Empowering reflective practice
This study focuses on a program for the professional development of native speakers of Mandarin Chinese who come from China to function as Chinese language teaching assistants in an Australian primary school for a period of around one year The program. referred to as the Overseas Chinese Language Assistant in Teaching (OCLAiT) Program seeks to develop a reflective approach to the teaching task in the experience of the teaching assastant as they adjust to the culturally different social and
... tional context of their pedagogical practice. The notion of teacher empowerment is seen to provide a philosophical framework for the actions and attitudes of classroom teachers, department heads and other school authorities that help to facilitate the development of this reflective approach reflection on practice in a environment of teacher empowerment results in appropriately modified or sustained effective teaching practice. Reflection and empowerment are considered in the light of the literature which describe these phenomena: both are associated with characteristic behaviour and attitudes. The identification of these characteristics provides a basis for the investigative part of this study which focuses on the experience of one particular teaching assistant over a 15 month period. Of particular note is the use of a modified form of stimulated recall interviewing (SRI) which is used to detect the presence of a "reflective cycle" (Wallace, 1991) in which the process of reflection on teaching practice affects that practice; the informed practice is subsequently reflected on, and so on. Other forms of investigation including interviews, written reports, and a questionnaire completed by seven (7) Australian teachers who observed the teaching assistant's teaching practice on a weekly basis over a one year period.