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Liat Biberman-Shalev Anat Korem Drorit Ram

Abstract

Pre-service teachers' reflection is a common professional practice in the context of teacher education. The integration of blogs as reflective journals in teacher education may contribute to bridging practical field know-how with the academic knowledge base. In particular, the blog may serve as a virtual space for a community of practice where all partners equally develop professionally. The current study focused on the role of the teacher educator in promoting reflective practice by providing online scaffolds in a communal blog. In a qualitative research design that is based on a case study approach, two hundred and four teacher educators' blog comments were collected throughout an academic year and were analyzed. Five major types of online scaffolds within the teacher educator comments were identified: (1) positive feedback; (2) expressing emotions; (3) peer teaching; (4) meta-cognition; and (5) developing a professional language. It can be concluded that shifting from a traditional platform of individual feedback to a more communal online platform is not automatically linked to a model of a community of practice.  As long as the hierarchical positioning of teacher educators compared to pre-service teachers is preserved by codes of academic status and grades the teacher educator's scaffolds would continue to reflect a traditional model rather than the construction of a genuine academic community of practice.

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