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The nature of teacher reflective practice in an unforgiving learning environment

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Title: The nature of teacher reflective practice in an unforgiving learning environment
Author: Alexander, Lesley Dianne
Degree Doctor of Philosophy - PhD
Program Curriculum Studies
Copyright Date: 1998
Subject Keywords Reflection (Philosophy); Thought and thinking; Teaching; Physical education and training -- Study and teaching
Abstract: This study supported Schon's notions of reflective practice as being applicable to teachers involved in teaching physical activities in the context of unforgiving learning environments and specifically to teachers in the sport diving community. According to Schon, one's ability to recognize patterns and act effectively and efficiently in situations of uniqueness and uncertainty depends upon one's capacity to frame problems. In doing so, one draws upon a repertoire of past experience arid ways of capturing that experience which enables the development of the ability to reframe problems in light of information gathered from the direct experience. Reframing occurs through the processes of reflection-in-action and reflection-onaction and is a response to an internal dialogue related to the action setting, in which something has not happened as expected, thus producing a curious or intrigued response. A number of issues specific to teacher reflection in unforgiving learning environments emanated from the analysis of one sport diving teacher engaged in teaching an entry-level sport diving course which involved three different teaching environments (the classroom setting, the confined water [pool] and open water [ocean] environments). Three research questions guided the analysis. In answer to the first research question: What factors do sport diving practitioners reflect upon in each of the three environments? six reflective themes were identified in this case study with five being common across the three teaching environments and the remainder being specific to the classroom environment. The common themes were: a trusting relationship, the necessity of teacher control, to see the 'unforgivingness' of the environment, learning from one's practice, challenges to one's practice and understanding one's practice. In answer to the second research question: What influences the reflective process? the analysis revealed thirteen underlying or influencing factors or dispositions across the three teaching environments with eight of them being common to either two, or all three, of the environments. In answer to the third research question: What is the nature of sport diving practitioners' reflective practice? five categories have been used to address the analysis: 1) across environment related, 2) classroom and confined water (pool) related, 3) confined water (pool) and open water (ocean) related 4) classroom and open water (ocean) related and 5) specific to one environment. The reflection process documented in this study suggested that Schon's notion of reflective practice is very applicable to the professional development of sport diving as his conception of reflection applies to the three areas of teaching which exist in unforgiving learning environments: the problem solving disposition of teacher reflection, the learning from one's practice, and the probing of internal dialogue.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/8417
Series/Report no. UBC Retrospective Theses Digitization Project [http://www.library.ubc.ca/archives/retro_theses/]

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