Original Research

Exploring the development of South African pre-service teachers’ reflective practice

Samukeliso Chikiwa, Mellony Graven
Pythagoras | Vol 44, No 1 | a678 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/pythagoras.v44i1.678 | © 2023 Samukeliso Chikiwa, Mellony Graven | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 January 2022 | Published: 28 June 2023

About the author(s)

Samukeliso Chikiwa, Department of Education, Faculty of Education, Rhodes University, Makhanda, South Africa
Mellony Graven, Department of Education, Faculty of Education, Rhodes University, Makhanda, South Africa

Abstract

Ongoing concern about poor learner performance in mathematics has led to wide-ranging research on the subject, globally and in South Africa. Among the remedies identified is the reformation of pre-service teacher (PST) education programmes in a way that supports the acquisition of professional skills for pre-service teachers. Developing PSTs’ reflective practice (RP) is a significant component of the desired reformation. Our research explored PSTs’ RP development in the context of video-based mathematics lesson analysis. The aim was to contribute knowledge towards strengthening mathematics PST education and to report on whether increased benefits accrued from working with PSTs in small groups, guided by an experienced facilitator, as compared to whole-class lecturing. We draw on this extended analytic framework to compare two sets of reflections written by four selected PSTs based on viewing video recordings of their own teaching. One set was written in August 2018 after the PSTs completed three lecture sessions on RP in a Mathematics Methods course. The other was written in September 2019 after the four selected PSTs participated in three small-group, facilitator-guided sessions. The findings indicate some shifts towards higher-level reflections in the latter set, although only two of the four PSTs reflected at the highest level (reflectivity) following the small-group sessions. Implications for pre-service mathematics teacher education and refinement of frameworks for delineating levels of reflection are discussed.

Contribution: The research contributes to mathematics teaching through refining and extending existing models of reflective-based practice to better analyse the shifting nature of mathematics teachers’ reflections with a view to supporting improved teaching and learning.


Keywords

Mathematics education; reflective practice; pre-service teachers; six-lens framework; pre-service teacher education; reflections; primary school mathematics; foundation phase.

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