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Keeping our eyes on the prize

#sisrocks

Reflection is a way of thinking about educational matters that involves the ability to make rational choices and to assume responsibility for those choices. Taking that line of thought further, teachers are encouraged to reflect so that they can hone in on better ways of meeting the needs of their students. As a problem solving strategy, reflection is linked to effective teaching. As educators we already draw upon our content knowledge and our past experiences to make decisions (big and small) about what we teach and how we plan on teaching it. When we are conscious of this, as reflective practitioners, we are able to see the many benefits and positive effects.

Some of them include:

  • Self-directed critical thinking inquiry skills
  • Contextualized knowledge about teaching and learning that can be applied in similar situations (e.g., when to change instructional strategies or lesson pacing)
  • Willingness to question, take risks in learning, and try new strategies and ideas
  • Higher‐order thinking skills and the ability to reflect on one’s own learning process
  • Both cognitive (e.g., knowing how to ask questions that help students engage and think deeply) and affective skills (e.g., valuing students as individuals capable of learning)
  • Increased ability to react, respond, assess, and revise while teaching
  • Ability to implement new activities and approaches on the spot
  • Improved self‐awareness and knowledge
  • Improved coping strategies (e.g., the ability to redirect student inappropriate behaviors rather than with a response that will escalate the situation).

From a constructivist perspective, it seems that the more attention we pay to the little scribbles we make to ourselves in the margins, or the few minutes we take after class to reflect on what worked and what didn’t, the more this introspection will become a part of our daily routines and better help our students to create meaningfor themselves both in familiar and unfamiliar situations.

Here are some of the ways and tools the SIS community is already using to reflect on their practice:

#Sisrocks has come to embody what an open community looks like.
Storehouse is media rich platform that is well designed and easy to use.
Blogging platform like edublogs make great digital portfolios and journals.
Strikingly is a great medium for personal websites.
Social Media pages connect students and teachers in new ways of dialogue.

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