Bilingual elementary classroom teachers' reflective practices

Roy Ceferino Fernandez, Fordham University


The purpose of this study was to describe how reflective teacher practices of bilingual elementary classroom teachers changed as a result of direct involvement in specific reflective practices. These included (a) the keeping of journals on their classroom practices and (b) simulations (case studies) that addressed hypothetical teaching events followed by self-reflection and group discussion with colleagues. A second purpose of the study was to establish the feasibility of infusing graduate teacher education courses with reflective practices. Twenty practicing bilingual elementary classroom teachers enrolled in a Master's program comprised the sample. All teachers were bilingual in English and Spanish or Cantonese and had an average of 3 years teaching experience at the elementary school level. Prior to participation in this study, all, except four of the teachers who were reflecting at the critical level, were reflecting at the practical level of reflection. They were either provisionally certified working toward permanent New York State bilingual teaching certification, or were working toward provisional bilingual New York State certification. All interventions were conducted concurrently during a portion of a weekly graduate level course. The intervention was conducted through six biweekly, 60-minute sessions. Questionnaires were used to describe the teachers' profiles. Teaching journals and case study responses were used to code levels of reflection. Data were analyzed using frequency counts and percentiles. These were used to determine the number of entries at each of Van Manen's (1977) levels of reflection: technical, practical, and critical. The results of this investigation indicated that as a whole, participation in reflective practices did not change the teachers' level of reflection. However, the data revealed that teachers' responses at the critical level of reflection increased substantially through participation in individual case study activities. Additionally, data revealed that the teachers' responses at the practical level of reflection increased substantially through participation in group case study activities. No substantive change was indicated in the teachers' individual journal entries. The study concluded that reflective practices may be infused in graduate teacher education courses. The study also indicated several recommendations for teacher education programs in developing reflective practices among novice teachers. It is recommended that a similar study be replicated with monolingual teachers and be conducted in a school district.

Subject Area

Bilingual education|Multicultural education|Elementary education|Teacher education

Recommended Citation

Fernandez, Roy Ceferino, "Bilingual elementary classroom teachers' reflective practices" (1996). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9631030.