“We don't have the liberty of being brainless”: Exploring pre-service teachers' use of weblogs for informal reflection
Pre-service teachers enter teacher education programs with a working practical theory formed from personal experience, knowledge and values. By engaging in reflective thinking, pre-service teachers reaffirm, reassess and recreate the practical theory that guides their actions and beliefs on teaching and learning. Weblogs, an emerging technology in teacher education, offer a new medium for reflective practice. This dissertation explores the tripartite elements of practical theory, reflective practice and weblogs as explored through a qualitative research study conducted in a secondary NLNT program at a large southeastern university. Through the qualitative content analysis of weblog postings, focus group interviews and individual interviews, a grounded theory emerged to support weblogs as a forum for informal reflection.
The research undertaken in this qualitative study reveals the positive potential of weblogs in pre-service teachers' reflective practice. The informality of weblogs, their accessibility through the Internet and their ability to support communal interactions on-line are positive features of weblogs. These features, in turn, support informal reflection, a component of reflective practice produced by the interaction of practical theory, flexible structure, personal expression and communal interaction. Informal reflection is not a substitute for the formal, hierarchical (and necessary) reflection frequently found in teacher education but a facet of the reflective process that, with further study, may prove to be a valuable component of reflective practice for preservice and practicing teachers.
0710: Educational software