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The study's participating teachers expressed understandings and ways of thinking that constrained their capacity to reflect productively. There were very few occasions where teachers' behaviors could be characterized as reflective. Teachers kept their personal meanings private, operated with tacit assumptions unquestioningly and unawarely, operated freely with underlying incoherent meanings, and were unperturbed when their meanings were misaligned with their students or with their colleagues. Teachers did not question their own or their colleagues' meanings, did not question their assumptions, did not question the coherence of their meanings, and did not question whether their meanings were aligned or even compatible with those of their students or colleagues. I propose an orientation toward learning and teaching of mathematics (called an empirical orientation) as a potential way of thinking that accounts for teachers' ways of operating and helps to explain teachers' reticence to reflect. An empirical orientation hinders productive reflection because it constrains teachers' capacity to take their own actions and thoughts as objects of thought, and it constrains teachers' ability to take the points of view of their students and of their colleagues.