Science teachers’ conceptualisation of professional reflective practice: a reconstruction of the impact of pre-service interaction with lecturing staff
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This study explores the formative basis of the professional reflective practice of in-service science teachers through their reconstruction of their pre-service interaction with lecturing staff. The study reports through the voice of graduates of the Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Teaching double degree program of Avondale College, NSW who are currently practising in the classroom setting. Through these narratives the study focuses on mechanisms for the development of professional reflective modalities; and the levels of coherence between lecturers’ actual practice of reflective, critical thinking and in-service teacher’s conceptualisation of professional reflection that informs the development of their present professional reflective aptitudes, understandings and practices.Teacher participants report a gradual process of the development of their reflective practice in their initial training. This development lacked any consistent pattern amongst the cohort. A significant increase in the frequency and level of reflection occurred subsequent to their first major practicum, which also saw their first major engagement of mentoring by academic staff. Participants reported that other training activities and processes associated with reflective practice were substantially abandoned in practice once they left the course. The study reports a strong linkage of deep reflective activities and high personal connection with academic staff. Academics who significantly engaged their students cognitively, emotionally and spiritually also engaged their students in a participative community that involved them in meaningful dialogue. These relationships exhibit an innate contagion of modelling practice; a relatively unintentional and automatic mimicking and convergence of the practices of another. The voice of participating teachers reported in this study that the degree of personal connection with academic staff appears to be the central significant factor on the development of reflective practice in their undergraduate years.Participants in this study noted the significance of the mentor-mentee relationship in building repertoires of professional practice. Active modelling by academic staff was reported by teacher participants in the transmission of ethical values, lifestyle standards, and reflective practices. Most participants in this study reported a positive demonstration of reflective practice by those lecturers they identified as being significant in their development as a person and as an emerging professional teacher.
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