Photo by Wouter de Jong
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.
The first section of this week’s resource materials directed us to the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (ATSIL) website where the ‘teacher standards’ are accessed. In my setting, I come across this several times throughout the year. We use them as the basis for our ARM (Annual Review Meetings) and therefore in the goal setting that occurs in term one.
Of the resources explored, the “Global Trends in Professional Learning and Performance Development” publication was of particular interest as it highlighted five trends that underpin professional learning (PL) within education. They include PL that is integrated, immersive, design-led, market-led, and open (ATSIL, 2014, p. 7). Reflecting on my own experience with PL, the ones that I’ve enjoyed the most and have found to be more effective are when it’s been immersive, integrated and design-led.
Katz’s ‘What Counts as Professional Learning’ brought several interesting provocations to light. Firstly, his assertion that “professional development has a small to moderate impact on classroom practices and furthermore, has a small effect on student learning and achievement” (2013) He concludes that despite this, “it is the only thing we really have”(2013). This created the impetus for his research into what really works in PD. In terms of this clip’s suggestions, Katz (2013) argues that in order for learning communities to be effective, the conditions must be constructed for optimal results. Having a diversity within it is a must. The resulting debates and discussion are where the learning happens.
Timperley’s analysis of how teachers learn really seemed to click with me. Her clinical approach through “assessing students diagnostically; understanding what they need to learn next” then applying “pedagogical content knowledge”(2012) really made sense. I’m looking forward to exploring more of Timperley’s work and reflecting on how I can implement it within my teams.
Fullan’s ‘Learning is the Work’ clip paired nicely with Timperley. He observed that people may undertake formal study or attend workshops but not much would change in their workplace. He pinpointed that learning needed to be the work; and that “you won’t improve the organisation if you’re not working on it day after day”(2015). Another point that Fullan (2015) made which resonated discussed the idea that people have to experience the benefits of this form of professional development before they can believe it. This point reinforces the ATSIL’s “Global Trends in Professional Learning and Performance Development” publication highlighting an immersive and integrated undertaking.
Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership. (2014). Global trends in professional learning and performance & development. Retrieved from https://www.aitsl.edu.au/docs/default-source/default-document-library/horizon_scan_report.pdf?sfvrsn=31c1ec3c_0
Fullan, M. (2015). Learning is the Work [Video file]. Retrieved from https://michaelfullan.ca/topic-video-learning-is-the-work/
Katz, S. (2013). What Counts as Professional Learning?.[Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jtRzHajGQ2A
Timperley, H. (2017). Professional Learning that makes a difference to students. [Video File]. Retrieved from http://www.edtalks.org/#/video/professional-learning-makes-difference-students