The Role of Critical Reflection in Teaching

Module 1: Reflective Teaching Practice

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Have you ever filled out evaluation forms both personally or for another person?  How many of these did you take seriously?  Did you even think that this has a bearing to the one being evaluated?

I think everywhere I go, there will always be a kind of evaluation may it be in a restaurant, at work and definitely in school.  As the one filling out the form, sometimes I just write what just comes to my mind, not realizing that this is a form of reflection for that person I am evaluating.  Now, after reading this module on Reflective Teaching Practice, it made me realize just how important reflection whether from myself or from other sources is very important in making me better as a person and as a teacher in the future.

In my journey to become a teacher, experiences as a student or as a trainee come out once in a while.  During these times, there are a lot of things that I was thankful for but also a lot that I would have liked to change.  However, it is useless to dwell in the past but rather focus on the future and make sure that I will use these reflections to guide me in my career as a teacher.

It is very refreshing to have a view of the importance of reflection in teaching and more if it is of the critical type.  I do not know if it is unfortunate or not but there were a lot of activities that hindered my learning before and unfortunately my teachers did not see that.  It is true that not all learners are the same but going to school in the ‘80s and 90’s did not provide us with a lot of variety in school.  It was more of a traditional type of teaching unlike now where the participation of students both in planning and implementation are taken into consideration.  Teachers then follow what was traditionally done.  I do not even remember having mandatory teacher evaluations at the end of the school year.  I guess reflective teaching then was not that emphasized.

With this module, it made me realize and excited to design instructions that reflected what I would have wanted to happen before.  Using my autobiography as learner lens for example, I would do away with activities that will just elevate the knowledgeable and put down the introverts.  Another thing is I will do away with group works that will make possible unfairness and inequality with regards to both work distribution and grades.  Unfair grouping is one thing that teachers usually do not see as they are not using their students’ eyes lens.  Also, although it is not that easy, with these realizations, I would like in the future to make sure that students do not experience what I did which includes the presence of power in the classroom that is enjoyed by only a few.

This module is an eye opener for me.  Now, I know that constant checking if what I am doing is right is called reflection and my previous “whining” while studying as manifested by my saying “it should be like this and not like that” could be minimized if only my teachers practiced reflective teaching and could have taught me reflective learning.  As a future teacher then, I should realize that learners are different and to realize that one design cannot work for all.  Thus, Kolb’s experiential learning theory which includes concrete experience, reflection, abstract conceptualization and active experimentation will help me be able to individualize teaching and attain optimum students’ learning.

To end this note, reflection I believe is very important especially in teaching since as a teacher, I would like my students to learn not just while in the classroom but rather have learning they can apply in real life.  For this to happen, I need to adjust my teaching also and this can only be done by constantly checking myself, evaluating, experimenting and reflecting.  This is a continuous process and one that I will fully embrace to follow in the future.

References:

J L.  (2007, February 13).  Experiential Learning (Kolb) in Learning Theories.  Retrieved from https://www.learning-theories.com/experiential-learning-kolb.html.

The Reflective Teacher. Retrieved from.  http://www.mheducation.co.uk/openup/chapters/9780335222407.pdf

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