Within K-12 Schools for School Reform: What Does it Take?
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In this chapter, teachers from the School Portfolio Group examine tools that they have used to cultivate and scaffold their own reflective practice. First, they explore three images of teachers: as curriculum makers, researchers, and reflective practitioners. Building on Lyons definition of reflective practice, the authors examine the individual tools of personal journals, personal portfolios, and reflective writing the and how the individual teachers in the School Portfolio Group used those tools to become more reflective practitioners. The authors then turn their attention to the shared tools of traveling journals, school portfolios, and collaborative presentations, examine and how those tools empowered teachers to build their capacity as reflective practitioners. Next, the authors examine how teacher groups, including teacher inquiry groups and Critical Friends Groups, helped individual members cultivate their reflective practice while fostering the collective power of the group to engage in reflective practice. Finally, the authors explore some constraints and opportunities they encountered in their collective inquiries. Embedded within a context of school reform, the teachers encountered tensions including those of school accountability that emphasize teachers as subject matter experts rather than teachers as minded professionals. They conclude with the thought that the nexus of leadership power and position has the power to cultivate the ability or disability of teachers to engage in reflective practice.