T. Mauri1, R. Cubero2, M.J. Bascón2, R. Colomina1, M. Cubero2, O. Jiménez3, E. López de Arana3, J. Onrubia1, A. Usabiaga3

1University of Barcelona (SPAIN)
2University of Sevilla (SPAIN)
3University of Mondragón (SPAIN)
Almost all current teacher education programs include reflection as a fundamental intervention strategy for teachers' training. However, there is no agreement on how reflection should be promoted and which model of reflection should be used. According to some authors (Pareja Roblin & Margalef, 2011; Yoon & Kim, 2010), in educational interactions there are internal tensions which are experienced by teachers as dilemmas to reflect on. Other authors have added that reflection should establish connections between the situation under reflection and broad-ranging theoretical knowledge (Korthagen, 2010). To this regard, although important efforts are being devoted to promote reflection with student teachers (Korthagen, 2010), there are major disagreements about the direction that these efforts should take to effectively promote future teachers' adequate reflection (Zeichner, 2010).

The aim of this study is to better understand how tutor’s assistance in processes of joint reflection on practice among student teachers can promote progression of student teachers' reflection skills. Concretely, this research addresses the problem of the relations between theory and practice in teacher education, by means of the study of the processes of joint reflection among student teachers in their training period in schools. Very little is currently known about how interaction and educational assistance work in the processes of joint reflection, and there are only few studies which apply discursive analysis, conversational analysis, and interaction analysis on these processes. This study aims to contribute to the debate of how reflection is to be promoted with student teachers by advancing in the description and understanding of the educational assistance in joint reflection which fosters establishing theory-practice relationships.

We studied eight cases, each one invlolving a group of student teachers and their tutor (112 students and 8 tutors from 3 different universities in Spain), who jointly reflected on specific situations observed by student teachers during their training in schools. We videotaped all the processes of joint reflection (5 sessions for each case). Video recordings were analyzed by content analysis, focusing on the assistance offered by the tutors during the process of joint reflection. We developed a system of categories that included 23 types of discursive assistance offered by tutors, organized in three dimensions: dialogical, interpretative, and theory-practice assistance. An inter-rater procedure was conducted to establish the reliability of the system of categories.

Our findings confirmed the importance of different types of educational assistance to joint reflection processes. The results revealed differences between the cases regarding the type, degree, distribution and fading of assistance offered by the tutors. To this regard, support to the dialogic nature of joint reflection was provided by most tutors, but assistance aimed to the interpretative nature of reflection and connection between practice and theory appeared lesser extent. The results have implications for teacher training and teacher educational programmes.