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Classroom incidents and the critically reflective Pre-service teacher

Millar-Figgins, Rosemary (2015) Classroom incidents and the critically reflective Pre-service teacher. Masters by Research thesis, Murdoch University.

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This research investigates the role of critical reflection in helping pre-service teachers understand and respond to classroom incidents encountered during their final professional experience before becoming fully qualified teachers. Participants in the research were pre-service teachers whose teaching degree had a strong focus on the role of critical reflection in teaching. The research focused on the extent to which participants consciously engaged in critical reflection to inform their practice, especially in relation to their responses to classroom incidents, their capacity to question their prior assumptions about teaching in light of their experiences, and their exercise of judgement in the classroom. This research is particularly relevant given the increasingly challenging nature of teachers’ work.

Drawing on narrative approaches to research, a small group of nine pre-service teachers in their final teaching practice participated in one-on-one, open-ended interviews and focus group interviews that concentrated on their experiences, their responses to classroom incidents and their changing assumptions about teaching. In order to understand the different dimensions of participants’ reflections in terms of the relationships between their beliefs, cognitions, feelings and behaviours, responses were analysed using the approach developed by Furr and Carroll (2003).

Analysis provided an insight into how pre-service teachers engage in the daily realities of their professional lives and deal with the different challenges of teaching. Further analysis of their experiences of classroom incidents provided understanding of how the pre-service teachers’ ways of thinking and their feelings about their experiences affected their classroom practices. The findings of this study suggest that critical reflective practice has an important role to play in teacher education in order to help pre-service teachers deal with the unexpected challenges and realities of the classroom.

Publication Type: Thesis (Masters by Research)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Education
Supervisor: Pearce, Jane
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