All entries for January 2020
January 27, 2020
My Teaching Philosophy – Damon
The philosophy that will guide my approach to teaching includes key values and viewpoints that relate to the purpose of education, the function of learning, and role of the teacher. Education, in my teaching philosophy, relates to the development of character, not just to the acquisition of academic skills, knowledge, or subject expertise. Education relates to the process of learning not just about ourselves and the world we live in – important may those be – but also the skills and attitudes required to thrive in today’s fast-changing, complex world. My view on this is highly influenced by the philosophy underpinning the International Baccalaureate (IB), programmes in which my children have been educated in Thailand and France. I have also been influenced by the work of psychologists Martin Seligman (2011) and Angela Duckworth (2016), who emphasise the value of teaching well-being and resilience or “grit”.
Learning, in my teaching philosophy, is a participatory and life-long pursuit. Students should be encouraged to understand education as a continuous process of learning, in which they are actively engaged, rather than a passive, mandatory rite-of-passage that they are relieved from with the completion of examinations. As active agents with a key role in driving their learning, students should be encouraged by their teachers to take risks, make mistakes, and learn from them. These views have been influenced by a “Restitution” training course I attended at my children’s school in New Delhi in 2017. This is Diane Gossen’s behaviour management approach, designed for both parents and schools, which is based on intrinsic motivation (see Gossen 2001, 2007).
Influenced by my academic background in Philosophy, I believe that my role as a teacher should include guiding the students to think critically and creatively. The role of the teacher should be as a facilitator and guide, not as a dispenser of facts. This is consistent with the IB’s inquiry-led approach. But I believe it is important not to under-value knowledge, the pursuit of truth or the role of instruction, as emphasised by Kirschner, Sweller and Clark (2006). Reaching the balance between guided instruction and self-driven inquiry, will be an ongoing challenge.
As a teacher, I should exemplify the continuous, self-driven learning I hope to encourage the students to undertake, and make the effort to continue learning about the most effective pedagogies, as well as any new relevant science on cognition and learning. I concur with Carol Dweck – whose work on the “growth mindset” opened my eyes to the importance of students’ ideas about themselves as learners – who wrote, “The great teachers believe in the growth of the intellect and talent, and they are fascinated with the process of learning” (2017, p.197). The extent to which I may put these values and viewpoints into practice will depend on the support I am provided by my teaching peers and the school, but also on in my confidence to find ways to do so. Since I am yet to begin teaching, I have to be open to the possibility that my teaching philosophy is likely to change as I learn from experience, become familiar with my students, and adjust my approach along the way.
Duckworth, A. (2016). Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. London: Penguin.
Dweck, C. (2017). Mindset, updated edition. London: Robinson.
Gossen, D.C. (2001). Restitution: Restructuring school discipline. Chapel Hill, NC: New View Publications.
Gossen, D. C. (2007). My Child is a Pleasure, 5th edition. Saskatoon, Canada: Chelsom Consultants Ltd.
Kirschner, P. A., Sweller, J. and Clark, R. E. (2006). Why Minimal Guidance During Instruction Does Not Work: An Analysis of the Failure of Constructivist, Discovery, Problem-Based, Experiential, and Inquiry-Based Teaching. Educational Psychologist, 41(2), pp. 75-86.
Selligman, M. E. P. (2013). Flourish. New York: Atria.
January 20, 2020
How using a recognised reflective framework has helped me reflect on and improve my practice
PDP 2: Discuss how using a recognised reflective framework has helped you reflect on and improve your practice as a teacher or learner teacher - Ryan
Using a reflective framework is necessary to improve teacher practice and to continue to develop and understand new research and methodology in education. The following is a brief reflection on how using a reflective framework has helped me improve as a trainee teacher.
The first few lessons I planned and taught were to small reading groups of six learners which I ran on my own. Although I reflected on areas of success and improvement, there was no reflective framework to help deepen my reflection and focus on specific areas I needed to improve aside from my weekly mentor meetings. Without observation from an experienced educator, my reflections were made in the absence of the knowledge of how to improve beyond the surface level. Using Johari’s window, the benefits of a reflective framework that utilizes mentor input becomes clearer in the collaborative work and expanded knowledge a mentor brings to one’s own reflection allowing my knowledge to shift from the blind to the open (Thompson, 2018). Mentor meetings and formal observations allowed me to learn different techniques for a lesson “hook”, formative assessments, and behavior strategies which in turn provided more meaningful self-reflection for subsequent lessons.
These early reflections, carried out in the calm space after lessons, were instrumental in fine tuning lesson planning and carrying out more effective activities in class. However every lesson plan maintains its form only until the lesson begins as the teaching has to adapt to the needs of learners in the moment. Schon describes this as ‘Reflection in Action” as teachers are constantly monitoring and adapting their teaching to how learners respond during the lesson, and the follow up “Reflection on Action” focuses on the effectiveness of different activities, strategies, and methodologies as they occur in the classroom (Moon, 2013).
Reflecting only through an autobiographical lens, as described by Brookfield’s lenses, provides a limited scope of reflection, and applying the peer lens in the form of a mentor or more knowledgeable peer, provides a more experienced and detailed perspective allowing for deeper reflection and enhanced practice to take place. However, Brookfield argues that to truly gain insight and understanding of the class, another lens of reflection needs to be that of the student. Taking reflection even deeper is asking not only is your planning, lessons, and teaching effective, but does it work for all of the students in the classroom? (Brookfield, 2017) This enables reflection that goes beyond the classroom but also looks at teaching pedagogy on a larger scale. On trainee teachers, Larrivee argues the questions need to be not only, “Am I doing it right?”, but “Is this the right thing to do?” (Larrivee, 2008, p. 344).
Effective practitioners use various types of reflection throughout the day as they fine tune and improve their teaching. There are various reflective frameworks to help improve teaching practice, and it is vital to focus on your personal reflections while including one’s peers and the learners perspectives as well. As educational theory and practice is always developing and striving to improve alongside a changing world, the role of teaching is a never ending, life long journey of learning driven by reflection.
Brookfield, S. (2017) Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher. John Wiley and Sons, San Francisco.
Larrivee, B. (2008) 'Development of a tool to assess teachers’ level of reflective practice'. Reflective Practice, 9(3), pp. 341–360. https://doi.org/10.1080/14623940802207451.
Moon, J. (2015) Reflection in Learning and Development, Theory and Practice, (39-53). RoutledgeFalmer, London.
Thompson, C. (2018) The Magic of Mentoring, Developing Others and Yourself. Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, Abingdon, Oxon.
January 13, 2020
Using a reflective framework to reflect on and improve my practice – Nicoletta
Discuss how using a recognised reflective framework has helped you reflect on and improve your practice as a teacher or learner teacher
Reflection is the foundation of learning because, by informing future action, it provides a starting point for development (Raelin, 2001). Systematic analysis and critical evaluation provide a great opportunity to recollect our thoughts and create new ideas. For this reason, reflection is the backbone of the teaching profession.
Being a trainee teacher, I have immensely benefited from using recognised reflective frameworks. I have noticed that it has helped me with addressing misconceptions and with working on my targets in a systematic and pragmatic manner. The reflective framework I have found myself using the most regularly is Schön’s, as it is easily applicable both during teaching and after teaching. Schön identifies two kinds of reflection that he calls reflection-on-action and reflection-in-action (Schön, 1991).
With reflection-in-action, he means thinking about the teaching experience while it is happening to decide how to take immediate action. This can be applied to any aspect of teaching, from pastoral care to making the decision to modify the lesson plan. For example, while I was teaching partitioning to my Year 4 pupils, I realised that the example that I was modelling for them was too complicated; hence, I changed it moving down from using a 4-digit number to a 2-digit number so that all the pupils could assess the learning point. Using the reflection-in-action framework helped to take immediate action to address my mistake still making good use of class time.
With reflection-on-action, Schön means reflecting on actions that have already occurred, putting them in perspective in order to inform our practice. This applies when we rethink about a lesson and use its outcome to inform new planning, new teaching or the action that has to be taken to solve an issue. It is a systematic method to build on our practice experience so that we can improve our teaching strategies and our pupils’ learning. When it comes to Teacher’s Standard 7, I reflect on my practice systematically after class, taking notes of what needs improvement and I reflect on what I can do differently to be on the right path. For example, at the beginning of my placement, reflecting on my practice made me realise that I needed to liaise with the SEN teacher to ask for advice on how to deal with a child who had behavioural issues. The SEN teacher made a support plan. Thanks to that, the child’s behaviour improved. He could access learning and he moved from ESL to the mainstream classroom for all the subjects.
Moreover, I use Schön’s framework when I review my weekly targets in my mentor meeting reports; when I discuss with my mentor about the action I should take to solve a problem; when I reflect on my lesson immediately after an observation, while taking notes on my lesson plan.
As a trainee teacher, I also reflected on action when I wrote my PG1 assignment about talk for writing, and I am reflecting on my practice at this very moment answering this PDP question.
Raelin, J.A. (2001). Public Reflection as the Basis of Learning. Management Learning, 32(1), pp.11–30.
Schön, D. A. (1983) The reflective practitioner: how professionals think in action. New York, NY: Routledge.
January 06, 2020
Happy New Year!
Welcome to the new year and a new term. We hope that you are feeling refreshed and invigorated after the holidays and would perhaps like to consider writing something for this blog.
What is WJETT?
The WJETT blog or Warwick Journal of Education - Transforming Teaching blog is designed to encourage staff and students to disseminate good practice and to engage with their peers on academic cultural critique or areas of research that they find interesting. With the increased focus on ‘teachers as researchers’ in the sector, many qualified teachers are expected to publish the outcomes of any action research projects they undertake. The WJETT blog can be the first step on your journey towards publishing and enables you to experience publishing and reviewing in a friendly and supportive environment.
Can I write about anything in my blog post?
Yes pretty much. Academic cultural critique (Thomson and Mewburn, 2013) is always a good source of content for academic blogs. This can include (but is not limited to) comments and reflections on funding; higher education policy or academic life. You might also want to consider blogging about:
- Academic practice (Saper, 2006)
- Information and/or self-help advice
- Technical, teaching and careers advice
- Your research or practice
- How you’ve undertaken research
- The impact of research on your practice
- An area of research/practice that interests you
- Your teaching experiences/reflections
How long can my blog post be?
Each individual blog post should be no longer than 500 words. Long blocks of text are sometimes hard for readers to digest. Break up your content into shorter paragraphs, bullet points and lists whenever possible. Also include a list of keywords or tags as this makes it easier for Google to find your work.
Do I need to use citations?
No, this is a reflective piece so it does not need to include citations (but you obviously can include them if they are relevant).
Can I include links or images?
We would encourage you to include links to any articles that you have considered whilst writing your blog post. We also welcome the use of images (as long as you have permission to use them) as they can often help to illustrate a point and obviously will not be included in the word limit. Please remember this is a public site so if you want to include images of your students in your classes then you will need permission to do this.
What is the process for submitting a piece of work?
Your blog post should be emailed to me at A.Ball.firstname.lastname@example.org. Once the submission has been reviewed it will either be uploaded at the beginning of the next available week or sent back to you for editing if it requires amendments. You should then send the amended work to me once again and I will then upload it onto the WJETT site.