Reflective to reveal the nature of reflective teaching.

Reflective practice empowers teachers to critically analyze and gauge their teaching, to make well-grounded
decisions by considering different aspects of the situation, implementing
essential changes in light of their findings to optimize their learners’
achievement (Gözüye?il ? Soylu, 2014). Having reached newfound
clarity through reflection, teachers are able to initiate changes in action and
future improvement (Gözüye?il & Aslanda? Soylu,
2014). A range of strategies have been introduced
for promoting reflection including video recording, action research, journal
writing, and so forth (Richards & Farrell, 2005). Awareness of reflective
techniques might improve the quality of both teachers’ teaching and students’
leaning. Teachers
who adopt reflective orientation and are aware of reflective practice not only
promote students’ ability to be critically reflective but
also trigger and inject the same behavior in the students (Nolan
&
Huebner,
1989).

Numerous studies have highlighted the contribution of reflection to
acquisition of deeper insight into teaching and improvement (Graves, 2002; Kullman, 1998; Richards & Lockhart, 1996, Schön, 1987). Some studies have addressed the conditions and
methods that promote reflective practice (Cady,
Schaak-Distard, & Germundsen, 1998; Dinkleman, 1997);
some
have looked at its technical and social aspects (Valli, 1993); still others
have focused on the context
of reflection (Scully, 1997; Wang
Li, 1998) and collegial reflection (Gonzales, 1998; Meyer, 1999).

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Despite the mentioned studies, there is insufficient documentation and research on reflective
teaching in the area of second language teaching and teaching English as a foreign language (Jiang, 2012). Conducting research on reflection in these two areas could fill this gap.
More importantly, given the multifaceted nature of reflection and its
significance in teaching, extending knowledge on reflection and reflective practice will result in quality
teaching. A cursory look at the
available literature reveals that much research has been devoted to the concept
of reflection and models of reflective practice. Conversely, there seems to be
scant information about general perceptions of reflection, application of
various reflective designs, and reflective models in the realm of TEFL/ TESL
(Jiang, 2012). Furthermore, most of the studies in this field
are based on case studies or are of quantitative and correlational type, and as such may not be able to reveal the nature
of reflective teaching. Little literature has explicitly
capitalized on teaching reflective teaching principles and on investigating teachers’
perceptions of reflective teaching. Such scarcity of studies of reflective
practice has led us then not to fuller and more
detailed models of practicing reflection and rich information of reflective
teaching as we might wish. Any effort of
investigation in this area can be justifiable. One purpose of this research, then, is to recover this area, but to do so
in an EFL setting and to use it quite differently, namely, through an
experimental design. /but in order to do that in an EFL
setting and to use it quite differently, an experimental design was/should be
adopted.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Teaching is by nature a
demanding task. Teachers encounter a lot of uncertainties and dilemmas in their
professional lives. They should handle a wide variety of tasks including preparing
teaching materials, meeting students’ needs,
managing different classroom issues, motivating students, and so forth (Pollard
et al., 2008). Broadly expressed, teachers are in a
never-ending struggle to either handle diverse
problems in their classrooms or adjust
themselves to them (Shukri, 2014). What makes teaching more
challenging is that the dynamics in any given classroom are under the influence
of contextual factors and characteristics or experiences of each learner
(Zwozdiak-Myers, 2009). Such challenges might leave teachers feeling powerless. Coping with these
challenges calls for teachers’ professional outlook. In the literature, one can
find a variety of approaches that help teachers to improve themselves
professionally. One of the approaches, described as the distinguishing
attribute of teachers’ professional development is reflection or reflective teaching (Bartlett, 1990). Reflective teaching is
defined as an approach to instruction “in which current and prospective
teachers collect data about teaching,
examine their attitudes, beliefs, assumptions, and teaching practices, and use
the information obtained as a basis for critical reflection” about their
efforts in language courses (Richards & Lockhart, 1996, p.1). Reflective teaching enables teachers to apply
different approaches, to weigh up their practices, and reflect upon their
teaching practices to become competent and professional teachers (Griffiths,
2000; Osterman, 1990).

Reflective practice as one of the necessary
conditions for initiating change in schools spurs
active and personal involvement of teachers in the construction and
transformation of better schools. Being a dynamic process, reflective practice not only expands knowledge and provides ideas about how to do things more effectively
but also improves and transforms the condition (Day, 1999a; Griffiths, 2000; Osterman, 1990; Poom-Valickis
& Mathews, 2013). This is significant for schools seeking to advance their
quality. Therefore, for schools wishing to change their
circumstance, it
is imperative upon them to become workplaces
where teachers’ needs and their professional
growth are met, allowing them to inspect their actions and ideas openly,
critically, and collaboratively as
reflective practitioners (Osterman, 1990).     

Despite
the aforementioned significance, little research has been done on the extent to
which EFL teachers practice reflective teaching and on
how EFL teachers perceive reflective teaching. The bulk of
research in this field as said earlier is based on case studies or correlational
studies; to the best of the researcher’s knowledge, there has been little or no attempt to examine the chronological
types
of reflection practiced by EFL teachers especially within the context of
journal writing. Due to such scarcity
of reflective practice studies in EFL context the investigation of the issue is
yet to be explored. Conducting a research in this field
in an Iranian context might be worthy as well. It sounds as if empirical
studies in the realm of TEFL focusing on reflection are not abundant in Iranian
context (Akbari, 2007; Ansarian, Farrokhi, &
Rahmani, 2015). Hence, taking the aforementioned discussion into account, this
study attempts to bring this issue into focus by investigating the extent to
which Iranian EFL teachers engage in reflection in their teaching both
qualitatively and quantitatively. The works by
Farrell (2004, 2007) provide the theoretical framework for the present study.

 1.3 Significance of the Study

A glimpse at the literature
indicates that reflection is seen as one of the key competences
for both teaching and learning and as the hallmark of professional identity
(Christodoulo,
2010; Collin, Karsenti, & Komis, 2013; Finlay, 2008).
Raising
teachers’ and students’ awareness of reflection as a systematic meaning-making
process besides its efficacy in teaching and learning will contribute to teachers’
and students’ lifelong learning (Dewey, 2001). Reflection empowers teachers to construct, deconstruct, or
reconstruct knowledge through asking questions, criticizing, evaluating, and so
forth; enabling them to make a connection between theory and teaching practices.
Multiple and unpredictable circumstances
either exist or occur within each specific teaching context which call for
spontaneous and unique response. Moreover, the demand for
accountability an

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