All entries for Sunday 13 September 2009

September 13, 2009

Lenses of Critically reflective Teaching

Having read the article by Stephen Brookfield, confirms some of my views, that to succeed in anything you have to be able to analyse yourself and your situation over and over again.

Although, I do agree with  the writer to a certain extent, in some aspects I don't, because of the time gap between my learning and today. Technology is different today, the computer and the web are such powerful tools, that even if tried teaching the I was taught,I'll fail. I'll just appear outdated. Besides, if I've  an advanced learner or a learner who is well educated in his country of origin, he  might question my knowledge, and I must be prepared for that. I do agree that some negative experiences that may have influenced my  learning , I'll definitely try and avoid.

I liked the bit on our Colleagues experience and Theoretical literature, while speaking to colleagues is reassuring and insightful, theoretical knowledge just gives it a stamp of approval. But, aren't we supposed to communicate our fears and anxieties with other friends and colleagues? Isn't that the most normal thing to do, to share a good experience to voice feelings over negative experiences? I would most definitely speak to somebody if I had a bad feeling after a class. Shouldn't we be thinking about all experiences in life in general and teaching in particular and try to justify them, and find answers to our mistakes? Also, be able to pat ourselves on the back and say well done, if we do a good job!

Teaching, while seeing through the learner's eyes is again, I think the sign of a sensitive teacher, and a teacher who is in tune with her students, and their needs.

Reflections on my first taught day

TIRING and INTERSTING are the words that first come to my mind, when describing my first day. Tiring because my brain was so tired trying to listen to each and every word, assimilate the information and store it somewhere, anywhere really.
Interesting because there was so much I enjoyed and learnt, for e.g. Elaine’s experiment with the 17 times table. I realized that when it comes to learning we all learn things the way we are used to, or as we were first taught. When people in the class had different ways and means of doing the 17 times table, I kept going back to my own way, in my head. Does that mean our learners acquire knowledge using different tools? But, what I don’t understand is what about when the learner who hasn’t been in formal education, before they came to an ESOL class? How do they cope? Do they pretend to understand things when everyone else seems to be getting on with their work? I think in my practice I need to be more aware of my learner, their previous learning strategies, if they have any.
Another interesting experiment was the one with serviette and water lilies; again the point that struck as most fascinating was how some of us couldn’t do it despite having the same instructions. Does that mean we have to simplify or change instructions for certain learners? But, I also believe that sometimes you just don’t get things right the first time, it doesn’t mean anything. How do we differentiate that it was just one of those things that you didn’t get the first time? I think experience is the answer to all these questions.
Be aware of your learner, their learning style, their background both academic and personal is going to be my mantra.
Feedback,I in my opinion is just being able to see what another person thinks about your work. It may be good, in that case there is really nothing to worry about, but if there are things to work on, then it only depends how positively it is put forward.

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