Date of Award

12-15-2007

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Degree Program

Curriculum & Instruction

Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Major Professor

Beford, April

Second Advisor

McHugh, Patricia

Third Advisor

Davis-Haley, Rachel

Fourth Advisor

Killacky, Cecil J.

Fifth Advisor

Casbergue, Renee

Abstract

The purpose of this interpretative qualitative study was to explore the role of critical and collaborative reflection in the professional development of novice teachers. This study addressed the research question: What role does critical and collaborative reflection with experienced teachers play in the professional development of novice teachers? Participants in this study were three novice (0-5 years of experience) elementary teachers and three experienced (more than 10 years of experience) elementary teachers. Data were collected through interviews, an initial individual interview and a post focus group interview, written reflections submitted weekly for seven weeks by participants in response to researcher-provided prompts as well as the dialogical comments between participants in response to one another. The transcribed interviews and the teachers' reflections submitted via an electronic discussion board were coded and analyzed for content-related themes and levels of reflection. Matrices and rubrics were used to compare data across participants, interviews, discussion board reflections, and comments/dialogue. The data analysis process was inductive and holistic. Analysis of the data revealed emerging themes, categories, and patterns (Maxwell, 2005). Findings were presented as a set of themes and a description of the teachers' levels of reflective writing in an effort to illustrate the evolution of these teachers' thoughts before, during, and after participation in the collaborative discussion board. Findings were validated through triangulation of data and member checks as well as comparing findings with existing theory (Maxwell, 2005). Four themes, perspective, environment, teacher input, and resourcefulness, consistently emerged throughout the data. An expanded perspective was identified by these teachers as the overall benefit they reap from participating in critical reflection. The participants expressed that a supportive environment which fosters reflection and is conducive to change helps maintain professional growth and development and reduces feelings of isolation. Additionally, the participants wanted to be recognized as stakeholders who were included in the conception and planning of their professional development. The participants agreed that their past experiences combined with their personalities and current teaching environments often dictate the role reflection plays in their professional development. To further analyze the data, two rubrics were utilized to identify instances within the responses which exemplified Dewey's (1933) reflective dispositions and van Manen's (1977) levels of reflection as well as levels of reflective writing based on research in the area of computer-mediated communications and teacher reflection. The findings were situated within recent research as well as within a comprehensive conceptual lens comprised of Schön's (1987) theory of reflective thought, Dewey's (1903) reflective dispositions and phases of reflection, and van Manen's (1977) levels of reflection. Implications for theory and practice as well as recommendations for further research were also discussed.

Rights

The University of New Orleans and its agents retain the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible this dissertation or thesis in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation.

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