KOTESOL Workshop – Reflective Practice: Formulating Your Experience

Reflection. It’s a hot word in the ELT world. What I find interesting is that in all my Twitter curating, Google Alerts, and blogosphere explorations, I’ve discovered that educators seem to attach different meanings to the term. For some it’s about mulling over something that happened in class; for others it’s an in depth exploration of a teaching/learning experience. I find myself connecting more to the perspective of the second camp.

When I think of reflective practice, I immediately refer to the experiential learning cycle. I believe that when teachers reflect on an experience using this model, they are better equipped to address their future teaching/learning needs. My own experience with this cycle has helped me develop into a more confident teacher who sees successes and faults as simple launching points for self-improvement.

I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to share my perspective on this reflective cycle at the KOTESOL Busan Reflective Practice Symposium next Saturday, April 21. Among a group of other reflective practitioners, including my good friend Michael Griffin, I’ll be conducting a workshop that hopes to shed light on this form of reflection. Below is the workshop’s abstract:

Reflective Practice: Formulating Your Experience

Reflective practice can be a magic formula for better teaching, but the trick is that you are the only one who possesses the knowledge to make it work. Luckily, this formula – based on the Experiential Learning Cycle (see Dewey, Kolb, and Rodgers) – is not out of reach. During the workshop, attendees will reflect on a classroom experience by taking it through each step of the cycle: description, interpretation/analysis, and action planning. With the guidance of the facilitator, attendees will gain clarity into each step, as well as insight into the value of pausing and taking a good look at each of these points. Attendees can expect to leave the workshop with a solid understanding of how to use the Experiential Learning Cycle to deepen their reflective practice and their awareness of what goes on in their classroom. With this awareness, it is the facilitator’s hope that attendees will realize how the Experiential Learning Cycle can make a positive difference in their teaching and learning.

Even if you can’t make it to the symposium, I am grateful for your support. Thank you!

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17 thoughts on “KOTESOL Workshop – Reflective Practice: Formulating Your Experience

  1. Hi Josette!

    I will echo everyone who said it: I wish I could attend your workshop. The word ‘reflection’ does have a lot of meanings, I agree – I thought about it quite a lot after attending Dale Coulter’s talk last November in Paris when he spoke about teachers keeping journals. To tell the truth, I have never kept one (apart from random notes and thoughts) – but I have started writing ever since. It can work as thoughts too, but I think that seeing everything written down and looking again after days, can play a really important role. As Kevin said above, it is a whole process.

    It can be about how a particular student did in class, what and how I did it, why that way, what could have worked better…..what I would do again.

    No pressure, but I do hope you will blog about it after the workshop : ) You will rock the house, by the way ; )

    Thanks for a great post,
    Vicky

    1. Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment Vicky! I especially enjoyed how you referenced all the different reasons why we might reflect: “It can be about how a particular student did in class, what and how I did it, why that way, what could have worked better…..what I would do again.” The last point reminds us that we don’t only reflect when things go wrong. Reflecting on a positive experience can enhance the moment the next time around.

      I also agree with what you said about writing it down. It slows down the reflective process and gives us the space to look at the moment more objectively. I have often referred to experiences I wrote (blogged) about months or years before. Helped me make sure I didn’t do the same “mistake” twice.

      Wish you could be there in Saturday too, but like I said, I have a feeling our reflective paths will cross some day soon. :)

  2. Sounds like a really great workshop Josette! Wish I could be there in Busan to learn more about reflective teaching from you. What about a KELTchat on the topic? I am hoping to make the next one with fingers well crossed. ^^

  3. I wish I could attend the new, improved, reflected upon version of this workshop! But alas, I will have to settle for some ‘Seoulful’ reflection practices on my own here. I am certain you will be a great reflection on the Busan Chapter’s program! All the best to you, my friend.

    1. Thank you so much for your support Kristina! You were such an inspiration at my last “So What?” ELC workshop. Hope this “Now What?” goes a bit smoother. Hope to see you at the Seoul RP SIG some day soon!

  4. Josette,

    I am so wanting to be in this workshop. You know, I think I might have ended up in the wrong country by mistake. I was just bopping around on Michael’s blog and left some jibber-jabber about how reflective practice gets you closer to the questions you need to ask. But like you said, that happens because of the experiential learning cycle. It’s a process. And a process rooted firmly in the teacher and the teachers experience.

    Anyone who takes part in this workshop is certainly painted lucky from my perspective.

    Kevin

    1. Thank you, as ever, for the kind words. Maybe we’ll set up our own conference one day, and we’ll finally be able to see each other in action! Who would be lucky then? :)

      Interesting comment about being in the wrong country. Maybe I’m in the wrong country. :) I’m just grateful that social networks blur national boundaries.

      I appreciate how you clarified the idea that it’s the cycle itself, and in it’s essence, the experience, that gets us closer to the questions we need to ask. I’m always fascinated by the way the cycle brings up questions I didn’t initially think of. This is where the magic comes from.

  5. Josette – really wish I could make it (not sure if we have bus service that goes that far – that regular) ;-)

    Sounds like it will be really useful – and, as you note, we can all learn more about stuff like this – regardless of where we are on the “experience curve”. What you say about “magic” is so true – teachers never really LEARN as much from one-shot, recipe-based workshops (that give them a few more “tricks” to throw in the “ole bag”) – as they do from “looking in” and developing greater understanding of “what matters” to them.

    Anyways, hope it goes great – be sure to let us all know what sort of issues (and solutions) you all co-create together ;-)

    Take care,

    T..

    1. Thanks for the support Tony! As you can imagine, I completely agree with what you said regarding the idea of looking in. There is such wisdom in being able to see yourself for the first time.

      I’ll be sure to give you a reflective update of how it went. :)

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