Reflection that acknowledges mistakes, miscommunication, disconnects, and even doubt and uncertainty can take teachers very far, very fast.
Teachers need to see models of reflection that acknowledges all the messiness of teaching and the type of reflection in and on action that promotes change (see Schon, 1983; 1987).
A second practical step would be to model the ease and effectiveness of reflection by starting faculty meetings, professional learning teams, or even all-district meetings with just five minutes of focused reflection on a common prompt.
Just as we know modeling must be in place for students, so modeling reflective practice—and re-iterating the short, consistent bursts of it as the only requirement—is an effective way to encourage reflection after the school day. Of course, talking about reflection and modeling it in our daily communication will go a long way toward making reflective practice part of your district’s culture.
According to Dewey (1910), teachers who reflect start with a problem, and the “demand for a solution is the steadying and guiding factor . With the legitimacy of narrative inquiry into teaching practice has also come the legitimacy of teaching communities as sights for professional learning teams (see Danielewicz, 2001; Rogers & Babinski, 2002).
Craig and Olson (2002) describe the resultant communities of teachers, communities informed by these theories, as “knowledge communities" where “educators narrate the rawness of their experiences, negotiate meaning, and authorize their own and others’ interpretations of situations. La Boskey (Eds.), Narrative inquiry in practice: Advancing the knowledge of teaching (pp.
This voicing is a first step to coming to know in any realm, and teaching is no different. A Connection through Community Some in education view reflection as yet another activity that teachers perform in isolation.
In this voicing, effective reflection also rejects the certainty and pinning down of “truth” that an education ruled by reason has for so long tried to instill. Those committed to the origins of reflection and to its transformative potential, however, see it differently: “since people cannot be islands unto themselves, any psychological reflection that does not lead us outward, into the world, and that does not help us connect ‘inner’ states with ‘outer’ realities, is at best partial, at worst narcissistic” (Beyer, 1991, p. The explanation to others, then, even in a profession characterized by isolation is essential (see Grumet, 1988; Rogers and Babinski, 2002).
If teachers were told that even five minutes of written reflection each day was encouraged and even validated on professional evaluations, I believe many teachers would start the practice tomorrow and see small but significant gains within weeks.
In a real sense, time spent in reflecting and building community through reflection does indeed give it value. Tabachnick (Eds.), Issues and practices in inquiry-oriented teacher education (pp.
Nevertheless, as a new superintendent you have an incredible opportunity to weave reflective practice into the culture and codes of your district by valuing written reflection as part of a teacher’s professional development. Teacher education, reflective inquiry and moral action.
By “voicing,” we mean essentially an articulation, whether in speech or in writing, of teachers’ ideas, experiences, or emotions on the topic or event under consideration.
This voicing reminds us of Belenkey et al (1986), whose work in Women’s Ways of Knowing highlights a reclamation of authoritative voice—or constructed knowledge from internal sources rather than external. It converts action that is merely appetitive, blind, and impulsive into intelligent action” (Dewey, 1910, p. Such a capacity for intelligent action is acquired only through the cyclical, earnest process of action-revision-action.
As a new superintendent, knowing the basics of teacher reflection is vital; the problem with knowing the basics, ironically, has been framing those basics and then recognizing how we can encourage reflection of the caliber to transform practice.