Teachers’ Development of Critically Reflective Practice through the Creation of Classroom Materials

  • Marina Bouckaert-den Draak

Student thesis: EdD


The research presented in this dissertation explores the interaction between English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teachers and the classroom materials they develop. It aims to illuminate the potential value of this creative process for teachers’ development of critically reflective practice (CRP). For many EFL teachers, materials are an essential part of their pedagogy. Despite the widespread availability of publications for this compulsory subject in Dutch secondary education, many teachers choose to supplement the coursebook with their own materials. A premise of this research is that the materials teachers develop embody their personal theories of action regarding EFL teaching and learning. These theories, consisting of espoused principles and principles-in-use, are conceptualised as the teachers’ pedagogic principles. Critical reflection may help teachers uncover their espoused and tacit principles with the aim to align them, and improve their teaching practice. The central question is: In what ways does classroom materials development offer teachers of English a tool for CRP?

The research questions are addressed through a qualitative, exploratory, embedded multiple-case study approach. Four Dutch EFL teachers are considered as individual cases. The components of each case are analysed to present an encompassing view of the materials development process: reflective logs (creation), the materials themselves (product), and lesson observations (use) are supplemented with pre- and post-lesson interviews to complete data collection. Data are analysed through deductive and inductive within-case analysis and cross-case synthesis. Findings suggest that teachers’ pedagogic principles are multifarious, informed by practical and pragmatic considerations, and revealed at several points and in a variety of ways during the materials development process. Yet it is only when teachers engage in dialogue about them that increased awareness of these principles ensues. CRP may thus be stimulated by a critical friend, and the materials development process can provide an impetus for discussion and dialogue.
Date of Award2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Roehampton
SupervisorJulie Shaughnessy (Supervisor) & Jacqueline van Swet (Supervisor)


  • materials development
  • reflective practice
  • pedagogic principles

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