Teachers Reflecting on their Work: Articulating What is Said About What is Done

Apr. 15, 2008

Source Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, Volume 14, Issue 2
April 2008 , pages 95 - 114

Teachers' written reflections on their work, which report on a change in their practice, were the object of this research. Taking teachers' articulation of their plans and actions in teacher journals as our source, this study's aim is twofold: (1) to describe how teacher reflect in a self-initiated and non-framed way on their own practice, and (2) to review teacher self generated reflections in reference to models of reflection.

In this way, we tried to disclose what precisely teachers write (said) when reflecting on their work (did) in order to appreciate their way of describing what matters in their work; and position this in reference to models that conceptualise (“talk”) on how to actualise ('walk') reflection. This 'double' articulation of reflection is gauged in two ways, i.e., on: a) completeness, that is, whether it includes relevant components of reflection (models) to be found in the literature, and on b) recursiveness, that is, whether the written account gives evidence of an integrated cyclical, i.e., recursive process of re-view, which appraises and looks back on what has been accomplished.

The results show that teachers do not work along the lines identified in current reflection models (i.e. providing clear problem definition, searching for evidence, planning for change, and reviewing plans). Instead, many teachers use a narrative and valuing appraisal of their accomplishments; not so much cautiously reviewing their actions but prospectively commenting on plans and solutions for future action. The data lead us to be cautious about the prominence of reflection models as advocated in the literature to be applied to teachers' written accounts of their practice.

Updated: Nov. 23, 2008