Reflective Writing

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

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

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

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

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 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