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Keywords:

  • professional development;
  • reflective practice;
  • teacher education;
  • foreign language method course;
  • graduate teaching assistants;
  • Japanese;
  • relevant to all languages

Abstract: As professional development models of teacher education that allow for self-directed, collaborative, inquiry-based learning are increasingly replacing more traditional top-down models, researchers acknowledge the impact of teachers' reflective practices. Although many different types of reflective practices are reported, the differences across such practices have rarely been discussed. This study focuses on a form of reflective practice—classroom observation—and compares graduate teaching assistants' observation of their own classroom performance through two distinct “windows”—an entire class and a targeted teacher-fronted activity—within the framework of a foreign language (Japanese) teacher education course. Both types of observation have their distinct advantages and reveal different aspects of the teaching process, as is clearly evidenced in the teaching assistants' reports. The study presents a strong rationale for incorporating both whole-class (macro) and targeted (micro) observations into teacher education programs.