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Professional development of preservice biology teachers through reflective thinking

Savran Gencer, Ayşe
The study aims to explore preservice biology teachers’ reflective thinking content and levels by examining the use of a reflective framework integrated into one semester Practice Teaching course. More specifically, this study focused on the development of reflective thinking skills of preservice teachers and their metaphorical images about learning and teaching process. Data were collected through both qualitative and quantitative approaches. The written documents and audiotaped debriefings taken during the activities of reflective autobiography and journal writing, metaphor using, peer coaching, microteaching, and problem discussion along with the summative interview were the main data sources of the qualitative data. The written and transcribed data collected through these sources were then utilized through the selected three case studies in order to reach a deep understanding on their reflective thinking skills and content. The quantitative data were collected through the instruments of Reflective Thinking to evaluate the development of the preservice biology tecahers’ reflectivity and Metaphorical Images to explore their beliefs about learning and teaching process. Results indicated that the reflective activities offered opportunities preservice biology teachers to reflect on their experiences and strive for a conscious awareness of their professional development through experience, collaboration, guidance, and modeling. All of the participants were able to reflect mostly at the technical level, followed by contextual and dialectical levels of reflective thinking among the content categories of teacher characteristics, instructional processes, classroom management, students, and teaching profession. Results of reflective thinking instrument indicated that all participants individually perceived a developmental reflective thinking skill. Keywords: Reflective Thinking, Reflective Journal, Peer Coaching, Professional Development, Preservice Biology Teacher