Principles and practice of reflective teaching in the pre-service teacher education programme of Malaysian teacher training colleges
The aim of this study is to investigate how the pre-service teacher education programme in Malaysian Teacher Training Colleges inculcates the skills of reflective teaching in prospective teachers. This aim is pursued by examining the perceptions of teacher educators, co-operating teachers, student teachers and newly qualified teachers from three Teacher Training Colleges in Peninsular Malaysia. A combination ~f qualitative and quantitative research methods was used. These are questionnaires, interviews and document analysis. Different sets ~f questionnaires and interviews were used with all the four groups of participants. The thesis consists of three parts. Part One (Chapters 1 to 5), deals with the literature on reflective practice and highlights how the notion of reflective teaching has become popular in pre-service teacher education programmes in English speaking countries and elsewhere. Part Two (Chapters 6 to 10), describes the research methodology of the study and examines the research data in order to answer some specific questions concerning the way in which preservice teacher education in Malaysia inculcates the skills of reflective teaching and the way in which Malaysian student teachers develop reflective teaching skills during their initial training. In Part Three (Chapters 11-12), several impediments to nurturing reflective teaching skills in student teachers are identified and some recommendations for improving the pre-service teacher programme so as to successfully nurture reflective teaching skills in student teachers are made. Briefly, these are to: (i) develop a programme to stimulate an attitude of inquiry and reflection in student teachers; (ii) ensure that present methods (micro teaching, 'Kerja Kursus Secara Projek' (KKSP), journal writing and clinical supervision) are geared more explicitly to inculcating reflective teaching skills; (iii) encourage teacher educators as well as co-operating teachers to be reflective practitioners; (iv) strengthen the triadic relationship (student teachers - teacher educators - co-operating teachers) in order to promote reflective teaching effectively; (v) introduce action research as a formal way of developing reflection, (vi) promote and sustain critical reflection among teachers and educators. In general terms, the research indicates that the Malaysian pre-service teacher education programme would more effectively foster reflective teaching if various agencies work in a more integrated way. These agencies are: the Teacher Education Division of the Ministry of Education (which acts as a source of directives); the school (which provides a place for teaching practice); the teacher educators and co-operating teachers (who mediate the reflective teaching processes); the initial training institutions (which provide the source of inculcating action research, and fostering reflective attitudes amongst student teachers). It is necessary for all of these agencies to complement and supplement each other if the aim of nurturing reflective teaching skills in Malaysian student teachers is to be successfully achieved.