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Reflection on this course

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Claire Lloyd

on 28 November 2013

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Transcript of Reflection on this course

Improving Teacher Learning through a Reflective Way of Thinking
Buying time

Reflection needs to happen in community, in interaction with others

Additional criteria that characterise Dewey's concept of reflection:

3. Reflection is a
systematic, rigorous, disciplined
way of thinking

But wait … there’s more …
After the Deluge: What Are We Left With?
Over the years, reflection has suffered from a loss of meaning:
After the Deluge: What Are We Left With?
Built from Dewey to extend our understanding of reflection.

Brought "reflection" into the centre of professional learning through the notion of "Reflective Practice" (1983)

"thoughtfully considering your own experiences as you make the connection between knowledge and practice, under the guidance of an experienced professional within your discipline" (Schon, 1996
This question has given rise to two distinct movements in teacher education:

1. developing teachers' professional knowledge
2. developing teachers' pedagogical reasoning skills
Researchers had linked thought and action to uncover how teachers make decisions;

but they did not identify the decisions teachers should make to be more effective

The “new thing” that replaced research on teacher thinking was
teacher learning:
Teacher Decision Making: The End of the Road
Teachers take into account a broad range of factors when making decisions:
Student factors and outcomes (consequences)
Nature of instructional task (including teaching aim/objectives)
Classroom context/School environment

Teachers develop a
decision making schema
that enables them to consider this information in a way that is consistent with
beliefs and values

about teaching and learning
prior life/educational knowledge and experience
Results of Research: 2 Key Findings
Exploring scenarios like this one, researchers observed that teaching takes place in
an uncertain, complex environment

and involves a
series of decisions
that link thought and action.

These decisions occur:
as teachers plan and evaluate their lesson
during lesson delivery in the moment-to moment thoughts that inform actions
Teacher Decision Making
In your groups consider: How would you respond if the student asked the question during a "whole-class review" with all the other students listening?

Things you might think about:
How can you best use the error?
Is it likely to be a common error?
It is to be discussed in the class?
Should you seek answers from her or from other students?
How will that student feel if her mistake is publicly exposed?
A Layer of Complexity ...

Your Reflective Way of Thinking to Enhance Learning
Study Dewey's definition carefully:
about the personal characteristics (
intellectual, moral, emotional
) that you would need in order to engage in reflective thinking
your ideas with a partner and record them on flip-chart paper
your ideas with the class
Think, pair, share
Reflective Action
- "the active, persistent and careful consideration of any belief or supposed form of knowledge" (Dewey, 1910, p. 6).
The teacher questions established rules, received truths, traditional values, and regular routines

1. Reflection is
a meaning-making process
that moves the teacher
from one experience and idea to the next
with a deeper understanding of its relationships with and connections to other experiences and ideas.

2. Reflection reflects an ability to
harness our attitudes and emotions
, our human tendency to see what we wish were true.

3. Reflection
requires attitudes that value the personal and intellectual growth
of oneself and others
When all else fails …
Practitioners promoted a range of different methods of reflection
Reading logs
Critical incident logs
Professional Development Plans
Reflective conversations
A Deluge of Methods

– introduced the idea of reflection as experiential learning - ideas are formed and modified through experience

– a framework to promote systematic thinking about an activity or experience

– a simple model to help practitioners make sense of "real life" situations

John’s model
- uncovering and making explicit the knowledge that we use in practice

– a model to guide reflection on action

– phases to promote critical reflection

Brookfield’s Lenses
- encourages teachers to uncover the assumptions, beliefs, values that inform their practice

A Deluge of Models
Reflective Practice:
The Great Deluge
Originated with Dewey over 100 years ago:

Dewey distinguished between:
Routine action
–the reasons for our actions have not been actively considered
Tradition, external authority and circumstances guide action
There is a reliance on rules and codes

Reflective action

- "the active, persistent and careful consideration of any belief or supposed form of knowledge" (1910, p. 6).
The teacher questions established rules, received truths, traditional values, and regular routines

"a commitment by trainees to
take responsibility for their own professional development
by reflecting throughout their careers in order to improve" (Zeichner, 1994)

What is the Point of Reflective Thinking?

In small groups, answer the following questions:

1. What is reflective thinking?
Write a short definition
2. What is the point of reflective thinking?

Share your ideas.

Why the Focus on Reflection?
Coping with Complexity

Recognising the importance of effective decision making to successful teaching, several substantive lines of inquiry emerged that examined the decision process in more detail
Teacher Decision Making
Take this incident:
a student has come to you at your desk with a subtraction problem and wants to know if her answer is right.
The Complexity of Teacher Decision Making
Experienced Teachers
more fully developed schema
to categorize information about students and the problems to expect in the classroom.

Can quickly make sense of classroom contexts and student information and decide how to respond
Were not as good at recognising patterns of behaviour
When they do note them they are less likely to make proper inferences about the situation.

Have underdeveloped schema
The number of factors to consider when making a decision often overwhelmed novice teachers
Univ. Cambridge, 1970's: investigated teachers' decision making in the classroom
Talked to experienced and novice teachers to look at the range of decision options open to them

Viewed teacher’s decision making in a particular situation
tape-recorded lessons
of mathematics teachers, occasionally video recording them as well, and discussed incidents from those lessons with them to discover how they made decisions
Alan Bishop
(Prof. Emeritus Monash)
Cognitive psychologist at Stanford University’s Center for R&D in Teaching
Presented teachers with teaching scenarios to explore the factors informing their decision-making during planning and practice
Taught trainee teachers isolated skills (about 20 at the time!) known to be correlated with student achievement and coached them in deploying the skills through micro-teaches and classroom observations
(Prof. Emeritus Stanford)
Extended the work of cognitive psychologists by exploring the knowledge-based of experienced and novice teachers

Began "The Knowledge Growth in Teaching Programme" in the 1980s to explore teachers’ cognitive understanding of teaching and the relationships between such understanding and their instructional decisions
Lee Shulman (Prof. Emeritus Stanford)
2. Reflective Practice
Bottom up reform
Teachers are not just technicians who carry out what others, removed from the classroom, want them to do
Teachers should have an active voice in making decisions about “what works” in their classroom based on sound reasoning, practical knowledge and appropriate information
1. Evidenced-Based Practice

Top-down reform
Decisions about effective practice should not be left to teachers.
Judgments about ‘‘what works’’ should filter down from researchers and policy makers based on randomised, control group experiments that establish ‘‘beyond reasonable doubt” the effectiveness of the instructional strategies
A New Direction: How do we help teachers become better decision makers?
Reflection - Origins
Reflective Practice:
Donald Schön
Schon Distinguished Between Two Types of Reflective Practice

Reflection in action
– thinking about a unique, uncertain and conflicted situation on your feet - giving rise to an ‘on the spot experiment’
When have you engaged in reflection in action?

Reflection on action
– thinking about the experience after the event to reach solutions that can be applied in new situations
When have you engaged in reflection on action?
Another Layer of Complexity ...
You decide to ask the student how she got that answer, but she doesn’t respond, what do you do?

Do you persist with her or ask someone else? If the latter, whom do you ask?

Five students have their hands up, the rest have them down. Are they paying attention? Should you ask the one in the corner who looks like he's asleep, though you know he's quite shy and might be embarrassed?

Four boys at the back are messing around. Do you ask one of them, even though you know you might get an "off-topic" response?

Perhaps it would be better to work through the answer yourself and model the process on the board. But how will you know if they all listened and understand?
“A rather complex environment is rendered predictable and simplified in order for the teacher to handle its complexity” (Borko et al. p. 120. )
Can lead to errors and biases:
e.g. when a description of a student matches the stereotypical view (i.e. of academic "spurters") even if the description is unreliable, incomplete or outdated, teachers may predict that the student fits that view and has expectations about that student’s behaviour and performance
Novice teachers have limited knowledge of subject-specific instructional strategies and the behaviour and thinking of their students.

This can lead to:
the need for considerable preparation
a focus on surface features of the teaching context and literal understandings of teaching "events", to reduce the complexity of the teaching process
What is Reflective Thinking?
“the necessary process needed in order to plan more efficiently and effectively when teaching"
“developing the habit of considering and reviewing the practice of teaching"
“keeping note on what you have done and using it as evidence later on”
“a holistic act of teaching”
“…the process of teaching and thinking about the strengths and weaknesses, your personal areas to improve on, and also about what the students were getting out of the lesson”

Inspired by Schon's work, researchers and teacher educators all over the world began considering how they were promoting reflective practice
This gave rise to a huge amount of literature about how to develop new teachers into reflective practitioners

Reflective practice quickly became a slogan embraced by teacher educators from every political and ideological persuasion to frame and justify what they were doing
Even a brief review of the literature
reveals tremendous
variation in the different visions of reflective teaching:

judge the effectiveness of the teaching strategies
in achieving desired outcomes;
clarify the assumptions underlying what is considered "effective" teaching practice
and assess the adequacy of the educational goals;
to situate teaching within a broader social landscape and
critique its moral and ethical agenda
Hobbs (2007, p. 406) suggests that
“not every individual wants to engage in critical reflection”
as it demands a self-examination that involves challenging existing assumptions and beliefs, which can be both emotionally demanding and time consuming.

Teacher trainees can consider critical refection
professionally “risky”,
with the “pressure to perform well academically discouraging honest and uninhibited reflection” (p413) . Hence reflections can tend to be “superficial and guarded” (Hobbs, 2007, p. 413).
*see h/o in iPDP
INDIVIDUAL BIAS: Critical reflection is more effective through dialogue with others, which allows the sharing of thoughts and ideas.

Kettle and Sellars (1996) found that peer reflective groups encouraged teachers to challenge their existing theories and pre-conceived views of teaching.

However, there remains a strong focus on reflection as an individual activity rather than a collective learning process amongst communities of teachers who support and sustain each other's growth (Zeichner, 2008).

reflection is often used to help trainee teachers better replicate teaching strategies that research has found to be effective in raising student outcomes, which limits the opportunities for teachers to make professional judgements about their own classrooms.

the focus has been on the teacher’s own teaching skills and strategies, rather than on the broader socio-political contexts in which education occurs and the moral and ethical dimensions of practice.
‘open-mindedness’, ‘responsibility’ and ‘whole-heartedness’ (Dewey, 1933)
always on the look out for something better
questioning of premise in situations
intuition and passion
curiosity and a desire for growth
keen observation, reasoning and analysis skills
driven by a will to know
engaging with the ideas of others
Study Dewey's additional criteria carefully and add to your diagram:

about the personal characteristics/dispositions (intellectual, moral, emotional) that you would need to engage in reflective action
your ideas with a partner and add to your diagram
your ideas with the class
Think, pair, share
What personal characteristics (intellectual, moral, emotional) would you need to have to engage in reflective thinking?
"How to think reflectively is not a bandwagon issue. It is not a fad whose time has come and gone but perhaps the most essential piece of what makes us ... learners"

"Reflection is a particular way of thinking and cannot be equated with a haphazard "mulling over" something"
(Rodgers, 2012, p. 866)
Encouraging students to reflect on their learning experiences has been widely reported in the literature as problematic (Barclay 1997, Stalker et al 2001)
Decision-making is an activity which is at the heart of the teaching process.
1. The Complexity of Decision Making (Schema)
Situate reflection with an understanding of the complexity of teacher decision making
Identify the origins of reflection in education
Explore key characteristics of reflective thinking
Define your own way of thinking reflectively to enhance your "learning from practice"
Identify a simple model to structure your reflective thinking "in action"

2. Key differences in the decision making of experienced and novice teachers
How do we help teachers become better decision-makers?
The explosion of interest in the idea of teachers as reflective practitioners created a great deal of confusion about what is meant by the term reflective teaching

Today you can tell very little about an approach to teaching from an expressed commitment to the idea of reflection
In small groups brainstorm the following:
1. What are some of the possible responses open to you?
2. Which one would you choose, and why?
Use the ideas on your flip-chart to identify the personal characteristics (intellectual, moral, emotional) you feel are important for your reflective thinking.

Revise your original definition of a reflective way of thinking (on intellectual, moral, emotional dimensions) that can help you take an informed and evaluative approach to your own learning (bullet points are okay).
Share your ideas with the group.
“Evidence does not supply us with rules for action but only with hypotheses for intelligent problem solving.”(John Dewey)
Bishop, 1976
Reflection in Action
Rolfe et al (2001) propose a framework that uses Borton’s (1970) developmental model. The questions "What? So what? Now what?" can stimulate reflection from novice to advanced levels
Descriptive level of reflection

What is the problem/issue/situation?
What is my role?
What actions did I take?
What is the response of others?
So What?
Theory - and knowledge - building level of reflection

So what other knowledge can I bring to the situation?
• experiential
• personal
• scientific
Now What
Action-orientated (reflexive) level of reflection

Now what do I need to do in order to make things better/stop being stuck/resolve the situation/etc.?
Bolton's Reflective Model (adapted by Rolfe)
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