Effects of Communities of Reflecting Peers on Student-teacher Development - including in-depth Case Studies

From Section:
Preservice Teachers
Nov. 10, 2010

Source: Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, Volume 16, Issue 6, 2010, p. 679 - 701.

The current study on reflection and peer feedback is part of an ongoing action research addressing the design and pedagogical model of a theoretically oriented teacher training course.
The course comprised face-to-face lessons followed by written reflections of the student-teachers concerning their learning experiences. These reflections were presented for peer feedback - thereby initiating a community of reflecting peers ('co-reflection') - and were additionally subjected to instructor feedback under two conditions (full vs. diluted).
Student-teachers' perception of their professional development that resulted from these co-reflecting communities were quantitatively evaluated (using a self-reported questionnaire) over a three-year period.

An enhanced positive effect over the three-year period was found as well as significant differences between parallel groups (higher for science vs. mathematics student-teachers).
The case studies reported inclusive analysis of the students' written reflections and feedback. It provides an insight into the processes of co-reflection, identifies changes over time in the quality of reflections and feedback, as well as in the personal, professional and social development of the student-teachers, attempting to identify the mechanisms leading to these changes.

The case studies reveal two developmental models, one of external orientation and the other internal. These are characterized by a willing receiver and willing donor, respectively.
The importance of a 'maturity interval', when the student is 'ripe' for developmental change, was also demonstrated. Offering an appropriate trigger at this mature point may stimulate crucial development.

Teacher development is further interpreted in terms of interpersonal variables.
This article may encourage teacher educators and student-teachers themselves to incorporate co-reflecting in their course planning and community planning.

Updated: Jan. 17, 2017
Action research | Community of practice | Feedback | Peer assessment | Professional development | Reflection | Teaching methods