Thursday, July 06, 2006

Learning how to learn - making connections

Jo McLeay and Marica Sevelj have got something in common with me and that is reading Stephen Brookfield's book Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher (1995). A decade down the track and it remains a highly relevant read.

Jo notes Brookfield's application of some critically reflective incidents, where he describes

... a method he uses to find out from his students (admittedly adults, while mine are adolescents) how they are experiencing their learning and your teaching. It does sound interesting. He does this questionnaire with classes once a week with five questions asking them about specific incidents that were engaging or distancing, affriming and helpful or puzzling or confusing and what was most surprising. The comments are anonymous and students have a carbon copy of their responses. They can keep them and have a record of their responses on an ongoing basis. I must admit there is a lot in this book that gives food for thought.

I'd also like to take Brookfield's applications and see them applied to the wider 'informal learning' setting and see learners take up more responsibility for their learning and development - this is to me a true reflection on becomng critical - in the natural world.

As an aside, I also liked her comment about the overuse of PowerPoint for presenting ideas; "most of them did not enhance the presentations, and it almost seemed as if they were compulsory" - totally agree with you Jo! :o)

We have a seminar coming up and powerpoint hasn't been mentioned once! Mind you it's all about the Social Web, so the talk - and preparation - is centred around tagging, wikis and moblogging - a refreshing change don't you think!

In reading Brookfield for myself, I'm drawn to his notion of 'making our thinking public'. It is this notion I hope will premise an article I am currently co-authoring with some educational design colleagues of mine. Obviously developing the critically reflective teacher should also encourage (and model) the critically reflective learner. And if teaching is dead, according to Leigh Blackall, the surely we can develop teachers to be critically reflective learners in themselves and guide and coach other learners to develop these qualities, thus dissolving the separation between teacher and learner!

Marica, in her Amazon booklist, also points to another book by Jennifer Moon called Reflection in Learning and Professional Development that looks like a good read for our co-authored article.

It's like browsing a library bookshelf and along with the book you initially search for, you find many others that relate to your topic! :o) ...the difference is you get some review and thoughtful comments to boot ...thank you ladies!

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