This qualitative study was designed as a single-case study of a small, public, teacher education program in the Midwest. The author conducted a study on the perceived role of a “critical friends group” (CFG) in the development of beginning secondary teacher candidates’ understandings and practices of reflective practice. Three main types of data, including course assignments, participant interviews, and observations were collected and analyzed. Findings from three (3) focal participants reveal characteristics of reflective teaching from the reviewed literature observed within and across the cases examined here. The perceived importance of the CFG varied on a case-by-case basis, with some experiencing the CFG as friendly, but mostly uncritical, and others remaining indifferent to the arrangement. Additionally, the author elaborates on three broad lessons learned and reinforced through the investigation into the local, including: 1) Critical reflection can and does occur in beginning TCs’ practice, 2) CFGs led to informative learning, but not transformative learning, and 3) Designating a group “critical friends” is neither a guarantee of critical thinking or friendship.

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