Studying one's own professional work is no straightforward matter and adopting the reflective mode is not simply a cerebral activity. As we study our teaching, we are studying the images we hold of ourselves as teachers. Where these established self-images are challenged, questioned and perhaps threatened in the learning process we may experience feelings of instability, anxiety, negativity, even depression. This is especially so if the 'self we come to see in self-study is not the "self we think we are, or the 'self we would like to be. Thinking about our work In self-evaluation can thus be a highly charged emotional experience, one from which we may be tempted to retreat, thus endangering further learning. If, on the other hand, we have the support of caring, sensitive and interested critical friends to help us through these potentially dangerous processes of self-evaluation, we are more likely to remain open to further learning and professional development. The company we keep and the circumstances under which we enter into self-study may have a significant effect, for better or worse, on our professional learning. These issues are illustrated by the experience of two award-seeking teacher action researchers who used video in their classrooms to aid their self-study. The paper argues for greater attention to be given to the nature of the learning climate in which self-study, self-evaluation and developmental self-appraisal take place. If the learning climate is not 'right', self-study may become self-defeating.
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