The Role of Consciousness -Raising through Critical Reflection in Teachers’ Professional Development: A Sociocultural Perspectiv
Thinking through and consequently acting based on identified-as theoretical concepts in teacher education is a beneficial strategy to alternate classroom behavior of the teacher the way it is thought to be fruitful. For years, teacher educators have been striving for finding a solution to how professionally develop the teachers ( both pre-service and in-service). Following the emergence of critical pedagogy, professionals in the field of teacher education have turned to employing teachers themselves as active participants who can help improve the present status of teacher education. This study shed light on the issue of teacher development by employing such tools as awareness raising followed by critical reflection (Walsh, 2006, 2011).
In the preliminary phase of the study, the verbalizing of the present thinking of the participating teacher about classroom interaction ( reflective writing I & Stimulated recall I) showed that the participating teacher was neither familiar with nor acted on regarded-as classroom positive interaction practices. The data which were collected after the workshop through reflective writing II, and III besides stimulated recalls of the follow-up behavior of the teacher showed that the teacher gradually reshaped her both thinking tools and classroom practices as the result of critical reflection on her classroom practice.
The process of re-conceptualizing her classroom interactional concepts and follow-up re-contextualizing of her practice, however, went through a conflictual, twisting path. That is due to the fact that the participating teacher’s reflections and reactions blended elements of her prior perspectives and experiences- her reaction on her present thinking tools- with ideas imitated from the workshop data and critical reflection sessions. This mixing of the past and present experiences signals the rudimentary steps in concept development, thereby shaping a new ZPD which opens a mediational space ( Vygotsky, 1987) for the new theoretical concepts to develop. As Johnson and Golombek (2011) argue, concretizing the scientific concepts at somebody’s command requires a constant, cyclical, never-ending cycle of classroom action and subsequent reflection on action which is accompanied by raising awareness of improving and impeding classroom interactional strategies.
In sum, in line with (Lantolf & Thorne, 2006), sound dealing with concepts make it possible for us to share the theoretical accumulated knowledge and to gain deeper understanding of related scientific concepts by seeking assistance from professionals without being under pressure to rediscover or experience for ourselves what others have already come to know through their own experience This way, introducing new scientific concepts to in-service- teachers can provide the route for teachers to develop much prior to their own experience which might take years to come about.