Teacher Development: A Patchwork-Text Approach to Enhancing Critical Reflection in Veterinary and Para-Veterinary Educators

Silva-Fletcher, A T and May, H and Magnier, K M and May, S A (2014) Teacher Development: A Patchwork-Text Approach to Enhancing Critical Reflection in Veterinary and Para-Veterinary Educators. JOURNAL OF VETERINARY MEDICAL EDUCATION, 41 (2). pp. 146-154.

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Abstract

Reflection is an essential component of teacher-development programs, and reliable, valid methods to teach, assess, and evaluate reflection are critical. However, it is important that appropriate methods are created for and evaluated across multiple disciplinary backgrounds, as the participants' backgrounds are a major factor in the development of critical reflection. The patchwork-text approach is a narrative process that is predominantly focused on the personal development of the individual. The current study used the patchwork-text approach for the development of reflection in participants with a science background who had not used a reflective approach for personal development before. Twenty summative essays and 103 formative essays from 21 participants who underwent a 1-year higher-education teacher-development program were analyzed to assess whether the quality and quantity of reflective writing was enhanced through a regular, iterative process of reflective writing with feedback. The analysis of the essays involved the use of a predefined set of criteria for identifying the different reflective levels from 1 to 4 and the calculation of a reflective score to evaluate the overall development. The results show a clear improvement of higher-level critical thinking as the participants progressed through their course. Higher levels of reflection were achieved particularly where a unit focused on a familiar area for the participant as opposed to one in which the participant had less experience. The analysis provides evidence that the patchwork text is a useful method for development and evaluation of reflection in participants with a veterinary/animal-science base.