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Title: Examining the development of critical awareness through reflective writing : a case study of a group of ITE students
Author: Al-Mutawa, Mohamed Taher
ISNI:       0000 0004 5357 9263
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2014
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Reflective practice training is one of the main skills fostered by Initial Teacher Education (ITE) around the world in order to prepare the student teachers for future continuous professional development. In the United Kingdom the student teachers are required to provide evidence of their reflective practice during their course placement as an essential standard of the Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). This standard is usually measured through assessing the students' lesson evaluations in their portfolio. Writing lesson evaluations represents a form of developing the skill of reflection and the reflective thinking of new teachers on their teaching practice. This research investigates the development of critical awareness of the student teachers through assessing their reflective writing based on the model of Hatton and Smith (1995). To investigate this issue, the research examines the work of great thinkers of cognitive learning and critical thinking such as Jean Piaget, lev Vygotsky, Jerome Bruner, Paulo Freire and Jack Mezirow as the theoretical underpinning of the study. The legacy of these scholars provided the basis for further investigation into experiential learning and reflection. The discussion was narrowed down to focus on the concepts of reflective thinking and reflective writing in the relevant research literature. The methodology is a case study of a group of five student teachers who were doing a one year PGCE/GTP Secondary Mathematics course at the University of Reading in the academic year 2011/2012. The research tools were two questionnaires: one administered at the beginning of the research, which investigated the participants' pre-conception about reflection and reflective practice. The second questionnaire was conducted at the end of the research period and explored the participants' views about the whole experience of writing lesson evaluations. The second research instrument was the submitted lesson evaluations that recorded the students' thoughts and reflections about their teaching practice. Finally, two sets of interviews were conducted to explore in depth the participants' skills of reflection on their practice. The initial findings showed different themes related to the participants' understanding of reflection before they start the research. Most of them perceived the concept of reflection unconsciously and they showed evidence of being able to reflect mainly on the problematic situations. The analysis of lesson evaluations showed that all students could provide evidence fortheir development in reflective writing based on the model of Hatton and Smith up to the level of Dialogic reflection. The research explored the factors that influenced their development in reflective writing such as experience, time and the format of lesson evaluation used. The study identifies areas for development for the tutoring and mentoring of the student teachers on these courses regarding future training to develop their reflective writing skills, and the need to provide regular feedback about the students' lesson evaluations during placement.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available