• ‘Empowerment at the higher level: the perspectives of learners and their tutors on critical professional reflection at Masters’ level’

      Poultney, Val; University of Derby (2008-09-03)
      This research aims to look at the perceptions of a cohort of professional teacher-learners and their University tutors regarding critical professional reflection and how it might be developed and incorporated within a Masters’ course. Tutoring a group of professional teacher-learners to be analytical, enquiring and evaluative requires skilling them with the scholarly processes that will enable them to be an effective part of the postgraduate workforce. Developing critical thinking skills may require a ‘learning conversation’ (Brookfield, 1987) but it might be that tutors could do more. Garrison’s (1991) concerns about role modeling critical thinking implies a lack of pedagogic expertise on the part of tutors, however tutors unwilling to adopt the characteristics of reflective critical thinkers or be role models for such may deprive teacher-learners of skills and qualities needed to become independent learners. Drawing on a survey approach using questionnaires, telephone interviews and focus groups, teacher-learners and tutors were invited to talk about their experiences of critical professional reflection. Early indications revealed that teacher-learners’ understanding of critical professional reflection is roughly in line with their ‘learning maturation’ and that more challenge and role modeling of this type of thinking by tutors is required, both at early and later stages of the course. It is also significant to note at this point that teacher-learners’ perception of their critical thinking has been highlighted as a result of this research. The data has raised issues for pedagogical practice within one institution and provides data for on-going pedagogical discussions. Teacher-learners engaging with knowledge from both academic and professional sources are beginning to understand that critical professional reflection skills will not only serve them well in the school context, but will also give them the resources to engage and disseminate their knowledge in a wider variety of academic and professional arenas.