Tag Archives: Critical Friend

Time to Reflect Again…

15 May


By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.

I love that quote by Confucius. His opinion is still valid, of course, although I’m less sure of the order in which he presents the three paths to wisdom. Perhaps imitation is the easiest, but teaching by modelling involves the use of imitation to some extent, and it is through modelling that the teacher can begin to map the routes to wisdom for the learner. If modelling and imitation come first, then the path to wisdom is broadened and made firmer under-foot through offering practical experiential learning to students. Learning from experience plays a critical part in combining information and skills in context to create knowledge, and the meaning and form that such experiences can take are as varied as the countless subjects and disciplines themselves that comprise the broad sweep of human activity.

In teaching there are many forms of reflection. Some which I am good at yes take a bow Andrew. Others not so much. This can be a reflection on teaching but also on the way you lead your Faculty.

  • Critical self-reflection – taking the time to go back over our own teaching, either from memory, or from notes taken, or increasingly today from a video of our teaching; we do this with the aim of challenging ourselves on what went well or not, and why;
  • Collaborative reflection – working with one or more colleagues who join with you in reflecting on your teaching, perhaps having observed your lesson live, whether via live video, or having watched a recorded video of your teaching after the event; of course, this can, and perhaps should, be reciprocal – collegiate reflection can be very powerful indeed;
  • Coaching and mentoring – working with either a more experienced colleague or an external expert who watches you teach (again either by classroom observation or through the use of video) and is able to offer advice – this can be done live or in retrospect, or both. Equally, working with a colleague or colleagues to mentor/coach each other can make for very effective professional reflection. Our experts sometimes come from our own community.

Starting Out

16 Feb

It was some time ago I started teaching. Back in 1993 to be exact. Gasp. Some time ago I worked with PRTs which gave me an insight into how things hadn’t changed much. So I thought I would dispense the following.

If I could offer you only one tip for surviving your first term of teaching, remembering to eat lunch and drink plenty of water would be it. Here are some other ideas.

Help me if you can

Ask for help. There will be people out there who would love to help.

Take time to get to know your students

All of them have a story and interests. Even the most challenging of students usually have things that they are interests and talents. Take time to find out what they are. The Learning Plans we have developed as a staff have helped immeasurably in this area. Having settled get a mentor or critical friend in to observe you. They can help (see previous comment).

Preparation, preparation, preparation
Avoid trying to attempt any photocopying of resources or finishing up that key IT presentation on Monday morning. Prepare for things to come up. That fire drill. IT failure. Being prepared will help your stress levels.

My pink notebook
I know it’s very old school but I carry a note book with me and write down (scribble) good ideas or things I should know. Invaluable.

Weekends rule

Make sure you step away at the weekend and after school. You cannot be effective if you are focused on school all the time. What example does it set to other staff and your students? There is nothing wrong with going home at 4:30pm.

Students are not your friends they are students

Enough said.


Professional Reading

I was handed this piece this week and found it ideal. It’s great for a Faculty Meeting and I am sure it will spark debate at your place.

The 3 Rs for Coaching


Thoughts and Observations from Edward Roads

Danielle Anne Lynch

Music, Theology, Religion, Education

Learn To Love Food

Food Fun For Feeding Therapy and Picky Eaters

Enseñar a pensar

Metodologías de innovación educativa


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