Dinkleman 2003 Self-Study in Teacher Education

Dinkleman, T. (2003). Self-study in teacher education: A means and ends tool for promoting reflective teaching. Journal of Teacher Eudcation, 54(1), 6-18.

Summary: In this article, Dinkleman makes a case for self-study as a critical approach for teacher educators, and perhaps a signature pedagogy of teacher educator education (although he doesn’t use those terms). He defines self-study as  “intentional and systematic inquiry into one’s own practice” (p. 8).


  • “The assertion is that self-study serves a dual purpose: as a means to promote reflective teaching and as a substantive end of teacher education in its own right” (p. 7).
  • The rationale for his case ascribes to these key points:

    • “the congruence of reflection with the activity of teaching;
    • the potential of self-study for knowledge production, of value for both local contexts and the broader teacher education research community;
    • opportunities to model reflective practice;
    • value of self-study participation for preservice students;
    • possibilities for programmatic change” (p. 8).
  • “In teacher education, then, the knowledge yielded by self-study not only provides insight into the particular issue under investigation but also helps us to recast our future efforts to encourage reflective growth in preservice teachers” (p. 9).
  • “Self-study by teacher educators, a form of deliberate and systematic reflection that is oftentimes visible to students, promotes reflective teaching by the very example it sets” (p. 11).
  • “Genuine self-study is generated and initiated by teacher educators at the local levels because they are curious about something in their own practice and wish to systematically study it” (p. 15).
  • He also makes note of the multiple terms used to describe similar concepts like inquiry and action research. He shares, “As used in this article, self-study shares much in common with popular notions of teacher research nad action research. Although certainly not synonymous, these forms of inquiry are related in important ways. Cochran-Smith and Lytle (1990) defined teacher research as ‘systematic, intentional inquiry by teachers’ (p. 5). Kemmis and McTaggart (1988) defined action research as systematic inquiry by practitioners into their own practice, usually proceeding by way of a spiraling, recursive series of at least these four steps: plan, act, observe, and reflect. Variations on these terms abound. There is significant debate over what should and should not be included under these headings. Questions center on the purpose of the inquiry, whether collaboration is an essential feature, who benefits from the research, the use to which resulting knowledge is put, and the intended audience” (p. 16).