Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Education Policy, Planning, and Administration

Committee Chairperson

David Backer, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Matthew Kruger-Ross, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jacqueline G. Van Schooneveld, Ph.D.


Transitioning from their training programs to their own classrooms, new teachers may feel a disconnect between what they learned and what they experience. To help with this transition and to promote teachers’ abilities to respond to the varying and unique needs of their students and schools, teacher training programs, beginning in the 1980s, have incorporated the use of reflective practice. Reflection provides teachers an opportunity to engage with their experiences in such a way that prereflective understandings, assumptions, biases, and beliefs may be identified. Reviewed literature suggests that teacher training programs do not clearly define and implement reflection instruction into preservice teacher training programs. This qualitative study sought to examine the meaning of reflection for five preservice teachers enrolled in a teacher training program by specifically looking at how they defined and experienced reflection. With reflection identified as the phenomenon of this study, phenomenology was used as the theoretical framework and research method. Through two semi-structured interviews, in which the researcher met one-on-one with each participant, the researcher gathered the preservice teachers’ memories of lived experiences connected to reflection. By exploring the moments of lived experience, the participants defined reflection in both literal and technical ways. The moments also suggested that the preservice teachers experienced reflection as inconsistent and as a pathway to growth and understanding. The phenomenological findings of this study affirmed the reviewed literature calling for teaching training programs to provide clearer definitions of reflection and more opportunities to engage with and discuss reflective practices connected to a variety of experiences.