Comparing discourses on reflective practice in teacher education policy in Ireland and Norway: Critical reflection or performance management?
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Policy documents relating to teacher education in Ireland and Norway from 2008 to 2016, representing periods of change in teacher education in both jurisdictions, were analysed to explore the discursive construction of reflective practice. Employing a discourse analysis, the study found that, while reflective practice was seen as important in both countries, they differed in terms of why it should be used. Overall, reflective practice was presented as primarily a competency required by teachers to evaluate and improve their practice, however the rationale for this improvement appeared to differ in the two contexts. In Ireland reflective practice was presented primarily as a tool for self-improvement. A similar focus was evident in the Norwegian documents however they also emphasised the teachers’ contribution to the school community. The paper discusses the encroachment of performativity discourses on conceptualisations of reflective practice and discusses implications of this narrowing policy discourse on teacher education.