BUILDING A CRITICALLY REFLECTIVE PRACTICE: RELATING BROOKFIELD’S FOUR LENSES TO INSERVICE TEACHERS’ EXPERIENCES
Educators are a special group of professional practitioners. They are often characterized as self-directed, lifelong learners who routinely implement some level of reflection to improve instruction. Dewey referred to these reflective practitioners as professionals who, in an effort to continually develop their practice, actively consider multiple points of view when making decisions and weigh the impact those decisions will have on others. Upon making a decision, the reflective practitioners can explain, defend, or change those decisions when needed. The purpose of this narrative inquiry was to investigate how the practice of reflection authentically develops in context of the classroom and to compare the critical content of reflection between teachers and their contexts. I sought to explore the impact life experiences had on the development of the teachers’ social consciousness and their depth of reflection the influence of life and academic experiences on instructional choices over time, including the consideration of multiple perspectives. Data collected from four veteran teachers with at least seven years of classroom teaching experience included a series of in-depth interviews, participant generated timelines, field notes, and follow up communications. McCracken’s (1988) five-step method for analyzing the narrative interviews was employed. MAXQDA was utilized to collect and sort through the open, axial, and selective coding stages. The findings suggest that these participants consistently engaged their autobiographical lens when reflecting. Considering the needs and perspectives of the student by engaging the student lens was also more consistent than the other two lenses. All of the participants experienced some growth in their reflective practice with colleagues and theory. Findings suggest that the participants’ level of social consciousness varied based upon school climate, school demographics, openness of colleagues, and administrative expectations appeared to influence the results. For some participants, personal stressors such as money, divorce, and gain or loss of a child indicated a positive correlation to the level of consciousness displayed.
Nager, Laura Helen