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Reflection and Work Context in Teacher Learning: Two Case Studies from Iceland

International Teacher Education: Promising Pedagogies (Part A)

ISBN: 978-1-78441-136-7

Publication date: 1 December 2014


This chapter focuses on the importance of reflection for teacher growth. Through two case studies, life examples are given on the significance of embedding critical reflection already in initial teacher education. Teachers’ life stories were collected through in-depth “rivers of life” interviews. The interplay between teachers’ awareness of their life story and their subjective theories, and how this impacts on the teachers’ attitude and openness to change are illustrated. The findings indicate that reflecting on one’s life stories may play an important role in forming teachers’ beliefs and pedagogical practices and hence their attitudes to change. The findings also suggest that a culture fostering close reflective collaboration and collegial support plays an important part in developing teachers’ perspectives of their roles and that of their learners. The findings reveal that presuming a single work culture in a school may be an oversimplification as several subcultures may be at play in one institution and even within the same subject area. The findings should have implications for approaches and procedures in teacher education and for the induction of novice teachers. Although the case studies reported here are based on Icelandic data, they should offer insights and have relevance for teacher education and teacher growth not only in Iceland but also in other countries as well.



Ingvarsdóttir, H. (2014), "Reflection and Work Context in Teacher Learning: Two Case Studies from Iceland", International Teacher Education: Promising Pedagogies (Part A) (Advances in Research on Teaching, Vol. 22), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 91-112.



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