English Australia Journal : English Australia Journal 28.2
Volume 28 No 2 6 English Australia Journal prior experience, thereby facilitating critical reflection. Activities should be designed to support the teacher in probing and unpacking the familiar, taken-for-granted classroom context in which they operate on a daily basis (Farrell, 2013), thereby making explicit to the teacher events that would otherwise remain unnoticed. The tacit routines and strategies for handling these events are made explicit through the perspective of the teachers when they undertake critical reflection, thereby creating opportunities for deeper understanding of teaching as it is practised in their own context (Brookfield, 1995). While this account of teacher cognition and reflective practice is based on solid principles, we are cautious about falling into the trap described by Smyth (1992) as colonisation of the concept, without making explicit our own frame of reference. We view an effective program as being underpinned by two propositions. First, new forms of cognition (knowing, thinking, and understanding) arise in the interactions between teachers as they engage in the social practices of learning and teaching in their own professional context; and second, each teacher will bring to the PD event her or his own social, cultural and historical frames of reference, ensuring unique and personalised aims, objectives and outcomes for each activity. As Coughlan and Duff (1994, p. 174) reveal, a ‘fixed ‘‘task’’ is really quite variable, not only across subjects but within the same subject at different times.’ The experience of each PD activity is different every time, and for every teacher. Overview of the Thailand program The Thailand program is a good case of a practical application of the principles of teacher cognition and reflective teaching described here, and it is therefore a suitable one for investigating its usefulness for the Australian context described herein. As shown below, it combines a range of PD activities encouraging collaboration and reflective practice, aimed at sustained improvements in teacher knowledge, that can improve the quality of life for learners and teachers in the language classroom. Following an outline of the program, this paper moves on to report on the research activity conducted to investigate its usefulness to an English language college in Sydney, Australia. The established and successful program adopted and adapted for this project is based in a multi-site English language school in Thailand. This school has six branches in Bangkok and 10 in regional areas. The main Bangkok site was located until recently on a large campus in the central business district, and had approximately 5,000 students and 75-90 teachers, depending on the time of year. The PD program that was implemented on this site in 2000 was conceived of, and developed by, one of the authors, who managed its introduction from 2000 to 2006.
English Australia Journal 30.1
English Australia Journal 28.1