Source: Action in Teacher Education, v. 30 no. 4 (Winter 2009) p. 18-27.
In an effort to promote a critical reflective stance in the beginning teacher, this study developed an instructional model for preservice teachers at the undergraduate level.
The authors' assumptions were that this assignment would help student teachers develop a readiness to engage in professional inquiry and that it would foster the development of a professional practice based on a critical reflective stance.
The sample consisted of students in two sections of a student teaching seminar course taken during their last semester of undergraduate course work. The work took place at a comprehensive medium-size university in south Texas, with 87% of the student population of Mexican ethnicity.
The first section included a combination of 25 student teachers from the high school, middle school, and all-level (kinesiology, art, and music) programs: 21 who were preparing to become physical education teachers in K-12 schools; 3, middle schools mathematics teachers; and 1, a high school biology teacher.
The second student teaching seminar presented here consisted of 28 students enrolled in the early childhood program. Students were given the option of collaborating in their action research. Of the 28 students, 16 chose to work in collaborative pairs, yielding a total of 20 action research projects (8 projects done by pairs, 12 by individuals).
This study evolved through an action research approach to develop the instructional model, which spanned three semesters. As such, the article focuses on a description of the instructional model that emerged from the process, and it presents an analysis of the outcomes, as well as implications for further study and practice in teacher education.
The authors found that the participants engaged in high levels of reflectivity traditionally not found at the undergraduate level.
The authors maintain that the use of action research during the student teaching practicum is an important tool for promoting student inquiry and reflection. The interns bridged theory to practice and became skilled in utilizing action research as teacher researchers, thus enabling their critical thinking skills to grow and to deepen.