A study of the reflective abilities of physics i tutors drawn from their conceptual understanding of a cooperative tutoring environment
Bladergroen, Moira Catherina
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This study is an extension of work previously performed by Linder et al. (1997). It sought to explore university Physics I tutors’ conceptualization of Physics I tutorials and their conceptualization on issues relating to observations and interactions during tutoring, through involvement in a reflective practicum. The study was premised on socio-cultural constructivism, co-operative learning, situated learning theory and reflective practice.The study developed over two phases. In phase one the reflective thinking processes of the tutors were explored. Upon reflection on the literature the research context was further developed which allowed a final exploration into the tutors’ conceptualisations of the Physics I tutoring context. During this final exploration, i.e. the second phase, tutors were exposed to an organized, longitudinal sensitisation session, i.e. tutor-training over a period of nine months. Tutors were introduced to co-operative learning and the various processes of reflective practices namely, follow-me, modelling and joint experimentation, reflection-inaction and reflection-on-action.Analysis of the data was carried out using the phenomenographic research perspective. Ananalysis of the categories of description was used to demonstrate the tutors’ ability to reflect,based on their conceptual understanding of and interactions during the physics tutoring. These categories favoured the development of extended criteria to enhance reflection amongst physics tutors. These extended criteria were then used as a basis to suggest a model to support reflection amongst Physics I tutors.