The Meaning of Reflective Teaching to National Board Certified Teachers
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This qualitative study examined how National Board certified teachers (NBCTs) perceive the meaning of reflective teaching and how their perceptions compare to the literature on reflective thinking and teaching. The study included five participants who had completed the National Board certification process. Data collection included three interviews, a classroom observation, and a critical-incident writing sample. Data analysis included a recursive process of analyzing and comparing data from the interview transcripts, observation notes, and critical-incident writing samples as well as a continuous process of comparing data to extant literature on reflective thinking and teaching.
The study findings identify how the NBCTs define reflective teaching, incorporate reflective activities in their instructional practices, utilize various tools to record and develop reflection, perceive the characteristics and benefits of reflective teaching, engage in levels of reflection, and perceive their experiences in the National Board certification process in relation to their current reflective practices. The study findings also explain how the NBCTs’ perceptions and evidence of reflective teaching compares to the literature on reflective thinking and teaching.
The following conclusions were based on the interpretations of the data presented in this study.
- The NBCTs perceived the National Board certification process as helping them improve their reflective practices.
- After completion of the certification process, the NBCTs continued to display attributes of the NBPTS five core propositions in their reflective practices.
- The NBCTs demonstrated that reflective thinking leads to professional growth.
- The NBCTs engaged in self-reflection on instructional practices before considering reflection with colleagues.
- A focus on student-centered reflection led NBCTs to engage in higher levels of reflective thinking.
- Reflection at higher levels requires instruction and practice.
- The NBCTs demonstrated Dewey’s theory of reflective thinking.
- The NBCTs engaged in Schön’s reflection in-action and reflection on-action.
- The NBCTs perceived the primary benefit of reflection is the improvement of student learning.
- The tools that the NBCTs use for recording and developing reflective thinking were influenced by time constraints and practicality.
This study presents recommendations for changes to the National Board certification process and for school leaders seeking to increase teachers’ reflective thinking and teaching.