One of Module 2’s readings, Schon (1991) highlighted the importance of ‘reflection in practice.’ The powerful analogy of a baseball pitcher adjusting his tactics while in the game (p. 54), allowed me to reflect on how I adapt my lessons or actions while in the lesson.
One such example occurs when I’m delivering content. Are the students’ eyes glazing over? How long have I been speaking? Do I need to give them a break? Should I emphasise this more? By thinking about these factors (while actively teaching), I’m able to make the alterations necessary to be more effective when delivering content. Schon (1991) asserts that this reflection in action process “is central to the “art” by which practitioners sometimes deal well with situations of uncertainty, instability, uniqueness, and value conflict”(p.50). These mid-lesson alterations may help to improve the overall quality of the learning experience.
Reflection on learning, which Naylor and Bull (2000) simplify and define as “evaluation and learning after the actions have taken place”(p.57-58) is also equally important. One of my previous blog posts highlights a moment where I really began to adopt this practice in a more systematic way. As described in the post, Spillane “reinforced the importance of reflective time. He said ‘a high performing person’s mind grabs all the information it can and makes personal sense of it’ ” (Grant, 2015, para 4). This became the impetus for me implementing a ‘meeting with myself’ (as explained by Spillane) at the end of every teaching day to quickly document what worked well, the even better ifs and broader thoughts. This has helped me to not only keep a record of my successes but help me articulate problem issues so that I can systematically work towards fixing them.
Without reflection in or on learning, little progress could be made in terms of professional development.
Grant, J. (2015). Off the Beaten Track [Blog Post]. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/iteachilearn/2015/05/08/off-the-beaten-track/
Nayler, J., & Bull, G. (2000). Teachers are supposed to teach not learn : exploring the need to support teachers’ professional growth. Change : Transformations in Education, 3(2), 53–65.
Schön, D. A. (1991). From technical rationality to reflection-in-action. In The reflective practitioner: how professionals think in action (pp. 21-69). Aldershot : Ashgate Arena.