Date of Conferral
Joanne G. Stuckey
Many teachers report that they rarely engage in reflection. Asynchronous forums have been used to foster reflection among prospective teachers, but there is limited research about the allocation of time for reflection in an asynchronous forum for practicing teachers. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to (a) determine teachers' perceptions about the benefits and drawbacks of the use of an online forum to allocate time for reflection and (b) to classify the levels of the teachers' reflections in the forum. A conceptual framework based on select writings by Dewey, Hatton and Smith, and van Manen was used to guide this study. The research questions addressed teachers' perceptions of the benefits, drawbacks, and use of a forum to allocate time to reflect as well as the levels of reflection achieved by the teachers in the forum. Ten online discussions and 2 sets of questionnaires were analyzed and coded using constant comparative data analysis. Seven elementary mathematics teachers completed the study and 52% and 56% of the discussion postings were coded as critical reflections using Hatton and Smith's framework and a summary of van Manen's framework, respectively. The themes pertaining to the benefits of reflecting online were convenience, sharing, and learning. Peer-to-peer interactions, however, were infrequent, and the teachers indicated that time was a factor that limited participation. This study may effect positive social change by advancing knowledge about using online forums to provide teachers with time earmarked for reflection focused on improving mathematics teaching and learning. Furthermore, educators can use information from this study to design online professional development experiences that include opportunities for reflection and reflective practice.