Supporting the development of preservice science teachers’ reflectivity using action learning and the diagnostic teaching cycle: A case study

Gourlay, Helen (2019) Supporting the development of preservice science teachers’ reflectivity using action learning and the diagnostic teaching cycle: A case study. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Abstract

This study concerns the development of science preservice teachers (PSTs) on a university-schools partnership Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) course in England. The topic is of interest owing to the shortage of science teachers, and a concern that science PSTs progress less well on the course than PSTs of other specialisms. This work details a case study of an intervention undertaken with PSTs during the course, on which I was a tutor. Prior research suggests that science teachers are not very reflective, and I hypothesised that this lack of reflectivity may account for their difficulty on a course which adopts a reflective practitioner model. The whole group of 38 science PSTs took part in an intervention designed to support development of reflection, of whom eight volunteered to participate in the research. Seminars about two key elements of the intervention, the diagnostic teaching cycle and action learning (AL), took place in the university setting at four points between October 2016 and April 2017. Data collected include audio recordings of AL sets; written reflective journals, analyses of critical incidents, and action plans; and school mentors’ reviews and reports of participants’ teaching. I investigated participants’ reflectivity using Zwozdiak-Myers’ nine dimensions of reflective practice.

Participants’ reflectivity varied, but this was not necessarily related to course completion, nor to the final grade awarded for their teaching. Linking theory with practice emerged from the analysis as a weakness. I carried out a thematic analysis of teaching issues raised by participants. Classroom and behaviour management was their predominant concern – perhaps due to a difficulty in establishing appropriate working relationships with pupils. In my evaluation, evidence supports retaining AL in the PGCE, particularly given the benefits of peer support. However, a weakness was that participants did not question their assumptions, including those related to pupils’ abilities.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Education and Lifelong Learning
Depositing User: Jennifer Whitaker
Date Deposited: 10 Mar 2020 14:43
Last Modified: 10 Mar 2020 14:43
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/74469
DOI:

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