Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Topic: Reflecting in Teaching.

Purpose of this blog: Reviews of interesting ideas in recent English education journals.

10-second review: We need to teach our pre-service teachers how to use reflection as part of the teaching experience.

Title: “Meeting the Challenge: Beginning English Teachers Reflect on Their First Year.” M Shoffner, et al. English Journal (July 2010), 74-77.

Quote: “Reflection provides teacher educators with a valuable tool to address these difficult areas with pre-service teachers. Teaching our pre-service teachers how to make sense of their experiences through reflective consideration provides them with a means to interrogate their teaching once they enter the classroom and deal with the challenges they face in the first years of teaching.”

Comment: In my first year of teaching, I taught my classes, thanked my lucky stars that I had got through the day feeling pretty good about my teaching and that was it. That’s teaching as an incomplete act. Taking the time to reflect on what happened, what I did, what worked, what did not work was another dimension to my teaching. But I did not take the time to reflect on what happened. What questions did my teaching raise? I thought about it in passing, but I rarely thought it through in a structured, habitual manner.

Frankly, I never changed my practice of not reflecting on my teaching and I was the poorer teacher for it. Developing in pre-service teachers the habit of reflecting on their teaching experience is a useful idea. Taking the time to brainstorm provides a structure for this reflection.

Similarly, I never reflected on the articles I read in my professional journals. I simply summarized them, which was good, but limited. I never addressed the key question, what does the idea in the article mean to me? That’s what I do now in writing this blog, and it opens up a whole new dimension in my thoughts about teaching English. Now I ask the question, what does the idea mean to me? RayS.

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