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Reflective thinking development and teachers' supervision

Brigita Rupar (2014) Reflective thinking development and teachers' supervision. PhD thesis.

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    Current teacher preparation programmes that effectively develop their professional competencies are designed in such a way that they promote teachers' reflective thinking and develop their inner motivation by building on their areas of strength and their experience. The designers of teacher training programmes are careful to create opportunities for teachers to construct new knowledge and skills and raise their awareness about what they have learnt with the support of their mentors and more experienced colleagues, which helps them develop self-regulation. In this context, supervision has become recognized as an efficient method, and has been gaining ground also in teacher education in Slovenia. In this study I have included two groups of elementary school teachers. The first group was involved in the supervision, while the other had no such experience. The aim of the study was to investigate the degree to which the participation in the supervision process affects teachers' reflective and emotional efficiency, whether it affects their increased use of active strategies for coping with stressful situations, and the degree to which it raises their awareness of what tasks are essential with regard to the achievement of educational outcomes. Using the statistical data analysis I compared the two groups of teachers with regard to the above variables. After analysing the findings of the quantitative part, I then used a qualitative approach to explore which professional tasks teachers considered the most important, which situations they found the most stressful and how they dealt with them, and what effects supervison had on their practice. The results of the quantitative research analysis revealed that the participants of the supervision process experience their professional tasks with which they encourage a whole-child development, develop higher-order thinking skills in their pupils, and ensure their safety as more important than their other professional tasks. The number of female teachers that considered those tasks as the most important was statistically significantly higher than the number of male teachers. Less experienced teachers considered their professional tasks related to didactical methodical aspects of their instruction more important than their more experienced colleagues. The teachers who were more focused on negative aspects of their experience followed their lesson plans more closely, and were more concerned about their pupils' safety. The data showed that the participants of supervision process demonstrated a higher level of reflection on the positive side of the scale, and that male teachers tended to focus on unconstructive and past-oriented aspects of their sense of self more than their female colleagues. Work experience does not seem to have a significant effect on teachers' ability to reflect. The supervision process participants were statistically more significantly effective in expressing their emotions than the participants who were not included in the supervision process. As for the frequency of using the strategies for dealing with stressful situations in an active way, no significant differences occurred between the two groups. Experiencing the importance of their roles and responsibilities, the level of their reflectivity, and emotional competence do not affect teachers' choice of active methods for dealing with stress. Teachers' participation in the supervision process does not contribute to a more systematic and purposeful way in which they would use problem-focused strategies for dealing with stress. The findings of the qualitative part of the study, in which I employed focus group interviews, showed some differences between the two groups in their understanding of professional tasks. The teachers who participated in the supervision process ascribed the majority of responsibility for creating encouraging learning environment to themselves, and at the same time demonstrated a higher level of awareness about the important role of didactics and differentiated instruction for high-quality knowledge acquisition. They also considered their role more important for their pupils' development of responsible behaviour and work habits than their colleagues who were not included in the supervision process. The participation in the supervision process affected teachers' practice by enbling them to learn new instructional strategies. They realized that thinking affects emotions, which helped them react in a more efficient way in various professional situations. The study concludes with the incentive to prospective teachers to utilize available supervision and in-service teacher training programs.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD thesis)
    Keywords: teachers, reflection, supervision, emotional competence, stress, education, learning
    Number of Pages: 239
    Language of Content: Slovenian
    Mentor / Comentors:
    Mentor / ComentorsIDFunction
    izr. prof. dr. Alenka KoboltMentor
    Link to COBISS: http://www.cobiss.si/scripts/cobiss?command=search&base=50126&select=(ID=9972809)
    Institution: University of Ljubljana
    Department: Faculty of Education
    Item ID: 2024
    Date Deposited: 05 Feb 2014 13:43
    Last Modified: 05 Feb 2014 13:43
    URI: http://pefprints.pef.uni-lj.si/id/eprint/2024

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