Reflective Practice in the context of teaching ESOL
Reflective practice engages practitioners in a continuous cycle of self-observation and self-evaluation in order to understand their own actions and the reactions they prompt in themselves and in learners (Brookfield, 1995; Thiel, 1999). Reflective practice is considered as an evolving concept which views learning as “an active process of reviewing an experience of practice in order to describe, analyse, evaluate and so inform learning about practice.” (Reid, B 1993 cited in Garfat, T. 2005).
In my opinion, implementing reflective practice approach to professional development in order to expand our knowledge is a challenge. This challenge involves teacher’s ability to “reflect on his or her practice” in order to “bring about change and improvement”, especially in the ESOL context that is represented by variety of learner groups, curricula, available resources, and amount and type of teacher preparation (Schellekens, 2007, p.199). To me, nowadays, teaching students to meet their requirements does not only involve the effective and professional use of methodology, training and concept alone. I think that it is all about the ability of integrating both theory and practice with highly exploratory process of reflective practice. I consider reflective practice as a reflective professional development tool, which I treat merely as a personal low-tech way of incorporating reflective practice in day-to-day classroom teaching in order to make my class more effective. Developing own reflective or critical thinking skills should engage various aspects of teaching, such as preparation process, receiving feedback form the learners, self-evaluation process, feedback or criticism from the colleagues, statistical data, teacher’s diary, training/development and own teaching experience. According to The Institute for Learning’s policy statement on professional formation, reflective practice is a professional requirement to show reflection on the impact of professional development (Lifelong Learning UK, 2007). The Institute’s online personalised learning space, REfLECT, requires teachers to submit variety of individual reflective practice evidence that includes: * self evaluation – an individual analysis of the applicant’s learning needs and goals for the next 12 months, * professional development planning – an individualised learning plan detailing the actions the applicant will take to address the needs and goals identified through self assessment, * reflective practice – reflection on the impact of professional development on the applicant’s teaching practice, the benefit to learners and wider communities of practice: could include, or be a mix of, a personal reflection on the impact of CPD, peer review, learner observations, observation of teaching and learning, collaborative working, etc. (IfL, 2008)
The models of reflection, which I have chosen to mention in this paper, promote looking at what has been learned and planning how those lessons can be applied if similar experiences re-occur. The two models of reflective practice in the context of teaching are: Brokfield’s model of four reflective “lenses” and The Reflective Cycle by Gibbs (1988).
1. Brookfield’s model of four critically reflective lenses In his “model of four critically reflective lenses”, Brookfield (1995) suggests that we should make use of the four “critical lenses” through which to view and reflect upon our teaching practice, and he suggests the following: 1. our own view (which he refers to as autobiography);
2. that of our students;
3. that of our fellow professionals;
4. and the various theoretical perspectives propounded in educational literature.
Brookfield treats teacher’s personal experience as the most important insight into teaching to which teachers have access, and this personal experience should combine both: considerations of classroom and lesson...
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