Action Research And Embodied Reflection In Preservice Secondary Teacher Education
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This study investigated three Griffith University Masters of Teaching preservice secondary teachers’ experiences with action research and embodied reflection. A multiple case study approach gathered data on participants’ action research projects at key moments over the course of one semester to identify their reflective development. Thus, data was collected in the following order: • Prior to participants’ field teaching experience • During their action research investigations • At the end of their action research projects and field teaching practicum Because the study focussed on multiple participants’ specific experience with action research, a multiple case study theoretical framework was the methodology used to guide data collection. In data analysis, grounded theory methods were used to identify and triangulate themes that emerged from participants’ experience during the study (Orona 1997; Strauss & Corbin 1997). Thus, case study was the theoretical framework of the investigation and grounded theory was the best method available to interpret the data collected in accordance with qualitative research traditions (Burns 2000; Denzin & Lincoln 1994; Simons 2009). Since the study sought to understand participant development of reflective capacity through action research, qualitative data regarding the participants’ values, beliefs, attitudes and feelings associated with their experience are explored to discover their views in action and application in the classroom (Burns 2000; Stake 2005; Yin 2003). This study sought to examine the literature surrounding action research, praxis and higher order embodied reflection in preservice secondary teacher education. Specifically, it contributes to the educational literature surrounding action research impacts on participants’ development of reflective practice during their practicum teaching experience. Second, it demonstrated that action research did not generate praxis or higher order reflection in study participants at any time as their learning with action research hit a plateau during their field teaching experience. The major findings indicated that participants’ improved their reflective capacity at a rudimentary and technical level, however they completed their action research projects without developing praxis or higher order reflection in their pedagogical practice. This emerged from the data as one of the key factors in participants’ action research, namely that they improved reflective capacity at a rudimentary technical level but did not develop praxis or higher order reflective capacity through action research. Next, another key factor to participant development of reflective capacity was verbal mentor evaluations. In this study, the participants engaged in verbal mentor evaluation as a form of mistaken reflection and this undermined their capacity to move towards higher realms of active, and embodied reflection. In other words, participants mistakenly used verbal evaluations from experienced mentor teachers as a form of reflection and that had a negative influence on participant development of praxis and reflective behaviour. This study pinpoints a gap that exists in the educational literature between preservice teacher reflection in theory and reflection in practice, and highlights the actual reflective behaviours of participants when they use action research during their practicum teaching experience. The study finds that Griffith University could further scaffold and ensure praxis and higher order reflection were achieved by participant’s through action research. Since higher order reflection and a praxis orientation must be taught, engaged in, and acquired, teacher education programs have a responsibility to ensure that their preservice teachers engage in action research appropriately (Boud 2001; Walkington 2005). In order for participants to bridge the gap between action and research, Carr and Kemmis (1986), Coghlan and Brannick (2005) argue praxis and higher order reflection skills must be the essential ingredients taught and emphasised in preservice teacher education in order to cultivate quality action research.
Thesis (PhD Doctorate)
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
School of Education and Professional Studies
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