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Reflection and Effective Teaching Practices

            Reflection is an essential component of becoming an effective teacher as it acts as a catalyst for changing, refining and improving teaching methods. The concept of reflection is explored by providing a theoretical background revolving around four theorists with different views that all complement each other. Most literature on reflection is based on the works of philosopher, John Dewey (1933) who defined reflection in his early work as the "active, persistent and careful consideration of any belief or supposed form of knowledge in light of the grounds that support it" (p.7 as cited in Chetcuti, 1992, p.238). .
             A key idea in Dewey's writings is the distinction made between passive 'routine' action and 'reflective' action (Killen, 2013). These ideas have been further developed by writings by Schön (1983, 1987) who proposes that there is a need for teachers to recognise the complexity of teaching settings and "reframe" their viewpoints accordingly (Hoban & Hastings, 2006). Schön asserts that teachers develop their skills through two distinct but interrelated processes; 'reflection-on-action' which typically occurs after a lesson; and 'reflection-in-action' which takes place constantly during a lesson. Van Manen expands on the understanding of reflection by defining it in terms of three different levels: technical, practical and critical (Killen, 2013). Building upon the notion of critical reflection is Brookfield who argues that reflection is only critical if it recognises the power relationships in teaching and questions the hegemonic assumptions that plague teaching practice (Brookfield, 1995).
             Student feedback is a common source of information used to facilitate reflective teaching and its strengths and weaknesses as a reflective tool are explored. The benefits of reflective teaching are well-known and supported by an abundance of literature.

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