Self-Study Supports New Teachers’ Professional Development




Samaras, Anastasia P.
Beck, Clive
Freese, Anne
Kosnik, Clare

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New teachers face incredible challenges, and often alone, forcing nearly half of all newly hired teachers to leave the profession within their first five years (Darling-Hammond, 1997). As teacher educators, we believe one of the key ingredients in teacher education is self-study of one’s teaching practices with systematic collegial support. We have each witnessed and researched the power of the self-study tool for teachers’ professional development in the programs we have directed (Freese, 1999; Kosnik & Beck, 2000; Samaras, 2002). In each of our programs, students are expected to reflect regularly on their teaching and their students’ learning through journals, action research projects, related life histories, evolving philosophies of education, and ongoing quarterly and semester self-evaluations. Some students engage in systematic self-study in a final master’s paper or portfolio. Zeichner wrote that “the birth of the self-study in teacher education movement around 1990 has been probably the single most significant development ever in the field of teacher education research” (Zeichner, 1999, p. 8). Although there have been numerous writings about self-study for teacher educators (Cole, Elijah, & Knowles, 1998; Hamilton, Pinnegar, Russell, Loughran, & LaBoskey, 1998; Kosnik, Beck, Freese, & Samaras, 2005), little attention has been given to what self-study can do to support new teachers. In this article, we discuss what teachers need to know about self-study and then offer three examples of teacher self-study and the difference it made for the teachers and their students.



Self-study, Professional development, Teaching, Teachers


Samaras, A. P., Beck, A., Freese, A. R., & Kosnik, C. (2005). Self-study supports new teachers’ professional development. Focus on Teacher Education Quarterly, 6(1), 3 – 5 & 7.