Tag Archives: Teaching Reflections

Restorative Reflection

29 May

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In my work this week I have been trying to get my head around restorative and relational practices. I have been thinking what makes effective practice and how we can apply this in my own environment. The question I am posing then on mountain2surf is just what does creating a Restorative Culture within a school or other community look like?

Positive relationships form the basis for any healthy community. For a Restorative Culture to develop, it is essential that community- and relationship-building be intentional. Relationships of authentic trust between adults and youth, and within both staff and student cohorts, are the foundation of the connections that will be restored through the use of RJ practices. We must first form these relationships, then, in times of trouble, there is something to restore. So building good relationships is key.

Reflection is something I believe we do not do enough of. It is essential to a restorative culture. Prayer in Catholic school provides an ideal opportunity for this. When students “act out”, do we examine our own contribution to the situation? What feelings and beliefs do we bring to the circumstances? In our busy and challenging position as educators, have we really done all we can to meet an individual student’s needs or is there something else we could try? Out of our best intentions, have we given some students so much slack that, without realizing it, we have set the bar too low and inadvertently sent them a message that they are not capable? This type of deep self-reflection and willingness to examine one’s own feelings, biases, pre-conceived notions, and actions is not easy, but it is one of the essential keys to establishing a Restorative Culture in schools.

But where should this self reflection take place. Now for self-reflection to take place and to build positive relationships, a safe space must be provided. Safe space encompasses not just physical well-being but also emotional and intellectual safety. Are behavioral and academic expectations clear? Are standards upheld consistently? Is the aftermath of making a mistake free from shame? If I take personal responsibility for my actions will I be met with compassion and a willingness to listen, rather than a quickness to blame and punish? Does the community embrace and validate different experiences, beliefs, and perspectives and allow for them to be expressed?

 

Just some initial thoughts.

 

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Lesson Objectives

4 Aug

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This year I have been privileged to observe teaching pedagogy by teachers in classrooms in my school in departmental review and appraisal situations. One of the indicators of effective instruction is that each lesson has a clear learning intention stated up front to the students in the class. In many classrooms I visited the learning intention was also written for students. In the flipped classroom situation many students knew this before the lesson had even begun.

I was able to ask some students about why they learning this lesson and was puzzled by what I saw as a gap between students knowing the learning intentions and understanding the purpose of the lesson. This is not an uncommon problem.

After lots of reflection and some reading it appears to me that lesson intentions that focus simply on the skill/s being taught the connections or concepts students need to learn to apply these skills in new settings.

The following piece of research sums it up better than I:

http://www.marktreadwell.com/Whatever_Next

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