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Reflection and Data

on March 28, 2011

Ideas taken from Duckworth Article;http://dc.educ.sfu.ca/dc/file.php/219/DUCKWORTH.pdf
Learning is explaining! Reading through he article I realized that I do do this in class. I find that when I have students explain, not only their thoughts and ideas but their questions as well there is more engagement with all the students in class. Walking around the class, as I have the students explain their thoughts about an idea before we even begin looking into it blows me away every time! I love how Duckworth uses the observations of the moon and how she had the students write what they saw ,and many also added what they thought of the whole silly moon idea! I am just starting to plan a plant unit for science, and I think I am going to have the students do the same thing, but with a plant in their backyard. It is the perfect time of year for this! This way, I can see what the students already know and where their interests are in learning about plants.

I loved ,loved, loved how Duckworth explains that a teacher is not just a “school teacher” but a teacher is someone who engages learners. I firmly believe in this! As a learner I have always lost interest in a teacher directed lesson, where the teacher talks and I listen and do everything the teacher tells me. Why on earth would I do that to my students? Like Duckworth explains understanding how we learn ourselves reflects me and how I am as a teacher. Learning and understanding my own capacities as an educator will further develop my students’ engagement in their own learning. Engagement does not begin with an attention grabber, but with the students. Knowing and understanding your students’ learning styles, personalities, and backgrounds helps in creating an engaging lesson and most importantly an engaging classroom.

Thoughts on Hobson’s Article;http://dc.educ.sfu.ca/dc/file.php/219/Hobson_Teachers_Doing_Research.pdf
Our research in the classroom is relevant and real to us. As a teacher we are in it! We need to understand what is going on in the classroom and why? Something I ask myself every moment of the day. What are we doing and why are we doing it? Is it working? Why isn’t it working? I loved how Hobson said that the teacher is a part of the research, we are doing it and we are in it. Thinking about collecting data and research is a little overwhelming for me, so hearing that we are in the research makes me look at it differently. My reflection is a part of the research and it is data. I need to trust my reflections as valid data.
Looking ar reflection as “in action” and as “on action,” helps me better understand how my thoughts are a form of research. I need to remind myself to write or record my reflection in action, as much as I do when I reflect on action. I love the idea of the Double Entry Journal; half the page is th description of my observations and the other side I write what my thoughts and questions are about what I observed. I also liked the idea of reflection split into three; past experinces, present situation and future images. This is a wonderful way to think of what worked, what didn’t work, why, how things can be applied in your present class (we all know that plays a role in lessons) and what we want to see next time and most importantly, what we want to try next time.

Hobson wrote,

” It is the teacher who is at the center of action in the classroom; it is the the teacher who is trying, in real life and real time, to understand what is going on in the classroom and to make a difference.”pg.16.

This clearly connects with Duckworth’s article and it resonates with me in one big way. What we are doing in the classroom needs to mean something to us at a deeper level. When I was trying to think what my inquiry was going to be about, I had a thousand ideas and many outside sources giving me ideas on what to do. BUT, I had one colleague pull me aside and say look, your inquiry must mean something to you. Your passion is what makes your inquiry valid to you. So I had to ask myself what in my learning, my classroom, my growth, my students’ growth is important to me? What drives me to be a better learner and educator?

Looking over Hobson’s ideas on how to put yourself at the center of your inquiry got me thinking about about how I engage students and why I am so passionate about it. I loved the questions he proposed we think about in reflection of ourselves as educators; Who were you best teachers? Your best experiences as a student? Who were my best students and why? What were my best moments as a teacher? What is a good day? Describe myself as a teacher and by far the best one…how would the average students describe me as a teacher? These questions just might help me better understand myself as a teacher and why my inquiry is based on engagement and wondering.

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