Teacher as Reflective Practitioner and Researcher

Topics: Educational psychology, Research, Teacher Pages: 11 (3677 words) Published: March 17, 2011
Teaching profession can be exciting and rewarding, but also very challenging. Teachers-to-be study hard and learn a lot about the ‘basics’ of teaching – curriculum, assessment and pedagogy. The courses include theories about and models of growth and development, teaching and learning, motivation, behavior and pedagogy. Those theories are important because the reality is that children grow up differently and learn in different ways. That is part of the wonder and challenge of teaching. To cope with the challenge, theories and models provide the basic ingredients for the development of a personal philosophy of learning and teaching. The development of a personal philosophy of learning and teaching and an accompanying model of classroom management will smoothen the teacher’s obligation and handling of students. Without a reasonably consistent and well-grounded theoretical approach to classroom management the teacher may face increasingly difficult student behaviors and unlikely to establish or maintain positive learning environment. No topic terrifies beginning teachers, and some experienced teachers, more than classroom management. Still, teachers have an enormous responsibility and challenge to plan, implement and review effective teaching and learning programs, to create positive learning environments, and to promote positive behaviours. Therefore, in developing the professionalism of teaching, the notion of teachers as reflective practitioners and researchers is central to the improvement of practice. When teachers reflect upon their practices, recognize their professional development needs, introduce and evaluate changes and assist others in this process, or participate in system-wide innovation and evaluation, they acknowledge the importance of lifelong learning and professional growth. Questions start to bombard : How do teachers become competent quality practitioners? What can they do to answer the questions- What should work? What works? What doesn’t work? What should I change and develop? If a teacher, as a member of a constantly developing profession, is to be a lifelong learner, how can this continuing process of professional change and development be supported?

Being a reflective practitioner is the first step of personal professional development apart from being an action researcher. This essay paper will critically reviews at the concept of the teacher as reflective practitioner and researcher, and as a participant in the challenging task of effecting meaningful change and development in their professional practices, those of their colleagues, and in the learning outcomes of their students. I will also discuss why teacher reflection on and research into classroom and behavior management are so important, and then look at action research as a preferred strategy for addressing some of the many professional needs of classroom teachers.

‘Reflection is the process of honestly appraising your beliefs and actions’ (Henley, 2006). Being a reflective practitioner empowers individual to look inward and examine his or her beliefs and values about behaviours, particularly in the context of their philosophy of learning and teaching(Arthur-kelly et al., 2003). To be reflective teachers, they must look for explanations of students’ behaviours – not just finding the ways to make them stop doing their misbehaviours in classroom. Based on my reading and research, there are three reasons that should coerce teachers to be wary about their beliefs on, and practices of, classroom and behavior management. These reasons are predicated on the concept of professional reflection (Hatton & Smith, 1995, Kauffman, Mostert, Trent & Pullen, 2006) or ‘critical reflection and analysis’ (Sinclair, Munns & Woodward, 2005) and the notion that ‘research and development must become an essential...

References: Arthur-kelly, A. , Lyons, G. , Butterfield, N. & Gordon, C. (2003). Classroom management : creating positive learning environment. Australia : Cengage Learning Australia Pty Limited.
Cohen, L. , Manion, L. & Morrison, K. (2000). Research methods in education (5th edn). London : Routledge.
Diezmann, C. M. (2005). Growing scholarly teachers and educational researchers : A curriculum for a Research Pathway in pre-service teacher education. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 33, 2, 181-93.
Henley, M. (2006). Classroom Management : A proactive approach. NJ: Merrill Prentice Hall.
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Landrum, T. J., Cook, B. G., Tankersley, M. & Fitzgerald, S. (2002). Teachers’ perceptions of the trustworthiness, useability, and accessibility of information from different sources. Remedial and Special Education, 42-8.
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Sinclair, C., Munns, G. & Woodward, H. (2005). Get real: making problematic the pathway into the teaching profession. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 209-22.
Spedding, S. (2005). The role of teachers in successful inclusion. Chapter 10 in P. Foreman(Ed) Inclusion in action (3rd edn). Melbourne: Thomson.
Zanting, A., Verloop, N. & Vermut, J.D. (2001). Preservice teachers eliciting mentors’ practical knowledge and comparing it with their own beliefs. Teaching and Teacher Education, 17, 725-40.
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