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Part 1 | Top^
to reflecting on teaching and learning
of this Web site and its activities relies on and promotes a notion of development
through Reflective Practice.
provides you with some information about reflection.
It also gives you the
chance to make a couple of entries in your journal.
is a thinking process associated with professional practice. It relies on being
able to observe or note aspects of your professional practice and spend some time
thinking about them or in other words reflecting.
practice usually results in one of several outcomes
become conscious of the particular practice you are observing and upon reflection
decide that it is a good practice. Because you are more conscious of the practice
you are then able to use that practice in other situations. This is called affirming
- You become conscious of the particular
practice you are observing and upon reflection, even though you think it is currently
a good practice, the act of reflection allows you to become better at it.
is called improving your practice. You become conscious of a particular
practice and decide upon reflection that it is not a helpful practice and you
try to change it. This is called disconfirming your practice.
What is observation?
A starting point for reflecting on professional practice is beginning to observe
what it is you do when you undertake your professional practice. This can be thought
of as like being the camera operator for a documentary about you and your profession.
Making observations is like taking extensive camera footage.
Practice was first though about by John Dewey, one of the most significant thinkers
about education in the 20th century.
read more about John Dewey at the following web site
Just thinking at this
what are five things you can observe in the situation you are in
at the moment?
What are five things you can observe about yourself in this
Making sense of observations
Once we have observations we can then begin to make sense
of these. Often this is done with reference to "common" sense or experience.
People rely on their own knowledge and access to theories that have accumulated
over time. In professional life it is also worthwhile to access contemporary knowledge
about the particular observations and this can help us to make sure our practice
is always in line with current thinking. Contemporary knowledge can be accessed
through a range of sources including professional development, professional journals
and specialist (hard or electronic) books and resources.
What types of knowledge did you draw on to make sense of your observations?|
The Learning Cycle
Kolb, an educational writer, presented John Dewey's concepts on reflective practice
in the form of a model that he described as - The Learning Cycle.
- Experiencing or immersing oneself in the "doing"
of a task is the first stage in which the individual, team or organization simply
carries out the task assigned. the engaged person is usually not reflecting on
the task as this time, but carrying it out with intention.
involves stepping back from task involvement and reviewing what has been done
and experienced. The skills of attending, noticing differences, and applying terms
helps identify subtle events and communicate them clearly to others. One's paradigm
(values, attitudes, values, beliefs) influences whether one can differentiate
certain events. One's vocabulary is also influential, since without words, it
is difficult to verbalize and discuss ones perceptions.
involves interpreting the events that have been noticed and understanding the
relationships among them. It is at this stage that theory may be particularly
helpful as a template for framing and explaining events. One's paradigm again
influences the interpretive range a person is willing to entertain.
enables taking the new understanding and translates it into predictions about
what is likely to happen next or what actions should be taken to refine the way
the task is handled.
Source : http://www.css.edu/users/dswenson/web/PAGEMILL/Kolb.htm
The Reflective Practitioner
Teachers, as one of many professionals, use Reflective Practice
to improve their teaching practice.
times the author Donald
Schon has adapted many of Dewey's ideas into a concept called The Reflective
You can find additional information
on The Reflective Practitioner Here
or use google.
Donald Schon's Presentation "Educating
the Reflective Practitioner"
|Using Journal work to Reflect on Professional
One of the ways we can document our observations
of professional practice is through the use of a journal. A journal is a written
notation of what you have observed.
The observations can
be observations that you are making on your current life.
are many different ways of keeping a journal. In this course we are using what
is called guided reflection. Guided reflection involves being directed to particular
issues and writing about them. A journal can also include
your reflections on your observations or just notes.
this project we will be using an online journal to keep our notes. record reflections
on the observations we have made. You
can log on here
Now try logging on to your
journal. You could start your entry with the
When I think back on my own experiences of learning
Making sense of your observations
we make observations we are also making sense of those observations. We make sense
of them by drawing on bodies of knowledge. Often that knowledge is our 'common
sense' or experience. Sometimes the bodies of knowledge can be theories about
learning or teaching.
What are the bodies of teaching and learning knowledge that YOU
use to make sense of your professional (teaching) observations?
Part 2 | Top^
What do I need to know about myself as a teacher?
any given point in time, our understanding
about ourself can be influenced by a range of factors.
of these include:
The events in our life that have had an impact on the way we are at the present.|
processes we use to understand a situation|
stimuli that prompt us to action.|
beliefs and emotions we have towards particular situations and ourselves.|
about worth, usefulness and importance.|
stimulus created in our sensory organs.|
interaction of the location we live and the people we live with the rules that
different drives we have.|
A competency model of learning
is a term that means ability.
Another way of thinking about competency is
an expression of what we have learned.
Three major categories
- Cognitive learning
- Affective learning
output from Cognitive learning is what we know - our
The output from Psychomotor learning
is what we do - our skills.
The output from Affective learning is what we feel - our
These attitudes can be traced back
to our belief systems or paradigms.
Part 3 | Top^
What do I need to know about students
in order to teach them?
In the teaching learning situation the student is a critical participant. The
student is the person who will learn, the person who has thoughts and feelings
like each one of us, the person who has likes and dislikes, who laughs and who
cries, who has views and opinions, who agrees and disagrees, who loves and maybe
who hates. Each student is an individual person - and we as teachers need to reflect
on that reality.
Here we view the student from
just three of the many possible perspectives by which a student can be thought
the make up and individuality of a student
- " students'
different learning styles, and
- " the different ways
that students can be helped with learning.
is a student?
What is a student? This is a fundamental
question for us as teachers. Imagine being asked to explain fully what you understand
the word "student" to mean. What would you say or state? How comprehensively
would you be able to explain the work? How would you start and in what logical
order would you approach the task? This is your challenge and by the end of this
Session hopefully you will at least have developed a whole set of questions that
you would like answered about, "what is a student?"
Write in your journal ,as many ideas as possible that
come to your mind when asked the question, "What is a student?"
Development of Self Concept
self-concept develops through
- Reflected Appraisal
is where a person is told by a significant other, such as a teacher or a parent,
that they are valuable and their work is valuable.
Social Comparison is when we make comparisons between ourselves and others whom
we believe to be similar, or comparisons are made for us between ourselves and
others. Through these comparisons we internalise that we are as 'good' as others.
Adler, R., Rosenfeld, L. Towne, N. (1983) Interplay Holt-Saunders
can this have on self-esteem?
Please make an entry in your journal on
what must teachers do about student self-esteem?
4 | Top^
What is your
image of a teacher? Most likely you can look back across years of schooling and
studying and from that experiential base you have a fairly solid view about what
is a teacher. Some of your teachers may have impacted on you significantly, for
good or bad, while some teachers can barely be remembered. As you were a developing
as a person your whole approach to learning, to schooling and to finding your
place in this world, would have been influenced greatly by your teachers. Consequently
your image of a teacher will be shaped by that experiential base.
Indeed we need you to think more deeply about, what is a teacher? How certain
are you that your image of a teacher is fully adequate? How sure are you that
your image of a teacher embraces all that is known about what a teacher should
be like, or should do in the role of helping students learn and develop? This
Module Four will challenge and hopefully extend your thinking about what it means
to be a teacher - particularly a teacher in this year and beyond.
There are many perspectives from which we can approach a Module on The ideal teacher
but we have chosen the following questions to focus our approach.
- " What is a teacher?
What does a teacher need to know?
- " How
can a teacher become more effective?
How should a teacher start to think about teaching?
Approaches to Teaching
There are many ways of looking at approaches to teaching.
One way of thinking about this is the difference between teacher centred
and student centred teaching.
is this approach like for the teacher?
decides what is to be learned.
- Teacher decides when is
to be learned.
- Teacher decides how the learning
- Teacher sets the classroom timetable.
sets the grouping of students.
- Teacher sets the room arrangement.
sets the room displays.
- Teacher decides the learning
- Teacher sets the classroom rules.
- Teacher determines the consequences.
decides the classroom discipline.
- Teacher decides
the evaluation of learning.
- Teacher works to
What is this approach like for the teacher?
decides only some of what is learned.
- Teacher provides the conditions
- Teacher enables students to choose:
- what they want to learn
- when they learn (timetable-wise)
they learn with
- how they learn.
is a facilitator of learning, a guide.
- " Teacher
encourages the development of self:
- Teacher works to enable students to become wise and good decision-makers.
gives equal weighting to cognitive and affective domains.
| What are the advantages
of each approach?|
- Easier to manage for the teacher.
has a greater sense of control over what is happening in the class.
students prefer a teacher-centred style.
- Set curriculum
can be monitored more effectively.
find more students enjoy learning.
- Curriculum is more meaningful,
relevant and integrated for students.
- Learning is more
- Classroom discipline is more positive.
Another approach to learning, and one
along a quite different direction to teacher-centred and student-centred approaches,
has become known as the problem-solving approach. In a problem solving approach
students are presented with specific authentic, practical or hypothetical problems
or sets of problems to solve.
Thinking back on what you have been reading and thinking about teaching and learning,
please make an entry in your journal on
what you think makes a good teacher?
5 | Top^
Ways about thinking of teaching
Teaching within a culture
The students learning and the teachers
teaching just do not occur in settings that, to all intents and purposes, look
the same across all learning environments. Every learning environment is different,
just like every student is different and every teacher is different.
learning situation is idiosyncratic with its unique character determined, in part,
by the general locality, the economic base of that locality, the profile of the
people who live in the locality, and the nature of the prevailing community spirit.
The culture of a community, whether it be a
remote community or a metropolitan suburban community, influences greatly the
nature of the happenings within a learning institution. No learning institution
functions in isolation from the community in which it is located. No teacher can
work away in a classroom and believe that they are in no way being influenced
by the community. The connections between classroom, university and community
are inextricably interwoven and the adept teacher is one who takes time to "read"
that community as he or she strives to be effective.
So, it is important to recognise the culture of your students, you, your institution and the community in which you are teaching.
"Teaching in a Philosophical
is the science or the study of thoughts. Every educational
approach is driven by a particular philosophy.
practices are underpinned with a variety of philosophies. You
might ask the question:
- What are the foundational
thoughts about this approach?
Or break the question
down into more specific questions:
- What does this approach
suggest about learning?
- What does this approach
suggest about teaching?
- What does this approach
suggest about the students?
- What does this approach
suggest about the teacher?
- What does this approach
suggest about assessment?
So the philosophical
context for your teaching is important.
philosophy of a student-centred approach?
approach was one that was articulated in the 1960's in a state school system in
the United States.
- The emphasis must be upon learning,
rather than teaching.
- A student must be accepted as a person.
should be based upon the individual's strong, inherent desire to learn and to
make sense of his environment.
- All people need success
- Education should strive to maintain the individuality
and originality of the learner.
- Emphasis should be upon
a child's own way of learning - through discovery and exploration - through real
rather than abstract experiences.
- The development of an
individual's thought process should be primary.
should perceive the learning process as related to their own sense of reality.
individual must be allowed to work according to his own abilities.
teacher's role must be that of a partner and guide in the learning process.
development of a personal philosophy, basic set of values, is perhaps one of the
most important of human achievements.
- We must seek to individualise
our expectations of a person's progress as we strive to individualise the learning
experiences for each person.
- The environment within which
students are encouraged to learn must be greatly expanded.
school should provide a structure in which students can learn from each other.
provide a maximum learning experience for all students requires the involvement
and support to the entire community.
- Schools should be
compatible with reality. Learning which is compartmentalised into artificial subject
fields by teachers and administrators is contrary to what is known about the learning
This philosophy of a student-centred approach
is presently driving teaching in Australia.
Part 6 | Top^
More ways about thinking of teaching
within a Belief System
The term paradigm indicates a belief system. Belief systems are the strongest
foundation to practices.
The teacher has belief systems about themselves,
their students and the subjects they teach.
Students have belief systems about
themselves and their teacher and the nature of schooling.
belief systems is called critical reflective practice.
In part 1 we talked about
reflective practice as making sense of one's practice in the light of the bodies
In this module we take that concept one step
further endeavouring to understand the different bodies of knowledge that inform
our understanding of given situations. This is called critical reflective practice.
The term critical is used in this phrase to
indicate a deep form of thinking rather than censuring or finding fault, as the
word sometimes means. This deep thinking involves exploring the belief systems
or basic assumptions that underpin a particular body of knowledge.
The teaching/learning paradigms
Any practice is can be evaluated in terms of the range of belief systems - or
paradigms - that influence that practice
teaching and learning:
- The teacher has beliefs
about themselves, the students, the curriculum and the context in which they
- The students have beliefs about themselves,
what they are learning and the value and nature of schooling.
stakeholders linked to a students' education also have belief systems.
The Self Fulfilling Prophecy
self-fulfilling prophecy occurs when we make a prediction or formulate a belief
that proves true because we have made the prediction and have acted on it as if
it were true. Identifying the four basic steps in the self-fulfilling prophecy
should clarify this important conept and its implications for interpersonal perception.
- We make a prediction or formulate a belief about a
person or situation (For example we believe that a group of students is below
- We act toward that person or situation as
if the prediction or belief is in fact true. (For example we teach the group of
students without any expectations of their achievement)
we act as if it were true it becomes true. (For example the students fail to achieve
because we have not indicated our expectations that they will)
observe our effect on the person or the situation and what we see strengthens
our initial belief. (For example we conclude that the students are in fact low
Source: De Vito, J. (1988)
Human Communication. The Basic Course. Harper and Row Publishers, New York.
activities on this page are sourced from: Hill, G. (2004). EDP 1101 Guide, Reflecting
on teaching and learning. Perth, Edith Cowan University.
move on to Activity 2
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