Improvement of Teaching Through Critical Reflection: The Holistic Approach

  • Bert Creemers
  • Leonidas Kyriakides
  • Panayiotis Antoniou


In this chapter, it is acknowledged that the dominant approach in teacher training and professional development focuses on encouraging reflection on teaching practices, experiences and beliefs. In teacher professional development programmes based on the reflective paradigm, emphasis is placed on approaches involving the reflective capabilities of observation, analysis, interpretation and decision-making, which enable teachers to review critically their teaching practice. The main lines of inquiry associated with this approach are presented, and the characteristics of the holistic approach to teacher training are discussed. Moreover, policy implications for organising teacher training and professional development programmes are drawn. In the final part of this chapter, the strengths and limitations of this approach are discussed. It is pointed out that defining what actually constitutes reflective teaching or reflective practices is fraught with difficulty. Moreover, it is not always clear exactly what teachers are supposed to reflect on when trying to improve. Furthermore, although reflection has been very fashionable in all sectors of teacher education, only a few studies have attempted to evaluate the effects of reflective thinking programmes upon either teachers’ beliefs or their classroom performance. The findings of such studies are rather disappointing. Finally, reflective approaches seem to neglect the theory and the knowledge base relating to the effective teacher and are solely based on the assumption that reflective practitioners can handle their improvement purely on the basis of their own experiences and critical thinking without making any systematic use of research findings on effective teaching practices.


Professional Development Teacher Education Teaching Practice Teacher Training Professional Development Programme 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bert Creemers
    • 1
  • Leonidas Kyriakides
    • 2
  • Panayiotis Antoniou
    • 3
  1. 1.Faculty of Behavioural & Social SciencesUniversity of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of EducationUniversity of CyprusNicosiaCyprus
  3. 3.Faculty of EducationUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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