As a student teacher, I should be aware that theories should not become our main source of food when it comes to learning how to teach. Reflection is a valuable form of in-practice professional development, and perhaps sui generis.
A researcher who valued the social reform outlet of teaching, Dewey has prescribed 3 attitudes a teacher must possess in his or her reflective practice. They are openmindedness, responsibility and wholeheartedness (Dewey, 1933).
But what are the vital questions we should ask ourselves in order to achieve a higher sense of thinking in this regard? Consider the following:
- Do you think about who may be affected or offended by your activities in the classroom?
- Do you bother to be sensitive enough to your non-believing students?
- Do you question gender profiling, inequality of racial representation, stereotypes, language discrimination and other socially relevant issues as possible biases in applicable contexts in your content?
- Do you inquire and interrogate texts on what could else be considered normative ideologies?
- Do you take the time to look up other resources to explain multi-raciality, religion and other idea variants when your material lacks exposure of the other sides?
- Do you encourage debates and peer learning that examine the topics and ideas shared, even of your own? Can you take students’ critiques and be humble enough to remain level- headed when others are critical?
- Do you harbor fear of making mistakes in front of your students? Or are you able to bounce back with grace and be able to own that mistake with a thorough and salient answer?
- Do you accept that this profession is public service?
- Do you acknowledge that teaching is never a self- serving practice?
- Is it important to you to cater to others needs first before your own? Are you clear on who and what should teachers prioritize?
- Are you committed to selfless service to all students, no matter who, where or in what surroundings?
Teaching is not a one size fits all practice as we have learned in the previous modules. Because of this, it will easier to see that different contexts, different scenarios, different students and different cultures will invariably prove that correct teaching cannot be prescribed. But if there is one thing that can be prescribed in the profession, it is reflective practice. It is more than professional, and it teaches us respect, and other desirable personality traits universally useful for a progressive self.
Grant, C.A and Zeichner, K. M. (1984). On becoming a reflective teacher. In Preparing for Reflective Teaching (pp. 103-114). Retrieved from http://www.wou.edu/~girodm/foundations/Grant_and_Zeichner.pdf