Reflection - a mantra for personal/professional development

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Reflection - a mantra for personal/professional development

Postby Woravut » 14 Sep 2016 13:49

One Monday, Steve talked about reflection of teachers. He used reflection as a means for teacher development.

Is reflection a mantra for personal/professional development?

What is it? How can it be developed? Does it really help us develop ourselves?
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Re: Reflection - a mantra for personal/professional developm

Postby sgtowns » 17 Sep 2016 12:11

I personally feel like reflection is important in anything that we do in life. Reflection brings self-awareness -- understanding our strengths and weaknesses, knowing why we believe the things we believe, realizing how our emotions affect our actions, understanding the motives and perspectives of other people, etc. If we don't ever reflect on these things, it's as if we are going through life blindly.

For the specific question about reflection as a teacher, yes, I believe this is very important to developing our skills and our practices. For example, maybe there is a certain topic that students are not understanding well. We can reflect on this and think about how to do a better job of teaching this topic.
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Re: Reflection - a mantra for personal/professional developm

Postby stevelouw » 20 Sep 2016 07:53

I really feel this is a big question. Like Stuart, I personally feel reflection plays an integral role in a teacher's professional life. Teachers who are reflective (however it is defined) seem to be more confident, more tuned into the students' learning and response to the lessons, and are on the lookout for ways to grow their teaching repertoire. So in the training course, we actively try to promote reflection by getting trainees to objectively consider their lessons, sometimes using videos of the class to get the teacher to see things from an outsider's perspective and reflect on what happened and why.

As to what reflection actually is, that's my question. The literature doesn't really help because everyone seems to have a slightly different definition, and different ways of assessing depth and value. And if we don't know what reflection is, can we really develop in effectively in novice teachers?

Maybe what's needed is an introspective account of a few teachers as they reflect. As Richard pointed out, few experienced teachers write reflective journals, but I'm sure we all berate ourselves on poorly executed lessons, or replay unexpected successes either to ourselves or to anyone who will listen. Perhaps these internal musings need closer attention so we can get an insider's view of what reflection is.
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