I realize that I take the process of reflection for granted. When I experience something new – especially if that experience was confusing or didn’t meet my expectations in a positive way – I work it through the reflective cycle.
I go through this cycle out of habit, and this habit began while I was studying for my MA in TESOL at SIT. When I go through the process, I find solutions to problems, and this is crucial to my future success in teaching a lesson. Finding a solution is much more beneficial and rewarding than doing it wrong all over again.
I realized how much I take reflection for granted after spending the day with a group of reflective practitioners during the KOTESOL National Conference on Saturday. We practice reflection on a daily basis either in our personal lives, or when we teach it to the teachers in our training programs.
After my presentation, Blogging: Creative Interaction, one of the audience members posed two inspiringly, inquisitive questions about reflective practice:
Is reflection a new concept?
Is the reflective process and the practice usually taught in teacher training and MA programs?
He asked these questions because this was the first time he had ever heard about it. To the first question, with the help of founding members of the Reflective Practices SIG, we answered that according to what we knew this pedagogical idea has been around since John Dewey’s work on experiential learning in the 1930s.
To the second question, we shrugged. I almost wanted to say no because until I had heard of SIT, I had never heard of the reflective process as being an integral part of programs for educational studies.
So to get a bit more clarity, I did a quick Google search under “reflective practice in education” and “reflective process + university curriculum”. It seems that reflective practice is used in the education of health professionals, but I’m still unclear as to how, or if, it is introduced to teachers-in-training. People are writing about it, but I’m not sure if these are individual educators following their passion, or if they are speaking as representatives of educational programs.
So I put these questions out to you:
If we know how beneficial the reflective process is to learning, why isn’t it a part of every teacher’s education?
Was the reflective process a part of your training? If it was, what profession were you training for; where were you training; and what did the reflective process look like?
By helping me answer these questions, we can build a clearer picture of where teachers can go to study in institutions that values experiential learning and reflective practice. And if these places don’t really exist, maybe we can build that program together.