The effects of training in reflective thinking on in-service teachers

Suzette Swift Gilbert, Tennessee State University


Many leading educational researchers agree that there is value in teaching both pre-service and in-service teachers how to become more thoughtful decision makers (Calderhead, 1987; Ross, 1994; Siedentop, 1991; Zeichner, 1987). Teachers can not learn to teach by simply imitating experienced teachers, studying our educational past, or learning the theories of education. Instead, teachers must constantly reorganize what they know in response to the new and confusing situations that they are bound to encounter in their everyday practice. The ability of educators to integrate their prior knowledge, new experience, learned theory, and research in order to solve the unique problems which they face in educating students is reflective thinking. The purpose of this study was to examine reflective thinking training on in-service teachers. In-service teachers are those teachers who currently hold undergraduate degrees in education and who are currently in teaching positions. Specifically, this study investigated the effects of training on in-service teachers' reflective thinking ability and in-service teachers' attitudes toward reflective thinking. Participants for this study were all graduate students enrolled in a course entitled “The Teacher as a Reflective Practitioner” which is a graduation requirement for the Master of Education degree at Middle Tennessee State University. All participants held undergraduate degrees in education which identified them as in-service teachers. The Student MI Assessment Reporting Instrument-Reflective (SMART-R), which is an 11-item Likert scale instrument, was used to record teachers' level of reflective thinking. The Reflective Attitude Survey, subscales 4 and 5, were used to collect data on teachers' attitudes toward reflective thinking. Data, including the SMART-R, the Reflective Attitude Survey, and a biographical data sheet, was collected in the students' regular classroom setting during their normal course schedule at the beginning of the reflective thinking training and again at the conclusion of the training. The data collected for this research were analyzed using (1) factor analysis, (2) a step-wise multiple regression, and (3) an analysis of the variance (ANOVA). Examination of the results of this study indicated that in-service teachers' reflective thinking ability and attitudes toward reflective thinking were positively affected by the reflective thinking training. Specifically, participants who held undergraduate degrees in elementary education perceived themselves to be more reflective after training and they had more positive attitudes toward focused reflective thinking after training.

Subject Area

Curricula|Teaching|Elementary education|Teacher education

Recommended Citation

Suzette Swift Gilbert, "The effects of training in reflective thinking on in-service teachers" (2001). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3061753.