Shaping the Way We Teach English: Module 14, Reflective Teaching

Shaping the Way We Teach English: Module 14, Reflective Teaching

December 3, 2019 0 By Stanley Isaacs


GOOD TEACHERS
ARE ALWAYS LEARNING, LEARNING FROM STUDENTS, LEARNING FROM
THEIR OWN TRIAL AND ERROR, LEARNING FROM PEERS
AND COLLEAGUES, LEARNING FROM MENTORS
AND SUPERVISORS, AND LEARNING FROM ACADEMIC
INFORMATION IN THEIR FIELD. GOOD TEACHERS CONTINUE TO LEARN
THROUGHOUT THEIR CAREERS. THIS IS CALLED
LIFELONG LEARNING OR ONGOING
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT. ONE TOOL THAT CAN HELP TEACHERS
DEVELOP PROFESSIONALLY IS KNOWN AS
REFLECTIVE TEACHING PRACTICE. REFLECTIVE TEACHING
IS THE FOCUS OF THIS FINAL MODULE. REFLECTIVE TEACHING MEANS THINKING ABOUT WHAT HAPPENS
IN THE CLASSROOM, BOTH IN TERMS
OF THE TEACHING ITSELF AND IN TERMS
OF THE LEARNER RESPONSE AND THEN
TRYING TO IMPROVE IT. WE CAN ASK OURSELVES: WERE THE GOALS
OF THE SESSION MET? WHY OR WHY NOT? WHAT WORKED WELL? WHAT DIDN’T? DID LEARNERS ACT
AS EXPECTED? WHY OR WHY NOT? HOW CAN CLASS SESSIONS
BE IMPROVED TO PROVIDE OPPORTUNITIES
FOR BETTER LEARNING? VIDEO SEGMENT NUMBER ONE. LOOK IN THE MANUAL FOR THE REFLECTIVE TEACHING
PRACTICE OBSERVATION GUIDE. THINK OF A CLASS
YOU HAVE RECENTLY TAUGHT. USE PART “A” OF THE GUIDE TO DOCUMENT
YOUR PERSONAL REFLECTION. THEN LISTEN TO WHAT THE
FOLLOWING TEACHERS HAVE TO SAY AS THEY REFLECT ON THEIR
CURRENT TEACHING PRACTICES. LOOK FOR ANSWERS
TO THE QUESTIONS: WHAT BELIEFS AND PRACTICES
DO THEY SEEM TO HAVE IN COMMON? WHAT DIFFERENCES? USE PART “B” OF THE GUIDE
TO DOCUMENT AND ANALYZE THE OTHER TEACHERS’
REFLECTIONS. SO I GOT MANY,
MANY IDEAS, AND I TRY TO IMPROVE
MY…TEACHING BY ADDING
JUST A LITTLE BIT MORE BECAUSE THEY CANNOT — THEY CANNOT —
HOW CAN I SAY? THEY CANNOT BE FAMILIAR
WITH THE NEW STYLE. THEY HAVE — THEY JUST WANT
TO SIT STILL AND DO NOTHING, JUST LISTEN AND WRITE
EVERYTHING DOWN ON THE NOTEBOOK. SO I SAID “CLOSE YOUR NOTEBOOK.
CLOSE YOUR NOTEBOOK. LISTEN. REPEAT.” IT’S VERY HARD
BECAUSE BEFORE THAT, I — I USED TO TEACH… AND TRANSLATE IT
INTO THAI, AND THEN LET THEM DO
THE EXERCISE. EVEN —
EVEN FOR THE REPETITION, I USED NEW TECHNIQUES. SO I CREATE A MAGNET BOARD. SO I GOT THE IDEA. SO I DO IT BY MY OWN —
MY OWN METHOD. BECAUSE I WANT THEM TO —
TO RELAX AND ENJOY THE LESSON INSTEAD OF FOCUSING
ON THE CONTENT THAT I GOING TO TEACH THEM. SO WHEN THEY FEEL RELAXED
AND THEY HAVE MOVEMENT, THEY HAVE LESS SERIOUS. BECAUSE TO MAKE
THE LESSON EASY, TO MAKE THE LESSON FUN
AND MEANINGFUL — WHEN THEY FEEL ENJOYABLE AND WHEN THEY THINK
THEY CAN DO IT — SO THEY LOVE TO LEARN MORE. AND THEN AFTER THE…
I ADD MORE, SOME CONTENT
THAT I NEED THEM TO LEARN. THIS IS THE WAY —
SO UNEXPECTEDLY. SO THEY CANNOT EXPECT ALL — THEY CANNOT GUESS WHAT I —
WHAT I GOING TO DO WITH THEM. WELL, I’M REALLY TRYING
TO INCORPORATE A LOT OF
THE GLAD STRATEGIES, AND THIS FIRST YEAR
I’VE BEEN ABLE TO DO THAT, WHICH IS WHERE THIS, THE SENTENCE-PATTERNING CHART
HAS COME FROM. A LOT OF THE GLAD STRATEGIES ARE VERY INTERACTIVE
FOR THE KIDS, AND IT’S THE ONLY WAY I CAN GET
MY LOWER-ENGLISH — MY LOWER-ORAL-ENGLISH STUDENTS
TO SPEAK BECAUSE THEY HAVE
LANGUAGE MODELS, AND THERE’S LOTS OF VISUAL
FOR THEM TO REALLY CONNECT WITH, AND THEY HAVE IT REPETITIVE,
OVER AND OVER AGAIN. AND THE OTHER THING
I’M TRYING TO DO IS LOTS OF SONGS BECAUSE
FROM EVERYTHING I’VE READ — THAT SONGS AND CHANTS ARE REALLY
WHAT ENGAGES STUDENTS, AND THEY REALLY RETAIN IT,
AMAZINGLY SO, THAT IF I ACCIDENTALLY
START A SENTENCE WITH THE FIRST THREE WORDS OF
A SONG THAT THEY’VE LEARNED — I’M TALKING ABOUT
SOMETHING TOTALLY DIFFERENT — THEY WILL BREAK OUT
IN THE SONG. IT’S ABSOLUTELY FASCINATING
BECAUSE THEY DO REMEMBER IT, AND THEN THEY CAN ACTUALLY
TELL ME THE CONTENT VOCABULARY. IT’S NOT JUST THEY’RE SINGING
SOME RANDOM SONG. THEY’RE REALLY GETTING IT.
SO I’M TRYING TO DO THAT. MY STRESS, OBVIOUSLY,
WITH THAT IS I’M NOT A SINGER, AND SO
IT’S VERY NERVE-RACKING FOR ME, BUT — BUT THEY’RE
VERY ACCEPTING, SO… I DON’T BELIEVE
THAT THE TEACHER IS THE ONLY PERSON
THEY CAN LEARN FROM. NO, IF THEY’RE KEPT
ACTIVELY INVOLVED, WORKING TOGETHER,
THEY CAN LEARN FROM EACH OTHER. IT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME. SO…I LIKE DOING
GROUP WORK. THEY ENJOY DOING GROUP WORK. SOMETIMES IF I DON’T DO IT
IN ONE CLASS, THEY ASK FOR IT. “MISS,
LET’S WORK IN GROUPS.” NOW, IT BECOMES A PROBLEM
IF I’M DOING A TEST AND I REALLY WANT TO KIND OF,
YOU KNOW, LOOK AT INDIVIDUAL
PERFORMANCE. THEN IT BECOMES A PROBLEM,
AND THEY SAY, “WHY DON’T WE DO IT
IN GROUPS?” BELIEVE ME, SOMETIMES, I DECIDE THAT IF THEY ARE
GOING TO LEARN FROM EACH OTHER, OKAY, AND I SWITCH, AND I SAY,
“FINE, THEN DO IT IN GROUPS.” SOMETIMES I DO THAT,
YOU KNOW, ON THE SPOT. I MAKE THE DECISION,
“GO AHEAD AND DO IT IN GROUPS,” BECAUSE I FEEL
THEY WILL LEARN FROM EACH OTHER. NOW COMPARE
PARTS “A” AND “B.” HOW DO
THESE TEACHERS’ REFLECTIONS COMPARE TO YOUR OWN? VIDEO SEGMENT NUMBER TWO. LOOK IN THE MANUAL FOR THE REFLECTIVE TEACHING
PRACTICE OBSERVATION GUIDE. THINK OF A CLASS
YOU HAVE RECENTLY TAUGHT. IT CAN BE THE SAME CLASS
OR A DIFFERENT CLASS. USE PART “C” OF THE GUIDE TO DOCUMENT
YOUR PERSONAL REFLECTION. THEN, LISTEN TO WHAT
THE FOLLOWING TEACHERS HAVE TO SAY AS THEY REFLECT ON WHAT THEY WOULD LIKE TO BE
ABLE TO DO IN THE FUTURE AND SOME OF THEIR PLANS FOR HELPING MAKE
THOSE IDEAS A REALITY. LOOK FOR ANSWERS
TO THE QUESTIONS: WHAT HOPES, DREAMS, AND PLANS
DO THEY SEEM TO HAVE IN COMMON? WHAT DIFFERENCES? USE PART “D” OF THE GUIDE
TO DOCUMENT AND ANALYZE THE OTHER TEACHERS’
REFLECTIONS. REFLECTING
IS ALWAYS A GOOD THING. LET’S SEE. I…I’M NOT REALLY SURE. I THINK THAT THE KIDS PRETTY MUCH RESPONDED WELL
TO EVERYTHING. UM… YOU KNOW,
THE ONLY THING THAT I CAN SAY THAT WOULD BE BETTER
THAN ANYTHING ELSE IS TAKING THEM
OUTSIDE OF THE CLASSROOM AND ACTUALLY EXPOSING THEM
TO OUR WORLD. LIKE, WE DID THIS
A COUPLE OF DAYS AGO WHEN WE WERE LEARNING
ABOUT ROOTS. I JUST TOOK THEM OUTSIDE
AND HAD THEM FIND SOME ROOTS SO IN LEARNING
ABOUT PLANTS TODAY, MAYBE WE COULD HAVE GONE OUT
AND FOUND A FLOWER AND TALKED ABOUT
ALL THE DIFFERENT PARTS: ROOTS, STEM, LEAF,
AND FLOWER. SO ALWAYS JUST TAKING THEM OUT
AND LEARNING ABOUT IT FIRSTHAND IS PROBABLY
THE BEST WAY TO DO IT. THIS YEAR, I’M GOING TO… I’M GOING TO TRY TO… TO HAVE MORE CONVERSATIONS, TO GIVE THE MORE EMPHASIS
IN COMMUNICATIONS BECAUSE IT’S
VERY DIFFICULT SOMETIMES, AND — BUT THEY —
I DON’T KNOW WHY. BECAUSE ARE SOMETIMES — ARE AFRAID
OF SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE. OH, I WOULD LIKE TO HAVE
MY OWN CLASSROOM, BUT IT’S VERY DIFFICULT
BECAUSE — BECAUSE, SEE,
IF I HAD MY CLASSROOM, I CAN HAVE
A LOT OF MESSAGES ALL OVER THE — THE PLACE
IN ENGLISH TO — IN ORDER THEY HAVE FEEDBACK
ALL THE TIME, BUT — SO WE HAD TO WITH —
WITH — UM… THE MATERIAL WE HAVE, AND I THINK THAT THE MAIN ASPECT
IS THAT WE — IN MY CASE — THE KEY POINT IS HOW MUCH
I LOVE MY WORK, MY JOB, MY CHILDREN, AND THAT’S
THE MOST IMPORTANT. AND THEY ARE VERY CONSCIOUS
THAT THEY NEED TO LEARN, ESPECIALLY ENGLISH, BECAUSE ENGLISH IS BECOMING
LIKE ESPERANTO OF THE WORLD, AND IN COSTA RICA,
THIS IS A COUNTRY THAT WE — AND ALSO THE — THE — THIS IS A COUNTRY
THAT’S DEVELOPING, AND IT’S OPEN TO TRADING
WITH OTHER COUNTRIES, AND WE ARE IN THIS PROCESS,
AND ALSO HERE, THERE IS
A TOURISTIC DESTINATION, AND PEOPLE COME HERE, AND IF THEY WANT TO HAVE
A GOOD JOB, THEY ARE VERY CONSCIOUS OF THIS
IF THEY WANT TO HAVE A GOOD JOB. ALSO, WE PREPARE AN ACTIVITY
TO MOTIVATE AND TO LEARN. WE — WE TOOK SOME CUTOUTS
FROM THE NEWSPAPER, PEOPLE THAT SPEAK ENGLISH
FOR DIFFERENT JOBS. AND WE — WITH OTHER GROUP.
NOT WITH THIS GROUP. WE’RE GOING TO WORK
WITH THIS NEXT TIME — THIS GROUP NEXT TIME
WITH THAT. WE HEARD — WE WORK —
THEY WORK IN GROUPS, AND THEY READ
THE NEWSPAPER ADS, AND THEY STARTED GIVING
THEIR IDEAS AND THEIR — THEIR OPINIONS ABOUT THIS. BUT THEY ARE VERY CONSCIOUS
THAT THEY NEED ENGLISH IF THEY WANT TO HAVE A VERY GOOD
JOB IN THE FUTURE — JOB OPPORTUNITIES
IN THE FUTURE. MY FUTURE —
[ laughs ] OH, OKAY. I WOULD LIKE TO WORK IN —
HE’S GOING TO KILL ME — IN THE MINISTER
OF EDUCATION. I WOULD LIKE TO WORK THERE,
BUT I LIKE TO TEACH, TOO. WHEN I WAS AT UNIVERSITY,
I SAID, “I DON’T WANT TO BECOME
A TEACHER.” BUT I’M HERE.
I’M A TEACHER. AND I LIKE — I LIKE —
I LIKE TO — I WOULD LIKE TO —
I THINK WITH — SOME YEARS AGO, WE USED TO TAKE STUDENTS
TO EXCHANGES WITH OTHER SCHOOLS, HIGH SCHOOLS
IN THE UNITED STATES, MIDDLE SCHOOLS. I WOULD LIKE TO CONTINUE
WITH THAT. THAT’S A PROJECT — WE AS A DEPARTMENT WOULD LIKE
TO CONTINUE WITH THAT. THE THINGS
THAT WE ARE TRYING TO — SOME CONTACTS
WITH PEOPLE THERE. I WOULD LIKE TO DO
THINGS LIKE THAT, BUT ALSO,
I WOULD LIKE TO — TO WORK IN, I THINK,
A HIGHER LEVEL, BUT I’M GETTING PREPARED
FOR THAT. I WISH THEY — THEY CAN ASK
FOR THE NEW KNOWLEDGE. THEY ARE BRAVE ENOUGH
TO LEARN NEW THING AND TO GET MORE KNOWLEDGE, AND THEN WHEN THEY —
WHEN THEY HAVE SOME PROBLEM, THEY ARE BRAVE ENOUGH
TO ASK FOR HELP. YES. THAT’S THE MORPHOLOGY
I TRY TO TEACH THEM. MM-HMM. NOW COMPARE PARTS
“C” AND “D.” HOW DO
THESE TEACHERS’ REFLECTIONS COMPARE TO YOUR OWN? THE FOCUS IN MODULE 14 HAS BEEN
ON REFLECTIVE TEACHING. TEACHERS SHARED
THEIR REFLECTIONS WITH US, AND THEY MODELED FOR US
MANY OF THE CHARACTERISTICS OF GOOD
REFLECTIVE PRACTICES: THEY SHOWED US
THAT THEY ARE CARING. THEY CARE ABOUT STUDENTS
AS INDIVIDUAL PERSONS, ABOUT THEIR NEEDS,
AND ABOUT THEIR LEARNING. THEY RECOGNIZE
BOTH THE SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES
OF THEIR STUDENTS. THEY ARE ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT HELPING STUDENTS
TO LEARN BETTER. THEY ARE CURIOUS
AND INTERESTED IN IDEAS THAT MAY IMPROVE
CLASSROOM LEARNING. THEY FEEL COMFORTABLE
DOING SELF-ANALYSIS, AND THEY ARE WILLING TO PUT IN
THE EFFORT TO DO IT WELL. THEY TAKE RESPONSIBILITY BOTH FOR SOLVING THE PROBLEMS
OF THEIR OWN CLASSROOMS AND FOR THEIR OWN PROFESSIONAL
AND SKILLS DEVELOPMENT. THEY ARE OPEN-MINDED. THEY ARE OPEN TO
AND NOT THREATENED BY IDEAS THAT MAY CONFLICT
WITH PERSONAL BELIEFS ABOUT THE DIFFERENT ASPECTS
OF THEIR TEACHING SITUATION. THEY HAVE THE ENERGY
TO IMPLEMENT CHANGES INDICATED
BY THE REFLECTION PROCESS. THEY ENJOY WORKING
WITH COLLEAGUES ON PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT AND PROFESSIONAL
DEVELOPMENT GOALS. WHEN YOU LOOK
IN THE MIRROR, HOW MANY
OF THESE CHARACTERISTICS DO YOU SEE IN YOURSELF? WITH PRACTICE OVER TIME, NO DOUBT YOU WILL SEE
EVEN MORE POSITIVE CHANGES REFLECTED BACK AT YOU. YEAH, THEY ARE REALLY
GOOD STUDENTS. I LIKE THEM,
AND I ENJOY TEACHING. THAT’S WHY
I KEEP TEACHING AND — BESIDES SUPERVISING. SEE THE MANUAL FOR READINGS
AND MORE INFORMATION ON THIS AND OTHER TOPICS
RELATED TO REFLECTIVE TEACHING.