Reflecting on reflection among early childhood teachers: a study of reflection for, in, and on action intersecting with the technical, practical, and critical dimensions

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This study investigated how early childhood teachers might reflect on their teaching-learning process related to the unconventional instructional modalities necessitated by COVID-19 during the 2020–2021 school year. The participants consisted of 15 teachers (ages 24–45 years, M = 32 years) teaching children in preschool to third grade in New Jersey, USA. Data collection involved interviewing each teacher virtually via Zoom for 60–90 minutes (M = 75 minutes). This study analyzed only the data directly related to reflection, leading to 20 most salient ‘Reflective Instances’ (RIs) being identified and subsequently coded according to a 3 (types: reflection-for-action, reflection-in-action, and reflection-on-action) x 3 (dimensions: technical, practical, and critical) framework. The analysis revealed four main findings. First, while there was evidence of all three types of reflection, reflection-on-action was the most prominent. Reflection-on-action was also the only type exhibiting evidence of all three dimensions. Second, the RIs concentrated most predominantly on the practical dimension, which was also the only one occurring in all three types of reflection. Third, the intersection between reflection and dimension revealed that reflection-in-action along the practical dimension was the most salient. Fourth, the teachers’ sociodemographic characteristics did not appear to account for the variations in the patterns of the reflection types and dimensions.

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Reflective Practice

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