A New Lens for Supporting and Studying Science Teacher Reflections: Situating the Self in the [Activity] System
Cultural Studies of Science Education
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This paper presents a new lens for analyzing written reflections on the teaching experiences of pre-service [science] teachers. The lens, which borrows heavily from Activity Theory, allows science education researchers and teacher educators to identify tensions, disturbances, conflicts, and contradictions within teachers’ written reflections as a means to help the participants situate their successes and challenges within the activity systems in which they operate. This paper describes the process through which the lens was crafted, defines the key constructs comprising the lens, applies the lens to the analysis of two purposefully selected reflection documents, and then considers the affordances of the lens. It also discusses how the insights gained from this lens have lead to new ways of facilitating reflection in pre-service science teachers, including the use of Kenneth Snelson’s tensegrity sculptures as a metaphor for the goal of reflection. Finally, it connects the tensions identified in the individual reflections of two pre-service science teachers to broader issues being addressed in science education.