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Today, we finished the second week of an interpersonal communications course. The students in the course are first term college students, a few fresh out of high school. As is my common practice, I end my week of instruction with reflective questions for the students: What was your significant learning this past week? What principles for everyday life can you extract from our class activities?
My approach to staff development (and teaching) borrows from the thinking of Donald Finkel who believed that teaching should be thought of as “providing experience, provoking reflection.” He goes on to write, … to reflectively experience is to make connections within the details of the work of the problem, to see it through the lens of abstraction or theory, to generate one’s own questions about it, to take more active and conscious control over understanding. ~ From Teaching With Your Mouth Shut Over the last few years I’ve led many teachers and administrators on classroom walkthroughs designed to foster a collegial conversation about teaching and learning.
reflective student Reflection can be a challenging endeavor. It's not something that's fostered in school - typically someone else tells you how you're doing! At best, students can narrate what they did, but have trouble thinking abstractly about their learning - patterns, connections and progress. In an effort to help schools become more reflective learning environments, I've developed this "Taxonomy of Reflection" - modeled on Bloom's approach.
reflective teacher Reflection can be a challenging endeavor. It's not something that's fostered in school - typically someone else tells you how you're doing! Teachers are often so caught up in the meeting the demands of the day, that they rarely have the luxury to muse on how things went. Moreover, teaching can be an isolating profession - one that dictates "custodial" time with students over "collaborative" time with peers.