Reflective Practice in Action: 80 Reflection Breaks for Busy Teachers

Thomas S. C. Farrell. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, 2004. Pp. xi + 107.

Reviewed by John Baker and Nashwa Badr
Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

Dr. Thomas Farrell s Reflective Practice in Action: 80 Reflection Breaks for Busy Teachers (RPA) is an excellent resource for teachers from all disciplines who are interested in pursuing professional development. Its practical and grounded suggestions for busy and dedicated teachers are the result of the author s twenty-four years of teaching reflection; extensive publication in the areas of reflective teaching, language teacher education, teacher beliefs, and teaching methodology; and proven application in seminars and workshops in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Asia.

RPA is a welcome addition to the literature on the new scholarship of reflective teaching (Ziechner, 1999), for, while it, like Edge (2000) and others, offers a collaborative model, it also provides opportunities for individual teachers to examine their beliefs, values, and teaching practices (p. 36) through a systematic method which helps seasoned and student teachers alike to reflect individually or as a group at their own paces and at the levels they choose. Towards these aims, its coherent structure and friendly jargon free prose invite readers to explore its comprehensive selection of topics in a linear step-by-step fashion or to use the easy-to-follow contents and index to go directly to their area of interest: Chapter 1 offers the reader an overview and choices about how to use the book; chapter 2 explains the benefits of engaging in reflective practice; chapter 3 outlines key historical research in reflective practice; chapter 4 defines reflective practice and discusses the different levels of reflection; chapter 5 offers a five-component model of reflective practice; chapters 6 through 9 detail activities that can promote reflection (group discussions, classroom observations, journal writing, and maintaining a teaching portfolios); and chapter 10 concludes with activities to help the teacher generate their own topics for future reflection.

RPA offers teachers, both individuals and groups, an opportunity to use the book as a mirror to help them see how their backgrounds have influenced them, who they are now, and where they intend to go in their practice (p. xi) through the array of topics and activities available in its chapters. It even ventures into Internet applications with suggestions about e-mail for more global reflective projects, but it does not directly address more advanced information technology. Inventive teachers, can, however, adapt its tested methods to the steady stream of communication applications that become available.

Edge, J. (2000).Cooperative development. Harlow, England: Longman.
Zeichner, K. (1999).The new scholarship in teacher education. Educational Researcher,
28(9), 4-15.