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an ambiguous term. They also think that this ambiguity and complexity makes it hard to grasp for pre-service teachers. It is not any easier to promote reflection among experienced teachers either, as they have their own conceptualizations of teaching that they think have worked so far and will resist against new ideas (Hatton & Smith, 1995). What should be added is that if the program is not implemented properly, reflection will turn into just another technique to improve and assess teaching. This, in turn, might even discourage good teaching because assessment usually involves observation and reporting, and there is no guarantee that the observer will “reflect” in the same way as the observee. As a result, she will evaluate the teacher based on her own reflections (Halliday, 1998).
Another concern with reflection is the way teachers reflect. There are many researchers who distrust reflective programs that promote only individual reflection. Lord and Lomicka (2007) believe that reflection is a social process and common experinces and feedbacks can foster the effects of the program. In their research, which was aided by asynchronous CMC (Computer-mediated communication), they claim to have achieved deeper reflection on the side of the participants. Halliday (1998), too, drawing on Bakhtin’s teachings that “there is no such thing as personal or private theory where someone transmits her meaning to another without interference as it were” (p. 599), finds reflection a social process. He argues that public norms and personal motives are not separate, and if reflection and theorizing continues on a personal basis, it will not end in the production of knowledge. In addition, Vacilotto and Cummings (2007) found that teachers’ different backgrounds and experiences made their collective reflection enriching. Gilliss (1988), too, had earlier warned against the threat of non-collective reflection. In her own words, “there is a danger in the reflection-in-action approach of creating wholly idiosyncratic practitioners whose primary way of operating is to invent unique solutions to problem Uniqueness, carried to extremes, is a barrier to the development and sharing of knowledge” (p. 50).
Regardless of the above-mentioned concerns, reflective teaching can be highly advantageous. Some tecaher educators associate certain aspects of reflection with self-efficacy. Colton and Sparks-Langer (1993) believe that critical reflection makes teachers consider multiple perspectives while evaluating the long-term social and moral impacts of decisions. One result of such reflection, according to them, is the development of self-efficacy. On the advantages of reflective teaching, Korthagen (1993) states:
In our view, an important result of a systematic training in reflective teaching is the development of the capacity for self-directed learning, so that young teachers are no longer dependent solely on their teacher educators. There are several reasons for helping teachers to acquire this capacity for self-directed learning. First, the fast pace of educational change makes it impossible to prepare teachers for every situation they will face during their career (comp. Combs et al., 1974, p. 60). Second, teachers should be helped to play a role in this educational change. Thus, the capacity for reflection, innovation and self-directed learning are closely related. Third, the capacity for self-directed learning can contribute to job satisfaction and prevent teacher burn-out (Wubbles and Korthagen, 1990). Finally, we believe that the development of reflective teaching and self-directed learning is not only an important goal for teacher education practice but for other aspects of education as well. Teachers can set an example to their pupils by sharing with them some of their own reflection. (p. 136)
Korthagen and Wubbles (2001), having conducted four research studies on reflective teaching, list characteristics of reflective teachers:
* A reflective teacher is capable of consciously structuring situations and problems, and considers it important to do so.
* A reflective teacher uses certain standard questions when structuring experiences.
* A reflective teacher can easily answer the question of what he or she wants to learn.
* A reflective teacher can adequately describe and analyze his or her own functioning in the interpersonal relationships with others. (pp. 133-137)
Since reflection is viewed as education for life (Zeichner & Liston, 1996), reflective teachers are expected to question the goals and values that guide their work, to probe into the context of their work, and to examine their assumptions all the time.
Ever since its introduction, reflective teaching has been the subject of numerous theses and research papers. Few researchers, however, have sought to discover its relationship with teachers’ self-efficacy. None, on the other hand, have considered and investigated teacher personality as a variable related to the degree of reflection.
A widely quoted research done on the relationship between teacher’s reflection and efficacy is probably the most extensive one. Made up of five separate studies and taking over 10 years to complete, it was entitled Characteristics of reflective practitioners: Towards an operationalization of the concept of reflection and was conducted by Korthagen and Wubbels (1995). As Korthagen and Wubbels believed that “it is worthwhile to pursue reflection in teaching only to the extent that it contributes to better teaching” (p. 51), they first tried to find out (1) what good teaching is, and (2) what the role and nature of reflection in good teaching is. They believed that once they had found answers for these questions, they could decide (3) what the crucial attributes which distinguish reflective teachers from their colleagues are, which is a more important question.
To answer the first two questions, they carried out a research on the students of the mathematics department in a teacher education college in Netherlands called SOL. The program, which lasted for 4.5 years, prepared teachers for secondary school. The researchers reconstructed the views of the staff of the mathematics department (10 to 13 teacher educators) focusing on secondary education and teacher education. Then they verified the reconstruction by means of a study among graduates of the SOL program, who were asked to give the characteristics of their preparation program.
To answer question one, it was concluded that good teaching is learning oriented, where the teacher presents real and concrete problems, which are approached by students by means of analysis, structuring and the testing of alternative solutions. Education should pay due amount of attention to problem solving, collaborative learning, metacognitive strategies and learning how to learn. In good teaching, the relationship between a teacher and a student is a helping and cooperative one, where the teacher offers a climate of security and challenge. Teachers are able to analyze and develop their interpersonal relationships with the students, and are aware of their own strong and weak points.
As for the second question, it was concluded that the nature of reflection is as follows:
Action: confrontation with a concrete situation which requires action
Looking at or looking back on the situation (analysis)
Awareness of essential aspects
Creation of alternative solutions or methods of action
Trial (p. 55)
This model, known as ALACT after the initial letters of the five phases (action, looking, awareness, creation, and trial) , is a spiral one where phase five also forms the first phase of a new cycle. Based on this model, Korthagen and Wubbles defined reflection as “the mental process of structuring or restructuring an experience, a problem or existing knowledge or insight” (p. 55).
In search of an answer for the third question, Korthagen and Wubbles carried out four studies within the framework of SOL program. Based on the results of the first study, the researchers could distinguish between two different types of orientations towards learning: Internally oriented practitioners versus externally oriented practitioners. According to them, internally oriented practitioners prefer to use their own knowledge and values in order to structure problems and experiences. Conversely, externally oriented practitioners ask for guidelines and structuring from outside.
The second study, with a longitudinal design, started in 1984 and continued until the publication of their paper, 1995. They followed a group of 18 students during their teacher preparation, using questionnaires, interviews, and video recordings of supervisory conferences. They also interviewed their teacher educators on a regular basis, asking them to fill out questionnaires about the student teachers. The results of this study, too, discriminated between internally and externally oriented student teachers. The results also
showed that after one and a half years, most of the externally oriented student teachers in the research group of 18 had left the SOL program. Although this was often due to poor results in mathematics, the fact that the structure they desired was lacking appeared to be a major motive for the decision to drop out. Of the 18 student teachers in the group, 8 gave up their studies before the end of the second year. (p. 56)
The conclusion they drew was that “internally oriented practitioners might be termed reflective practitioners” (p. 55).
In the third study, Korthagen and Wubbles devised two questionnaires to measure internal/external orientations (IEO) of student teachers and practicing teachers. Version one, with six sub-scales, measured internal/external learning orientations of student teachers in the following domains: (1) the prospective teacher herself/himself (2) the fellow student teachers, and (3) the subject matter

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