Been reading BF Skinner. I’ve been interested in this guy's methods ever since my teens, when I bought a book called “The Japanese Kana Workbook”, which teaches the user both systems of Japanese kana in a few days. The book was recommended to me by my first Japanese teacher, who had used it in his undergraduate days at Sheffield University, which in those days was commonly considered the UK's best Japanese-teaching university. He told me that using this book, he and his aspiring fellow Japanologists were able to master the reading and writing of both systems inside a week. That impressed me, so I acquired a copy.

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What the qualitative approach offers is depth and richness in information, but the value of this can be offset by the specificity of the source and its accompanying biases. Quantitative methods may therefore be superior, depending on the reflective practitioner’s intentions and which areas of development he/she is specifically targeting.  ...continue reading

The method described in steps 1 and 2 is qualitative. It attempts to do no more than elicit opinion regarding defined aspects of a particular experience shared by teacher and learner. For extra validity, the questions/headings/other prompts used to produce this information would be theoretically based and/or made specific for the purpose of addressing a particular issue that either the teacher had identified in his own performance or had been reported by a student, a colleague, or other expert observer. ...continue reading

This is a comparative and contrastive approach that builds triangulation not possible when the reflective practice is the subjective composition of the performing individual alone.

Both quantitative and qualitative methodologies are possible. In a fully developed model (which this is not, at least yet), either, and/or both methodologies could be employed, with relative caveats regarding generalisability applied. The method is as follows: ...continue reading

In previous posts, I have argued that reflective practice, if it is to remain a core activity in the development of teaching proficiency, needs to incorporate objectivity and comprehensively minimize its subjectivity, since subjectivity erodes both efficacy and philosophical validity. Reflective practice may be adequate, and philosophically coherent as a tool of pure self development, but when there are others besides the self affected, as there certainly are in teaching, it is the perspective and interests of those others that must be first and foremost provisioned. ...continue reading

I don’t believe in reflective writing. That is, I do not believe that reflective writing deserves the centrality it is awarded in the discourse and practice of pedagogy, or for that matter, andragogy.

Every discipline and practice has its cornerstones – tenets, principles, concepts, processes, and ideals that are considered fundamental, irreducible, and self-evidently positive. I call these “stanchions of paradigm”; in less guarded moments, I call them “sacred cows”. Unless these cornerstones are evidentially derived, continuously yielding, demonstrably translatable into tangible capabilities, and philosophically coherent, they are sacred cows. And it is toward these sacred cows that the lens of criticism should focus its harshest rays. ...continue reading

Reflective practice has its uses, primarily as a tool of circular, incremental preparation, reparation, and improvement, i.e. self-checking. But any practice that takes attention away from the learner and learning is injurious to teaching. If reflective writing has to be done, it should be done according to an empirically derived, criteria-linked formula. That is, the structure of reflective writing has to be programmed – purposefully constrained to eliminate unproductive deviations, stream of consciousness ramblings, and wallowing in feelings (since these are absolutely subjective, time-sensitive, transient, insubstantial, and for these reasons, not reliable indicators of very much at all that is of value to the learner). ...continue reading

The use of reflective practice as a method of improving teaching quality has a dangerous collateral effect. Teachers spending time observing, commenting on, critiquing, and analysing their own teaching are undermining the originating premise of teaching itself. Learner and teacher are not mutually exchangeable roles. In a formal educational setting, one individual is paid to facilitate the learning of another individual or individuals. If the teacher extends the logic of reflective practice to the teaching scenario, the learners’ ignorant guesses and assumptions assume the quality of the teacher’s formally learnt or experientially gained knowledge. What then is the teacher and what then is the learner? If the subjective is as worthy as the objective, nothing need be taught to anyone. ...continue reading