Reflecting upon reflection: theory and practice in one Australian University teacher education program
Over the past 20 years the teaching profession has embraced the notion of the teacher as ‘reflective practitioner'. This has led to an increased emphasis on teacher action research and teachers reflecting-in-action with resultant increased respect for ‘teaching craft knowledge', and more recently incentives by research funding bodies to enhance researcher/classroom teacher partnerships. In pre-service teacher education programs students are encouraged to reflect on their teaching experiences and to consider what they can do to improve their performance. However in practice many of these metacognitive rambles are token observations focused on minor technical aspects of their teaching. At the University of Newcastle in Australia convenors of three program have worked together to continually update the reflective practices of the students involved in practical teaching experiences. This article presents developing strategies to assist student teachers better manage their role as reflective practitioners. Reflecting upon our reflection raised questions crucial to the training of pre-service teachers including; What are the key skills of a beginning teacher's practical experience? Does the traditional teacher trainee program do enough to prepare the pre-service teacher for practical experience? What is the role of critical reflection in pre-service practical experience? Is reflection on the complexity of the teaching experience possible?
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