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Reflective practice as a tool for professional development of in-service high school teachers of English in Japan

Suzuki, Atsuko (2013) Reflective practice as a tool for professional development of in-service high school teachers of English in Japan. PhD thesis, UNSPECIFIED.

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Perceived problems in a state-administered teacher training programme for Japanese teachers of English prompted this thesis. Low consideration and little attention were given to what is meant by teaching ability or teacher professional development. Courses designed to support high school teachers failed to meet their needs. In contrast, considerable emphasis was placed on ‘brushing up’ the teachers’ English proficiency. What the programme lacked was exploring and drawing on teachers’ rich source of ideas and experiences for professional development. Reflective practice seemed to offer a way for high school teachers to examine their ideas and experiences of teaching, to enhance self-awareness, and to foster autonomy. Through a multiple case study approach, this empirical study examines how the incorporation of reflective practice enhances the teacher development of Japanese high school teachers of English. Its incorporation was regarded as a form of methodology borrowing, thus the study attempted to be sensitive to specific cultural practices, so as not to influence their honne (real intent) and to keep them from hansei (self-critical reflection). The study found that reflective practice was more effective for the novice teachers than the experienced teachers. The novice teachers engaged in shaping their professional identity and professional knowledge. In contrast, the experienced teachers seemed to have reflected within their ‘comfort zones,’ that is, what is comfortable for them. In contrast to the approach taken by the state-administered training programme, this study argues that the novice and experienced teachers have different needs in their professional development. The novice teachers needed an opportunity to shape their professional identity. The experienced teachers needed an exploration beyond their ‘comfort zones’. The study also argues that reflective practice, which is likely to be individually based, should be facilitated with interactions and interventions from others, such as peers and teacher trainers.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Controlled Keywords: Qualitative research, case studies, Interviews, Reflective practice, Teacher development
Subjects: Departments > Culture, Communication and Media
Depositing User: Mr Graeme Naylor
Date Deposited: 17 Feb 2014 16:18
Last Modified: 01 Dec 2015 16:38
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