Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Reflective Practice of Teaching — Whole Child Education

The Reflective Practice of Teaching — Whole Child Education:

Kenneth Bernstein

The Reflective Practice of Teaching

As a teacher, I cannot imagine not reflecting as a regular part of my teaching practice.
Part of this is because as a shy person who was also an extravert, I had to think about how to interact with other people. I would even as a child take time to step back and reflect—What had I done and why? Had it achieve what I wanted? Why or why not? Was what I wanted an appropriate goal?
From this I began to learn that reflecting after the fact was insufficient: I needed to think about the "why" before I did an action, and to some degree I needed to be able to be metacognitive, that is, to be able to observe and reflect even as I was acting and speaking, to take in and process visual and auditory cues such as tone of voice and body language.
I was fortunate that, when relatively late in life I decided to become a school teacher, I wound up in a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program at Johns Hopkins University which required that we reflect constantly, in all of our courses. Recently I had occasion to clean out some of the accumulated boxes and folders of papers of a lifetime (I am now 67 and we were literally running out of space in our basement). Forty-year-old financial records are no longer necessary, nor are teaching materials more than ten years old. In the process I re-encountered many papers I had written in the MAT program, as well as all of the notebooks I have kept since I was 15. In a few cases I was able to match up notebooks written at the same time as papers and reflections