All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Jerry Aldridge

Advisory Committee Members

Joseph Burn

Deborah Camp

Nataliya Ivankova

Lynn Kirkland

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Education


In this era of increasing accountability in education, teachers are being asked to move away from the role of intuitive guide to being a more deliberate reflective practitioner. The need exists to understand the experience of reflection and its meaning from the perspective of practicing teachers. Existing studies describe an effective teacher as one who reflects upon her/his teaching. However, they do not illuminate the perspective of teachers to assist other teachers in knowing how to reflect effectively. Guided by works of Dewey (1909/1933) and Schon (1983, 1987), this phenomenological study explored the reflective experiences of practicing teachers in order to understand, from the perspective of teachers, the meaning of reflection in teaching. The central research question was: What is the meaning of reflection in teaching? The purposeful sample included 11 female teachers and 1 male teacher, currently teaching in grades K through 5, with three to 29 years of teaching experience. The data were collected through focus group interviews and subsequent follow-up individual interviews with each participant. The data analysis followed the procedures outlined by Moustakas (1994).After transcribing interviews verbatim, invariant horizons, or statements significant to the central phenomenon and reinforced by more than one participant, were pulled from the transcripts. The statements were organized into seven themes pertaining to reflection: 1) ongoing learning process, 2) way to solve problems, 3) way to deal with change, 4) iii sharing with others, 5) evolving with experience 6) being formal and informal, 7) taking place in a nurturing environment. These findings can help school administrators hear the voices of practicing teachers so that they can better establish, monitor, and evaluate effective reflective practices. As teachers begin to understand the meaning of reflection for themselves and other teachers, they will become empowered to use time in the classroom more efficiently.

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