional development ....... 16
3.3 Teacher reflection versus reflective teaching ..... 17
3.4 Summary.... 20
Chapter Four Research Design......... 21
4.1 Research questions.......... 21
4.2 Subjects...... 21
4.3 Instruments........ 22
4.4 Research procedures ....... 25
4.5 Data collection and analysis.......... 25
Chapter Five Results and Discussion ...... 26
5.1 Situation of reflective teaching conducted among high school English teachers ...... 26
5.2 Factors affecting reflective teaching .... 39
5.2.1 Subjective factors........ 40
5.2.2 Objective factors ......... 41
5.3 Approaches high school English teachers do reflective thinking.......... 41
5.4 Summary.... 46
Chapter Five Results and Discussion
5.1 Situation of reflective teaching conducted among high school English teachers
The first research question of this study is: what is the present situation of reflective teachingconducted among high school English teachers? In the present study, the first question involves teachers’awareness of reflective teaching, the content of reflective teaching and strategies of reflective teaching, andit was answered by questionnaire, interview. The detailed analysis is stated in the following sections. Study on the awareness of reflective teaching in this research principally incorporates teachers’comprehension towards reflective teaching, the impacts of their reflective teaching, their reflectiveobjective and usual practices in their generally teaching. Table 5.1 is a descriptive statistics of high schoolEnglish teachers’ awareness of reflective teaching showing the percentage of every chosen item and themean point of every question.
Based on previous studies done by others, the study intends to find out the present position ofreflective teaching conducted among high school English teachers, the factors affecting reflective teachingamong high school English teachers, and how do high school English teachers do reflective thinking intheir teaching to facilitate their professional development. The present situation of reflective teaching conducted among high school English teachers is not sosatisfactory, and many aspects in this field need to be further improved. First, most teachers realized theimportance and function of the awareness of reflective teaching, but they hold one-sided view to theunderstanding of reflective teaching and lacked the consciousness and habit to apply the sense of reflectiveteaching to teaching practice. Second, teaching values, practice and environments could be reflectedcomprehensive by teachers, the content of reflection involved reflection on teaching values, aims, contents,means, evaluation , physical and psychological environment, but some teachers also held one-sided viewtoward teaching values. Some novice teachers might have some shortcomings on reflection of ways ofteaching. Third, channels of reflection via colleagues and students were adopted by most of teachers, lessonobservation and evaluation ranks were the most commonly used methods of reflection followed by casestudy, which were applied by high school English teachers of Long Xi Country. Fourth, it was significantlydifferent to the teachers in terms of different length of service as a teacher, academic credentials,professional title and school type on the awareness, content, and strategies of reflective teaching, whichindicated that teachers’ individual background could influence all the various aspects of reflective teaching.