Professors' post-class reflection : a case study

The topic of teacher reflection has been gaining greater attention in the education literature. Nevertheless, teachers' reflective processes have not been well understood. This study attempted to describe characteristics and content of professors' post-class reflection. More specifically, it attempted to determine whether professors engage in the reflection process consciously and ways in which this process can be characterized. Eight professors, representing two levels of teaching experience, teaching a lecture or seminar undergraduate class in humanities or engineering, participated in this case study. Interviews, classroom observations, and instructional plans and materials comprised the data sources. Transcripts of the interviews were analyzed thematically, using QSR NUD*IST 4. Findings indicate that professors' post-class reflection became a routine: it happened at different points of time, mostly right after the class, and as a continuous process. Their reflection involved a mixture of having intuitive feelings about the class as well as thinking logically about how the class unfolded. They reflected intentionally and for two major purposes: to get ready for the next class and to improve teaching in general. They were either unable to characterize their way of reflecting on the class or were very clear that their reflection was more an intuitive process than a rational one. They reflected mostly on their teaching performance, on the content covered in class, on the students, and on instructional contexts. Based on the results, a conceptual framework is proposed that describes professors' post-class reflection as interrelated with rational and non-rational information processing. The study contributes to a better understanding of the complex process of teacher thinking and informs the design of faculty development interventions that aim at promoting reflective practice.
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