A multiple case study
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The purpose of this study was to explore the nature of reflection as it was revealed in the activities and thinking processes of three exceptional elementary school PE teachers in terms of both “reflection-in-action” and “reflection-on-action.” Particularly, this study placed the focus on classroom incidents that the participants perceived as critical. This study was a case study grounded in a social constructivist framework. The participants were selected by two criteria: (a) she/he is recognized as an exceptional teacher by students, peers, and administrators in physical education and (b) she/he has at least 10 years’ teaching experiences as a teacher. The data sources included interviews, observation, and archives such as lesson plans, written reflections, and field notes. All the data were analyzed through the constant comparative method using computer software for qualitative data analysis (i.e., Atlas.ti). Through the data analysis, three main themes emerged: content of reflection, role of reflection, and factors promoting reflection. The major content of the teachers’ reflection included (a) students, (b) instruction, (c) context, and (d) critical incidents. Regardless of the content of reflection, the teachers’ reflection was oriented toward students’ learning, since they perceived that their primary role as a teacher was to facilitate students’ learning. The narratives of the revealed four major roles played by reflection: (a) making sense of unforeseen events, (b) developing knowledge-in-action, (c) making on-the-spot decisions, and (d) reconstructing teachers’ belief systems. Particularly, reflection-in-action enabled the teachers to make on-the-spot decisions in the act of teaching. The exceptional teachers’ immediacy, flexibility, and problem solving skills were grounded in their reflection-in-action. Concerns associated with students’ learning and safety greatly motivated the teachers’ reflection-in-action. In addition, five factors that facilitated reflection were identified: (a) students’ learning, (b) performance as a teacher, (c) subject matter, (d) professional development work, and (e) educational context. Based on the findings, this study discussed several subjects such as the importance of reflection-in-action, importance of self-monitoring, significance of time and opportunity of reflection, relationship between knowledge and reflection, and effect of educational context on reflection.
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