Thursday, November 25, 2010

8.2 "Beyond the looking glass"

A student in my class posed quite a poignant question the other day when she asked, "How can I get to the other side of the looking glass?" I agree with a point in Heimbecker; we have to start with the basic premise of making the things we do visible and problematic. Therefore we need to look at our teaching and highlight the 'good, the bad and the ugly' of our own practices. Not an easy thing to do, and when/if done, not always easy to accept the results.
Thus, the need for reflection, in the sense of Brookfield's (1995) idea of 'critical reflection'. What assumptions are we making about what we are doing in our classes, and how is this affecting the way students are engaging (or not) in our lessons.
I was a little amazed at some of the assumptions stated, because it was like Brookfield was plucking them out of my head. "Making a circle, not having too much time devoted to lecture time, and students liking discussion to name a few."
All the common sense ideas that we have and hear from other teachers all seem to have a flipside...
I guess what the article was hinting at was that the critical reflection helps us to be better able to understand that we are making these assumptions, and it better equips us in dealing with them in order to make better learning environments for students.
I believe that I have been making a few too many Casual assumptions about the learning taking place in my classes. Imposing my own beliefs about how the classes are to be run...believing that I have ventured over onto the other side of the looking glass, yet not really. Possibly another form of transmission, not of knowledge but of how we conduct ourselves in class...dare I say, 'Manner' continuing to be teacher-centered rather than learner centered... ciao Steve

Brookefield, S. (1995). The getting of wisdom: What critically reflective teaching is and why it's important, San Francisco, Jossey-Bass

Heimbecker, B. (2009). Changing ourselves - A gaze in the mirror, Educating and inquiry - A teacher action research site, retrieved November 23, at

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