EDS 111 Module 1: Don’t sweat your TPI

I can imagine how this TPI, or the Teaching Perspective Inventory, left many of us in EDS 111 staring blankly in traffic, or on a printed piece of paper that has a colorful bar graph (I know I printed mine, hehe) perhaps in deep thought, feeling emotional and bewildered on what these five perspectives mean and what they say about our teaching. Does this low result mean I failed on Social Reform, or does my low score on Transmission meant incompetence or inadequacy on my part? I wonder what a high Apprenticeship score mean… it definitely doesn’t sound special. Do I have to retake it? What is this TPI really all about??

I don’t know how many of my classmates can relate to the similar dilemma I was faced after I took the survey, and took it early I did; but it took me a good few days to really digest how these unique sounding terminologies have impacted my teaching past and present. I will avoid parroting what I have already said in the course forum post, but I have come to reflect on an angle about why some readily accept their results and some challenge on what their TPI said.

We could think of these teaching perspectives as glasses we see through (Pratt, 1998) and he couldn’t be more accurate. These are simply dominant biases on how we view our own teaching and the teaching of others, and how that influences our teaching style. But that proposes that we have a general, default go-to teaching style? Is that what Grasha’s clusters are about? Perhaps. But I thought a characteristic of good teaching is being effective in any style we employ? These are some of the questions I wish to explore in the coming modules.

In many ways, the teaching perspectives shows in the style and techniques we use, but for the most part, subconscious in nature. It has showed us a face value of how we really think about teaching. It is a discrete point of view we hold, and that set our individual standards on what teaching should be and what it is not. It is not there to crucify someone to be doomed stuck in that kind of outlook on teaching, nor it should be used to carelessly dismiss someone with a different perspective.

If you are someone who scored low on the developmental, then use your best judgement to address issues this may cause as you deem necessary if you work in a Montessori school. Perhaps you feel that your excessive bias towards the transmission perspective may be hindering you from being heard as a co-learner which you also want to become, then you are now able to pinpoint why. As with most disciplines, knowledge about oneself is a key to improvement; being armed with a new understanding of one’s teaching perspectives couldn’t hurt the chances to grow into the teacher we hope to be.

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