Title

Factors influencing pre-service teachers' levels of reflective thinking

Date of Award

2005

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Teaching and Leadership

Advisor(s)

Gerald M. Mager

Keywords

Conceptual thinking, Reflective thinking, Preservice teachers

Subject Categories

Curriculum and Instruction | Education | Teacher Education and Professional Development

Abstract

It is believed that when pre-service teachers (PSTs) reflect critically on their teaching, their practice, skills, and problem-solving abilities (Dewey, 1933; Schön, 1983; Yost, Setner, & Forlenza-Bailey, 2000) improve. While studies have been conducted to examine the relationship between PSTs' levels of reflective thinking and experience in the field (Collier, 1999; Cotton & Sparks-Langer, 1993), no study has examined the relationships between PSTs' dispositions toward reflection or conceptual thinking and their levels of reflective thinking. The purpose of this study was to explore these relationships.

A mixed model approach was used to gather and analyze data to answer the questions: What is the relationship between PSTs' dispositions toward reflection and their levels of reflective thinking? What is the relationship between PSTs' conceptual levels and their levels of reflective thinking? What relationship does the combination of PSTs' dispositions toward reflection and their conceptual levels have in predicting PSTs' levels of reflective thinking?

Data were collected during the 2003-2004 academic year. Participants were from two teacher preparation programs: undergraduate inclusive education and graduate elementary education, and were completing their final student teaching placements.

Data were collected using three instruments: the Paragraph Completion Method test (PCM) (Hunt, Butler, Noy, & Rosser, 1978) to measure conceptual levels, the Dispositions Toward Reflection Survey designed specifically for this research study to measure dispositions toward reflection, and the Assessment for Levels of Reflection (Galvez-Martin, Bowman, & Morrison: 1998) to measure levels of reflective thinking; interviews were conducted with selected participants to assess the accuracy of the Dispositions Toward Reflection Survey. Data analysis consisted of using zero-order correlations to measure the strength and direction of the relationship between the three variables. Interview data were studied to confirm the accuracy of the survey instrument.

Results of the study provide both significant and non-significant statistical findings. A correlation test found no significant relationship between PSTs' dispositions toward reflection and their levels of reflective thinking. However, a correlation test found a significant relationship between PSTs' conceptual levels and their levels of reflective thinking. The findings suggest that there is a strong relationship between the way PSTs conceptualize information and their abilities to reflect on their teaching.

Implications for further research and for practice in teacher education are drawn.

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