Teacher reflection: Supports, barriers, and results

  • Elizabeth Jaeger University of California, Berkeley


In the context of contemporary classroom environments, it is crucial that teachers are able to make appropriate decisions. Those teachers who reflect on their practice – particularly while they are teaching (what Donald Schon terms reflection-in-action) – are best able to make these decisions. A number of activities commonly included in teacher education programs facilitate the development of reflective behavior. These include composing journal entries, audio- or videotaping lessons for purpose of analysis, and interacting with supervisors and mentor teachers. There are also many barriers to reflection related to the personal characteristics of the teacher and to faults in the structure of school systems. Of greatest concern, it is unclear whether reflective practices result in better teaching and improved educational outcomes.