Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Reflective Teacher

If you are a teacher then you are acutely aware that the level of effectiveness of ones teaching can vary from day-to-day and class-to-class. In fact, some days the effectiveness level is high while other days you are not so effective. Personally, I’ve often walked out of the classroom feeling that a particular class went horribly. So what do you do in situations like this? Well, you start by thinking about it… by reflecting. Many people have written about the reflective practitioner or the reflective teacher. In fact, many educators use the process of self-reflection with their students when developing skills in the classroom. Journaling is the classic example of this. Documenting the process of reflection can help the progression to solution finding. In the 21st century, blogs have facilitated the sharing of self-reflective material – they are much easier to distribute and access then hard-bound journals.

This web 2.0 concept of sharing when applied to professional reflection is very powerful. Have you ever wanted to be a fly in the classroom of a respected teacher to see how she does it? Have you ever wanted to read or hear the reflections of that same teacher on the effectiveness of their teaching? I’m guessing you answered YES to both of these questions. If so, this 13 minute video will be interesting to you. Filmed in the Fall of 2006, it shows a glimpse into the classroom of Queen’s University mathematics professor Leo Jonker and subsequently documents his reflection on his teaching style.

What do you think about Dr. Jonker’s video? Leave a comment below.

1 comment:

EdW said...

Eric, albeit a bit late (2008), I found this video incredibly interesting. Especially in light of the Aboriginal Leadership Opportunity Year (ALOY) at the Royal Military College of Canada. By default, (but I do want to qualify by saying not all and I do want to avoid any sense of stereotyping) it would seem, Aboriginal learners would shy away from maths and sciences. Why? Lot's of reasons but I won't go into that at this point. There's a lot of literature out on that. The point is that Dr. Jonker’s style and in particular his demonstrated concern for all learners -- even those who don't have the correct answers -- has a "cultural" appeal for Aboriginal folks. Is it possible to attend higher learning and give wrong answers and yet learn? Hmmmmmm, Jonkers seems to be saying it is.

Ed W