Benefits of critical reflection
Research has shown how deliberate and critical reflection on teaching practices contributes to excellence in teaching, and improved educational outcomes for all children. Critically reflective teaching practices encourage teachers to: • • • • • regularly evaluate their approaches to teaching and learning understand more about the positive impacts of high-quality effective pedagogies on children’s learning become more aware of the importance of high-quality interactions, including strategic intervention and substantive conversations to maximise children’s learning use action research approaches — e.g. drawing on alternative teaching strategies to help children to learn when familiar methods fail co-construct learning with children and other partners so it is responsive to the child’s family and community.
What does critical reflection involve?
Preparatory year teachers recognise that their personal assumptions, values, beliefs and biases may affect decisions they make about curriculum (reflecting, planning, interacting, monitoring and assessing). Critical reflection involves analysing your own learning and teaching practices that may contribute to effective pedagogies within key components of an effective curriculum. These key components are: • • • • • understanding children building partnerships establishing flexible learning environments creating contexts for learning exploring what children learn.
Teachers in a preparatory year setting hold multiple roles and view children through various lenses, and recognise that their personal and professional identities are continually evolving. Often in collaboration with teacher aides and colleagues, teachers articulate, question, consider and debate their range of knowledges to make meaning of their theories and practices. (Refer to the Early Years Curriculum Guidelines for more information about teacher roles, lenses, and pedagogies within a framework for practice, and the list of questions to aid critical reflection at the end of each key component section.) The following table lists questions for teachers to reflect on from the perspectives of their principal role as educator, and related roles of: • • • • builder of relationships scaffolder of children’s learning planner for learning teacher as learner.
Reflecting on my teaching practices
These questions are starting points for reflecting on, monitoring and assessing the effectiveness of teaching and learning practices used in the preparatory year setting. This support material can be used for critiquing and mentoring amongst colleagues, supplemented with other strategies such as viewing, discussing and reflecting on videotape excerpts of your own or your colleagues’ teaching practice in a range of contexts and settings.
Reflecting on my teaching practices
Key components of an effective curriculum
Learning and teaching practices which contribute to effective pedagogies Intellectual quality • • • • • • high order thinking deep knowledge deep understanding substantive conversation problematic knowledge meta-language How do I: • provide a child-responsive Prep Year program that engages with children’s diverse interests, needs and capabilities? collaboratively plan aspects of the curriculum program with children? promote risk-taking, perseverance, sustained interest to aid task completion? motivate learning, extend learning in self-selected projects? How do I: • acknowledge, respect and value children’s diverse and complex identities? promote children’s ”voice” in the Prep Year program? acknowledge alternative ways in which children learn, e.g. culturallyresponsive learning styles, augmented communication strategies? How do I: • include children’s prior experiences in the Prep Year program? connect children’s prior learning with the ”new”? link children’s learning between settings of home, school and the community? Supportive...