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Reflective practice in an early childhood teacher education program: A study of the components of learning about and implementing reflective practice

Julie A Jones-Branch, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


This study explores three undergraduate pre-service teachers’ experiences as they learned about and implemented reflective practice during their early childhood student teaching semester. There were two main purposes of this study. The first purpose of this study was to examine pre-service teachers’ experience in developing reflective practice skills with the support of pedagogical documentation in an undergraduate teacher preparation program. A second purpose of this study was to investigate the multiple modes of reflection used by pre-service teachers as well as the decisions made by the instructor to uncover any interaction between the modes and roles of participants. Rodger’s (2002) criteria for reflection framed this work. Goldhaber’s (2002) Cycle of Inquiry was used to facilitate the process of reflection and documentation. Multiple modes of reflection were used. Written modes of reflection, in the form of an interactive online journal between the pre-service teacher and the teacher educator, were used. Weekly group reflection meetings represented the verbal mode of reflection. Pedagogical documentation, as inspired by the work by educators in Reggio Emilia, was used as a combination of written, visual, and verbal reflection. Pre-service teachers created documentation products to share with each other in their weekly reflection meeting. These multiple modes were examined to have a better understanding of the role of reflection in the process of learning to teach. As a result of using reflective practice, pre-service teachers in this study changed their images of children, images of their practice, and documentation. All teachers showed movement though the degree of change varied. Pre-service teachers showed a preference for particular modes of reflection and used the preferred modes to effectively express their ideas. Some used the written mode (journal) whereas others used documentation or reflection meetings effectively. This study gives credibility to using multiple forms of reflection with pre-service teachers as they learn to teach.^

Subject Area

Education, Early Childhood|Education, Teacher Training|Education, Curriculum and Instruction

Recommended Citation

Jones-Branch, Julie A, "Reflective practice in an early childhood teacher education program: A study of the components of learning about and implementing reflective practice" (2009). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3350449.