Reaction paper based on the chapter "Reflective Teaching" from the book "Pursuing Professional Development"
UNIVERSIDAD CTOLICA DE LA SSMA. CONCEPCIN
English Methodology II
Reflective Teaching: Looking Closely
Student: Andrs Hunter
Teacher: Claudio Diaz
Concepcin, 24th November 2009
Reflective teaching is the third chapter of the book Pursuing Professional Development, which was written by Bailey, Curtis and Nunan in 2001. The purpose of this chapter is to explain what reflective teaching is and also the importance of adopting it during our career. To begin with, Bailey et al. (2001) mentioned several authors who proposed different interpretations of reflective teaching; among those definitions we can conclude that reflective teaching includes the following ideas: it requires to think about possible options or alternatives to reach goals or aims at the end of a period of time (class of semester); it demands to collect data and analyze it from classrooms; it should consider also the social conditions of the classroom in general and also students contexts. In fact, Leo Bartlett (1990) expanded the last point indicating that "the relationship between an individual's thought and action and the relationship between an individual teacher and his or her membership in a larger collective called society" (as cited in Bailey, Curtis & Nunan, 2001, p. 37). Briefly, we can also find, among other ideas, that reflecting about teaching requires also taking actions and decisions in relation of what teachers may or are experiencing in the classroom. From the previous idea underlies the concepts of reflection-in-action (during our teaching) and reflectionon-action (before or after our teaching) (Bailey et al., 2001, p. 37). Continuing with this idea, Zeichner and Liston (1996) exposed that a reflective teacher must be, among other characteristics, attentive with the students contexts and also he must be responsible with his own professional development. The process of reflection is subdivided into 5 different categories, on one side we have rapid reflection and repair reflection (both are performed in action) and on the other side, review and research reflections are processes carried on after classes (in other words, both are performed on action). The last dimension is retheorizing and reformulating reflection which is based on the analysis
of teaching and learning theories with their results obtained from classrooms. Finally, reflecting about teaching practices is a good opportunity to improve teaching but it requires being critical with yourself. One of the problems which may be faced during this process is that your beliefs about teaching could be wrong or they are not producing learning in the students, so it is hard to confront individually. Therefore, it is highly important to work with somebody who is experiencing similar situations because they can work together and help themselves with opinions and support.
Analyzing this document, there are some significant elements which I have to highlight. This text begins with a question (with subsequent ones) that helps you to start thinking about reflection, thus I could say that it began in a friendly interaction with the readers. Besides, in order to understand the concepts provided by the authors, there are fictional situations which depict the concepts mentioned before in action; I mean the authors mention and explain concepts and include situations in which you can appreciate them immediately. Additionally, it is worth-value of this text is that it contains activities to develop as you continue reading; these activities contribute to the understanding of the text in a great manner because you practice what you read before with the same examples from which the concepts were illustrated. Unluckily, what I can criticize from this chapter is that the authors explained the importance of why we should complicate our lives with the reflective teaching process and also the problems that we may face during this process at the end of this chapter. Even though these concepts are well-explained, I think the authors did not pay much attention to these elements, which are fundamental if you want to start reflecting about your teaching. Therefore, I would
widen these concepts with more ideas and explanations because they reflect the human side of the process of reflective teaching.
Reference Bailey, K. M., Curtis, A., Nunan, D. (2001). Pursuing professional development: The self as source. Boston, MA/US: Heinle & Heinle Publishers.