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Teachers live in an ever-changing environment, which necessitates mindful practice. Critical thought, according to Brookfield (2017), is a teacher's journey to discovering their value. Indeed, Brookfield suggests a model for teachers to use in order to focus on their assignments. Brookfield's four lens model incorporates autobiographical, student's eye, friends, and scientific literature. According to Brookfield, the autobiographical prism is the foundation of objective reflection since it reflects on the teacher's own encounters as a learner. Teachers must analyze their perspectives by comparing personal expectations, instructional journals, and student reviews. In essence, the autobiographical lens enables teachers to comprehend aspects of their pedagogy that are effective, and those that need improvement.
Additionally, there is also the lens of comprehending the student’s experiences. Teachers need to evaluate student aspects such as assessment answers, journals and focus groups so that they can understand their students better. According to Brookfield (2017) this lens enables the teacher to understand the assumptions that manage the current power relationships in the classroom. In essence, ensures that the teacher understands the student better.
Furthermore, teachers may also reflect on their experience through peer feedback. Indeed, teachers can look at their peers for mentoring and revealing the hidden habits of teaching practice. Additionally, peers can also provide solutions to problems that other teachers face. Informal discussions with peers, application of teaching awards along with peer review can lead better motivation and learning outcomes. Lastly, there is the lens of theoretical literature. Brookfield argues that teachers, who read, research and publish scholarly work showcase and advanced level of practice compared to peers. The literature enables the teachers to comprehend the environment and the ways in which they teach. In general, Brookfield’s theory recognizes that teachers are supposed to critically reflect on their practice on a continued basis so that they can offer democratic and enhanced learning experiences.
Reflection upon Professional Practice
Design of Learning Programs
More often than not, I find myself applying Brookfield’s four lenses in the design of learning programs. My design of learning programs involves the identification of students’ needs, setting objectives and determining the model of implementation as well as evaluation. In this case, I use the lens of autobiographical to determine the students’ needs. For example, my previous experiences largely impact on the way in which I design my programs as I have realized the methods that work and the ones that do not. Additionally, I also refer to teaching journals as I try to create an enhanced learning program for my students. The other lens that I use in design is the student experiences. I look at their discussion responses in online classes so as to determine gaps in knowledge. Furthermore, the students’ answers to assessments also enable me in designing a learning program.
According to Badia (2017), peer review provides constructive feedback on which teachers can design their learning programs. For example, when I am designing a learning program, I ensure that I involve colleagues so that they can provide critique. Additionally, in some of my online classes, I invite a peer to review the learning outcomes that I have set so that they can help me in determining if they are effective or not. Further, the theoretical literature lens also enhances my design of learning programs in several ways. For instance, before I design any learning program I ensure that I have read published literature to understand what is being done on the field. Considering Badia (2017) teachers need to do purposeful learning to find out how literature informs their practice. In general, I combine the fours lenses in designing an effective learning program.
Development of Learning Programs
My development of learning programs also involves critical reflection and I comprehend that I also use Brookfield’s model. Development of learning program is a collaborative effort hence the four lenses apply directly. It involves the development of content to meet the learning objective set in the design stage. According to Ross et al (2016) learning goals can be enhanced through the development of effective teaching methods which can be achieved through critical reflection. Firstly, I use the autobiographical lens to perform teacher learning audit; I compare my previous content and whether the learning outcomes were met. Furthermore, my students also help me in developing content as I go through their feedback forms to identify areas that they may need my input. Furthermore, I also develop my assignments around the learning objectives (Badia, 2017). In general, the development of my learning programs is highly influenced by autobiographical and student lenses.
At the same time, my peers also facilitate the process of development. For example, I give them my note to go through and give critical feedback. Additionally, we also have departmental discussions whereby we brainstorm ideas on how the content of our courses can be enhanced. Furthermore, through the literature lens I recommend course materials that my students can use to comprehend core concepts of the course better. When I read something new in my field, I ensure that I include it in content so that I can pass the same to my students. In essence, it is important to recognize the purpose of collaboration in the process of development so that one can develop an effective learning program.
The student lens involves the need to communicate as well as reflect upon how my students are experiencing the learning process with regard to what is supporting or hindering their learning. I may use student surveys to collect feedback from my student regarding a particular course. Results from the survey will enable me to improve my teaching methods as well as understand my students’ attitude. For instance my students may report that they feel secluded when they are not engaged in any activity. This will indicate that I should regulate the use of lecturing method and employ a student centred approach while delivering content. Additionally, while using a new method of teaching, I can request my students for feedback on the new approach used. The model questions may include; any responses regarding today’s happenings? How characteristic were today’s education activities paralleled with others? Were today’s activities beneficial?
Additionally, during implementation of learning programs, I can make use of my colleagues’ feedback. I will achieve this through inviting them to peer review my class notes as well as handouts that I use in delivering content. Notably, the colleagues are likely to offer constructive feedback as well as criticism of my teaching methods. Additionally, I can employ teaching observations which may help me reflect on my techniques. For instance through classroom observation of my colleague, I can improve my development through the ideas acquired from watching the colleague (Nash et al., 2014). Notably, a checklist rubric may be developed by the department as a tool for guiding evaluation of my performance.
The other way in which I use Brookfield’s theory is through assessment. Indeed, Badia (2017) recognizes the significant role that assessment plays in the overall teaching process. In assessments, I mostly apply the students’ lens. For example, in my online classes, I often look at how students respond to the questions I ask them. Through this, I can determine whether they applied the concepts that we learned in class. Moreover, I also give my students a one-minute paper at the end of some sessions. For example, I ask each student to share the top three things they learned during the session. This assessment enables me to understand whether the methods I am using are effective. Considering Grierson (2014) reflection, the solicitation of immediate responses from learners can ensure that they pay attention to classroom activities. In essence, my students’ are aware that assessment will occur during any class sessions. I also apply the student lens in giving out assignments; when grading, I consider aspects such as the students use of course concepts ad recommended readings. Additionally, I also use the peer review lens by giving out the same assessments as my colleagues so that we can assess the outcomes together.
Improvement on Professional Practice
The critical review I have undertaken has enabled me to identify my areas of weakness which I can improve for future practice. The first area that I need to improve for my future practice is classroom management. The critical reflection particularly the student lens has enabled me to understand that there exist power relations in the classroom environment. In future, I do realize that I will have to look at my students’ feedback more critically so that I can understand power relations. Indeed, I do realize that once I change this, my classroom management will improve. The other are that I need to improve for current and future practice is the documentation of my teaching experiences. According to Brookfield (2017) teachers can keep teaching journals which can help them greatly improve their pedagogy. In essence, I do realize that I will be keeping a diary on the notable teaching experience I have so that I can use the same in future practice when relevant.
At the same time, the reflection has enabled me to understand that I need to set personal goals. As a teacher, I do not want to be stuck in the same position for years; these goals will enable me move to the next step of my career and teach more advanced concepts. Additionally, I also need to enhance the way in which I administer academic discipline to my students. For example, in the past when I find a student cheating, I do not empathize with them. However, I will seek to constantly remind my students on the importance of academic integrity through the literature lens. For example, I will show them how to locate and acknowledge scholarly sources for the assignment I administer. Additionally, the reflection has also enabled me to understand that my peers can greatly foster the development of my skills. According to Liebel, Burden, and Heldal (2016) team teaching can be used to improve the learner experiences. In future, I will improve by collaborating with peers to teach the same course. I do realize that our different approaches to teaching will improve learning outcomes. In general, this will greatly improve my teaching and their learning experience.
Further, I will change my teaching approach and utilize more student centered approaches. The student centered approaches will ensure that I focus on learners as well as their learning. Additionally, I will ensure to act as a mentor to facilitate and support learners, thus encouraging the, to construct knowledge. Further, in developing learning outcomes as well as course objectives, I will include a value add component that will prepare the students to contribute to community, life as well as work.
Additionally, after engaging in critical reflection, I hope to continuously evaluate the syllabus, course guides as well as sample presentations sucha s power point slides and the recommended readings as well as handout. I will ensure that the course materials support the learning that takes place in my courses. I will ensure that the materials are relevant and updated and include several opportunities for active learning as well as collaboration.
Importance of Reflection on the Ongoing Development
I do realize that my reflective practices are significant in my own professional practice. According to Moon (2013) the significance of reflective is that they help in avoiding mistakes. One of the main reflective practices that I undertake is having profiles of role models in my field. The importance of this practice is that it enables me to learn what those who have succeeded in my field are doing. In terms of professional development, this will enable me to set goals with focus on how my role models have done. The other reflective practice that I undertake is peer review with my colleagues. Through this practice, I can learn on what my peers are doing to enhance their teaching. Moreover, this will also enable me to develop professionally by sharing and learning from my peers. Furthermore, I also undertake the reflective practice of attending seminars and workshops. This reflective practice will enable me to learn about the current teaching trends in my field and how I can incorporate them to enhance the overall learning experience for my students’.
Additionally, I also undertake the reflective practice of research. More often than not, I find myself reading scholarly literature in my field and this has enabled me to develop professionally. For example, I know the current teaching methods that work for students in a world that is changing each day. Furthermore, I also publish my research work as part of my reflective practices. According to Lumpe, Vaughn, Henrikson, and Bishop (2014) publishing enables one to share their knowledge with peers and students. Indeed, this reflective practice helps me in professional development as I improve on my research skills as well as those of my students. In general, I do realize that these practices will continue to play a critical role in my professional development.
Through critical reflection I will be able to evaluate the efficiency of my work while taking steps to improve it. Additionally, through trying to fathom the consequences of my actions as well as contemplating various approaches, I will expand my range of practice. Additionally, the relevance of my reflection will be guided by the belief that teaching, provided its complexity may never be perfect. That is no matter how ideal a lesson way, it can always be improved. Awareness of the engagement of students will help me determine the extent to which the utilized approach was appropriate or if the alternative approach would have been more efficient. Additionally, through reflecting on what my colleagues think of me, I will become more accurate, analytic as well as insightful about my own practice. Additionally, through critical reflection, I will be able to cite particular instances from a lesson to support my assessment of an event, whether it was successful or not. Additionally, critical reflection will help me determine specific remedies because of my experience and also predict the likely consequences on adopting them into my practice. Further, by reflecting on what went well and on what could have been reinforced, I will be able to improve my next experience with a particular topic.
Badia, G. (2017). Combining Critical Reflection and Action Research to Improve Pedagogy. portal: Libraries and the Academy, 17(4), 695-720.
Grierson, A. (2014). Assessing the enactment of my pedagogy of teacher education. Changing Practices for Changing Times: Past, Present and Future Possibilities for Self-Study Research, 106
Liebel, G., Burden, H., & Heldal, R. (2016). For free: continuity and change by team teaching. Teaching in Higher Education, 22(1), 62-77.
Lumpe, A., Vaughn, A., Henrikson, R., & Bishop, D. (2014). Teacher professional development and self-efficacy beliefs. In The Role of Science Teachers’ Beliefs in International Classrooms (pp. 49-63). SensePublishers.
Moon, J. A. (2013). Reflection in learning and professional development: Theory and practice. Routledge.
Nash, R. E., Barnard, A., Bolt, S., Shannon, S., McEvoy, K., Rochester, S., & Waters, C. (2014). Developing a culture of peer review of teaching through a distributive leadership approach.
Ross, B., Carbone, A., Lindsay, K., Drew, S., Phelan, L., Cottman, C., & Stoney, S. (2016). Developing educational goals: insights from a Peer Assisted Teaching Scheme. International Journal for Academic Development, 21(4), 350-363.
Brookfield, S. D. (2017). Becoming a critically reflective teacher. John Wiley & Sons.
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