Sunday, January 8, 2012

Reflecting on Reflecting

Deborah Meier, author of The Power of Their Ideas and many other wonderful educational writings, believes that teaching must be an intellectual process if teachers are to be truly effective in what they do. I have always believed this too.

The act of teaching requires the processing of a vast number of different things often simultaneously and often without a lot of time to think too much. On the other hand there are times when there is time to think; time to process the what we have learned from experience, what we are  learning about the students we are currently working with, as well as information from the currency of the ever changing world in which we live. In teacher education we call this reflective thinking; the ability to process all kinds of information so that our practices are improved through the disposition of  lifelong learning.

My student teachers started their Spring student teaching experience this past week and one of the most critical things they need to do is to think reflectively. They need to be able to use all the knowledge and understandings they have gained from their coursework and synergystically combine this with the new knowedge they are gaining of the students and classrooms in which they find themselves. The act of thinking reflectively helps them develop the teaching strategies, classroom management styles and a "teacher voice" that will form the basis for what type of teacher they will become. Throughout the semester I will read their weekly journals through which they will share their challenges and successes in the form of reflective thinking. It's one of the most exciting and rewarding parts of my job.     

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