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.. Critical reflection…. goes beyond accepted ways of thinking and behaving.. invites alternative ways of understanding (Scott p126 2000) considers.

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Presentation on theme: ".. Critical reflection…. goes beyond accepted ways of thinking and behaving.. invites alternative ways of understanding (Scott p126 2000) considers."— Presentation transcript:






6 .. Critical reflection…. goes beyond accepted ways of thinking and behaving.. invites alternative ways of understanding (Scott p126 2000) considers personal experiences within wider socio-historical and politico-cultural contexts (Hatton & Smith p35 1995)

7 Critical reflection at M level is long & wide: §goes beyond self §draws on others, academic literature, research §sees the wider context §links theory & practice §is long-term §might be transformational (Barnett 1997 p7)..being critical to critical being §acknowledges that teaching is fundamentally value laden

8 Wider perspectives than own classroom §Some of the wider issues considered through tutor group discussions and readings take you beyond our classroom, your subject specialism, your age phase. §Beyond an instrumental way of teaching to understanding underlying values - which means:

9 Wider perspectives: from the literature Scott 2000 p4 §Teacher as technician …. whose primary function is to develop the skills to put into practice a set of behaviours determined by policy-makers……………or………. §Educationally literate teacher ….who understands that policy documents, press & research reports as constructed and ideologically embedded artifacts









18 . Liz Wright Reading into writing

19 Mueller (2006): reading students assignments can help us to understand more about their experiences of learning to teach - they provide a rich understanding. §Often I did not leave my classroom except to go to the toilet or to go to the staffroom. I had my lunch there. I did my work there and occasionally I would cry there. It was a refuge from prying eyes but also it was my ball and chain…my weaknesses were played on and my strength of character was really tested. HN, student teacher 2009 §What kind of writing is this? §What does it tell us about the student? §Does writing like this belong on a PGCE course?

20 Learner stance §I think doubt is hugely important both morally and intellectually – it is important to know that one doesnt know it all. HC student teacher, 2009 H came onto the course valuing an intellectual approach to teaching. She became frustrated by the lack of freedom to take control over [her] learning. The PGCE course felt intellectually unsatisfying. §I want to develop a robust professional narrative and define my own developing professional philosophy. RA, student teacher, 2009 Rs theme in her portfolio was learning to learn again. She had withdrawn from the PGCE course and then reapplied the following year.

21 Learner stance: Between a rock and a hard place §I find myself caught between the desire to question what I am learning and the necessity to just learn what I am told in order to pass. §Trainees are forced to try and bleed their creativity into increasingly small gaps. SD, student teacher, 2009 Ss stance as a learner was a place of contradictions. S felt demoralised by school experience where he felt a hindrance - during planning meetings his suggestions were met with dismissive gestures.

22 Learning journey: questions satisfied with answers… §Before starting the course, I had always considered myself as a plumber might before taking his apprenticeship. I was waiting to be tooled out in everything I would need to enter my first classroom… I imagined seminars where teachers would play the part of unruly children and we would be given a series of routine techniques for dealing with them; in short my questions satisfied with answers... I had envisaged encountering a library full of books, but expecting them to be teaching aids, learning materials, childrens books and subject knowledge development tomes… §Initial memories of my first week at the institute are of the size of the section of the library dedicated to reflections on teaching. I had never before considered that teaching would be such an introspective past-time, with so many questions that people would need to address. RO, student teacher, 2009

23 To…an acceptance that answers will come §The reality is that we have been asked to zoom out from what we know about education and view the entire landscape of teaching and learning from a much more academic standpoint… §I begin to realise that I am constructing a personal philosophy; just as questions in the classroom can help children to develop their meta- cognitive abilities and therefore learn new skills… not just knowledge. Questions can lead me to a reflective attitude… §This doesnt mean that I now have the answers. But it does mean that I shouldnt be worried about not having them, and that the answers will come as my personal (and therefore individual) philosophy as a teacher develops. RO, student teacher, 2009

24 Learning to be a learner §A big barrier to my learning is my confidence and fear of failing… when I relax about my learning it becomes easier for me I am learning to be a learner without fear of failure. I am finding the PLP module a source of strength and validity – it is giving me confidence to be a learner and the confidence to value my own views. My personal thoughts are being validated by academic writings. I think that PLP will be the making of me and of my future pupils….. True learning takes the external on board but is rooted within the personal…. RA, student teacher, 2009

25 Pedagogical framing ( Siraj-Blatchford and Sylva, 2004) Texts position us as particular kinds of readers and sometimes the texts that are given to student teachers are written solely for an academic audience positioning student teachers as outsiders. Burke (2008) has written about the ways in which particular authorial voices in higher education are privileged. LW, 2009

26 Pedagogical framing ( Siraj-Blatchford and Sylva, 2004) §Texts resonate with student experiences §Writerly texts that invite discussion §Texts that invite meta-cognition §Texts that problematise teacher education §A concern with authorship §A choice of texts §Make selection of course articles a more transparent process - whose texts are not made available?

27 Articles as pedagogic framing §Alexander (2004) Critical questioning would not have occurred to me if I hadnt read this article. SD, student teacher, 2009 §Attard and Armour (2005) I would have been feeling just as lost as Attard if I hadnt had a writing community to support me. MG, student teacher, 2009 §Calderhead (1987) This article on reflection was easy to understand because Calderhead presents examples which illustrate his points. TE. student teacher, 2009 §Maynard (2001) This article highlights the critical relationships and the fact that ones social context is important as a student teacher. I gained comfort from reading Maynards article which confronts my fears of teaching being a lonely profession. HN, student teacher, 2009 §Pearce (2004) I feel the article speaks to the profession in a way that many academic articles do not. JW, student teacher, 2008

28 Alexander: wider cultural contexts §The article highlighted for me the danger of reading any policy document in isolation and without setting it within a an overall political and social context… The article also provided me with a better understanding of the pressure on teachers to comply with government policies and initiatives in the current climate of testing, targets and performance tables, and it helped me to appreciate some of the factors contributing to the apparent gap between the pedagogical theory promoted at university and what I have observed on school experience…

29 Cont. §His article has supported me in realising the importance of analysing policy and adopting an enquiring stance about why it has arisen and what the underpinning arguments and evidence are. It has made me realise that I need to take responsibility for my own professional learning and for developing my professional knowledge if I want to respond in an intellectual way to policies. This will enable me to take a wider perspective within teaching, to move from being a technicist to a professional who recognises the social and political issues that surround teaching and which affect children in school… NB, student teacher, 2009

30 Attard and Armour: reflection §Attard (2005) is on a mission here to get his readers to see that this type of writing is a way to achieve professional development… I believe that writing is a beneficial and effective way of developing personally and professionally… I commend Attard for his bravery in expressing his emotions in such a public manner… The article presents reflection as a possible solution to reducing the theory-to-practice dilemma, to better understand oneself and gradually develop professionally…

31 cont. §Throughout the year I have written about my personal experiences in the teaching environment, shared them with colleagues both in and out of class and received their feedback, from which I am able to draw and elaborate on ideas beyond my own… I know I would be feeling just as lost and frustrated as Attard feels had I not had the opportunity of being in a community where writing, sharing and hearing othersexperiences is accepted and encouraged. MG, student teacher, 2009

32 Critical reflection…educationally literate teacher §Daly et al. argue that currently reflection is all too often…self- referential and devoid of conceptual and theoretical frameworks (Daly et al. 2004:101). This is a trap which is very easy to fall into, as demonstrated by Attards use of autoethnography (Attard and Armour, 2005: 195)… Attards ego- centric approach to reflection undermines the validity of his argument that reflection is essential to teacher learning (Attard and Armour, 2005: 197, 205). Despite the theoretical engagement of the article, Attards personal diary extracts do not contain any discussion or application of theory; instead he is reflecting on his emotional journey… RA,student teacher, 2009

33 Mok: dangerous discourse §I would argue that articles such as Moks should form part of the curriculum for the whole course… so that all students are aware of the research surrounding their activities. [They would then] be aware of the choices that are open to them about what direction their teaching might take and more aware that they are a valuable resource. This would offset the negative impression given before first school experience where of necessity the student teachers are given strict instructions not to be a nuisance…

34 Cont. §In my opinion current political thinking seems to have come to the conclusion that it is too difficult to train teachers to be expert teachers (Mok, 2005) because they are then equipped with enquiring and critical minds but it is preferable to have a group of compliant production staff who can fulfill targets. HG - student teacher, 2009

35 Dangerous discourse within critical pedagogy requires courage: moving from rhetoric to action §Without a critical perspective, reality frequently is presented to students as a given, and underlying conflicts and problems are barely mentioned (Nieto, 1999) §Teacher educators, too, will require courage if they are to be activists in supporting the work of teachers… to work together with teachers in more powerful alliances (Day, 2004) §One of the successes of the PLP module has been to encourage primary student teachers to ask deep and at times challenging questions. Teacher education has to equip our students with the courage to think deeply and ask challenging questions; that must be part of professional learning. The university should be a good place to do this (Wright, 2009)

36 Pedagogical choice §Pedagogical choice enables the students to construct their own learning journey within the context of a range of articles. §Pedagogical choice recognises students as learners each with their own different starting point. §Pedagogical choice respects students as learners. §But… students educational journeys in the 21st century have been journeys of compliance - at first students do not want choice - they want answers.

37 UCET Annual Report 2006- debate not answers §One of the disappointing features of some recent consultation papers is that they call for specific responses to narrowly drawn questions rather than seek to generate debate about a set of proposals. Too often those sponsoring the consultation exercise are concerned to test the extent to which there is support for a policy line already adopted rather than to elicit views on a complex issue. § UCET's practice is to respond discursively to consultation papers and is unwilling to have its responses constrained and reduced to the ticking of boxes. In that way UCET remains true to its mission of contributing an authentic commentary on policy developments. §Gordon Kirk, Academic Secretary to UCET.

38 References §Alexander, R. (2004) Still no pedagogy? Principle, pragmatism and compliance in primary education. Cambridge Journal of Education 34 (1) 7 - 33 §Attard, K. and Armour, K.M. (2005) Learning to become a learning professional: reflections on one year of teaching European Journal of Teacher Education 28 (2) §Burke, J. (2008) Writing, Power and Voice: Access to and Participation in Higher Education. Changing English, 15 (2) §Calderhead, J. (1987) The Quality of Reflection in Student Teachers Professional Learning. Journal of Teacher Education 10 (3) 269 - 278 §Daly, C., Pachler, N. and Lambert, D. (2004) Teacher learning: towards a professional academy. Teaching in Higher Education 9(1) 99-111 §Day, C. (2004) Change Agendas: The roles of teacher educators Teaching Education 15(2)

39 References §Maynard, T. (2001) The student teacher and the school community of practice: a consideration of learning as participation Cambridge Journal of Education 31(1) 39 - 52 §Mok, Y.F. (2005) A Philosophy of Teaching Practicum: construction of a personal theory of teaching and learning Teacher Development 9(1) §Mueller, A. (2006) A Teacher Educators Fate: Seeking contexts to engage student teachers in thinking about learning to teach. Studying Teacher Education 2 (2) §Nieto, S. (1999) The Light in Their Eyes: Creating Multicultural Learning Communities Columbia University: Teachers College Press §Pearce, S. (2004) The Development of One Teachers Understanding of Practitioner Research in a Multi-ethnic Primary School. Educational Action Research, 12 (1) §Siraj-Blatchford, I. and Sylva, K. (2004) Researching pedagogy in English pre-schools British Educational Research Journal, 30 (5)

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