Farris & Anson’s chapter 16 and Janice Lauer’s chapter 3

     Farris and Anson's chapter 16 by Kathleen Blake Yancey dealt primarily with reflection and how it can improve instruction. When looked at through the lens of a college professor, the amount of reflection Yancey speaks of sounds like it could be doable. But looking at it as a high school teacher who can see well over one hundred students on a daily basis, it seems impossible.

     There is always a level of reflection after a class and it is never the same for each class. The students in each class create variety in instruction and game planning. The one element that can't be prepped for is how the students will be on a given day. I have a colleague who prays that she gets observed during 5th period because that is her "good" class and not during her "bad" 8th period. A student who likes to cause trouble will view a supervisor observing his teacher as a challenge to be difficult.

     I turn to talk of observations because I want to discuss how reflection has become part of teacher evaluations, and not something a teacher does to improve. In my district, we have Charlotte Danielson to thank for this. Her Framework for Teaching has been adopted by many districts in New Jersey, and has really turned how teachers reflect on their lessons into a chore.
blogs.puyallup.k12.wa.us
     As you can see above, Danielson has created four domains that teachers must focus on. Reflection is a big part of each domain, and requires artifacts (the term for evidence) in order to be properly evaluated. When a teacher gets observed, there are forms that have to be filled out on a website that tracks everything. One form is all about what you plan on teaching and accommodations you've made. Another form is where you reflect after the lesson. It's nice in theory, but the fact that it is part of the evaluation has driven teachers to see it as a chore. This, in turn, makes reflection a chore and teachers then dislike doing it.

     Educators have to be willing to reflect on their experiences in an attempt to become better. Think about why most students don't enjoy doing homework. They don't see it as beneficial practice that improves skills. Instead, it's a punishment and something to be avoided whenever possible, even though it's necessary.

Teachers line up to provide artifacts.
xpressivecafe.com


Farris & Anson’s chapter 16 and Janice Lauer’s chapter 3

     Farris and Anson's chapter 16 by Kathleen Blake Yancey dealt primarily with reflection and how it can improve instruction. When looked at through the lens of a college professor, the amount of reflection Yancey speaks of sounds like it could be doable. But looking at it as a high school teacher who can see well over one hundred students on a daily basis, it seems impossible.

     There is always a level of reflection after a class and it is never the same for each class. The students in each class create variety in instruction and game planning. The one element that can't be prepped for is how the students will be on a given day. I have a colleague who prays that she gets observed during 5th period because that is her "good" class and not during her "bad" 8th period. A student who likes to cause trouble will view a supervisor observing his teacher as a challenge to be difficult.

     I turn to talk of observations because I want to discuss how reflection has become part of teacher evaluations, and not something a teacher does to improve. In my district, we have Charlotte Danielson to thank for this. Her Framework for Teaching has been adopted by many districts in New Jersey, and has really turned how teachers reflect on their lessons into a chore.
blogs.puyallup.k12.wa.us
     As you can see above, Danielson has created four domains that teachers must focus on. Reflection is a big part of each domain, and requires artifacts (the term for evidence) in order to be properly evaluated. When a teacher gets observed, there are forms that have to be filled out on a website that tracks everything. One form is all about what you plan on teaching and accommodations you've made. Another form is where you reflect after the lesson. It's nice in theory, but the fact that it is part of the evaluation has driven teachers to see it as a chore. This, in turn, makes reflection a chore and teachers then dislike doing it.

     Educators have to be willing to reflect on their experiences in an attempt to become better. Think about why most students don't enjoy doing homework. They don't see it as beneficial practice that improves skills. Instead, it's a punishment and something to be avoided whenever possible, even though it's necessary.

Teachers line up to provide artifacts.
xpressivecafe.com


blog 5

“Theory, Practice, and the Bridge Between The Methods Course and Reflective Rhetoric”

“That prospective teachers often bring with them a model of a teacher they want to be, their favorite teacher or the one they wished they’d had.” This is very interesting and very true, in my opinion.

“Question: Do “better” students tend to favor a particular kind of model? Do all models require revision?” I think “successful” students have learning / self-teaching models of their own that help them adapt to the models of their teachers. Knowing yourself as a learner is an invaluable skill that many students do not possess; more importantly, I do not believe students are encouraged to learn about themselves in this way. I think schools are more interested in dictating what needs to be done to take time out and explain that not every model works for every students, no matter how good it may be. Instead it’s more of a “if you don’t get it, then you are dumb and that’s nobody’s problem but your own” kind of mentality.

“That better students tend to focus on the curriculum and the students; weaker ones tend to focus on themselves.” This makes sense; it is difficult to consider a / the bigger picture when you are still struggling with the smaller one.

“Question: what activities, what questions can help weaker students move outside the self? Or is there, in fact, a way to accelerate such readiness?” I think this readiness comes from a better understanding of the material. I don’t think it is a matter of introspectiveness, but rather a matter of basic skill acquisition. Sure there are things teachers can do to help a student, but there are no epiphany inducing questions that can speed up the process. It’s all about the bigger picture. But in the case of weaker learners, it is more like a puzzle. Each lesson/ objective is a puzzle piece. The bigger picture won’t matter to you until you figure out where this piece is supposed to go.

“That in many ways this course is an exercise in identity and identification.” Probably also some internalization and motivation examination as well.

“this takes the form of wanting to replicate another teacher, or seeing a student so much as a version of an earlier self of ours that we can’t see the student in any other way” I think the assumption that a lot of teachers are replicating a past personal experience is at least moderately sound, however, I don't like the implication here that this desire to "redo the past, but in a better way" blinds teachers from seeing their students as individuals. 

“Question: What other kinds of reflection should we include? Toward what end?” I think that refection is so vague that any kind suffices.

“When reflection “works,” it raises as many questions as it answers, perhaps more” isn’t that the whole point to reflection in the first place?


I feel the talk of her students was drawn out and didn’t really help prove her points. I think she could have reduced the length of this chapter and still gotten her message across (especially that bit of “fluff” about the weather and her students typing). However, I felt she raised some good questions. I think I would have liked to see her own answers to these questions, but they were good enough on their own that they got me thinking as well. 

blog 5

“Theory, Practice, and the Bridge Between The Methods Course and Reflective Rhetoric”

“That prospective teachers often bring with them a model of a teacher they want to be, their favorite teacher or the one they wished they’d had.” This is very interesting and very true, in my opinion.

“Question: Do “better” students tend to favor a particular kind of model? Do all models require revision?” I think “successful” students have learning / self-teaching models of their own that help them adapt to the models of their teachers. Knowing yourself as a learner is an invaluable skill that many students do not possess; more importantly, I do not believe students are encouraged to learn about themselves in this way. I think schools are more interested in dictating what needs to be done to take time out and explain that not every model works for every students, no matter how good it may be. Instead it’s more of a “if you don’t get it, then you are dumb and that’s nobody’s problem but your own” kind of mentality.

“That better students tend to focus on the curriculum and the students; weaker ones tend to focus on themselves.” This makes sense; it is difficult to consider a / the bigger picture when you are still struggling with the smaller one.

“Question: what activities, what questions can help weaker students move outside the self? Or is there, in fact, a way to accelerate such readiness?” I think this readiness comes from a better understanding of the material. I don’t think it is a matter of introspectiveness, but rather a matter of basic skill acquisition. Sure there are things teachers can do to help a student, but there are no epiphany inducing questions that can speed up the process. It’s all about the bigger picture. But in the case of weaker learners, it is more like a puzzle. Each lesson/ objective is a puzzle piece. The bigger picture won’t matter to you until you figure out where this piece is supposed to go.

“That in many ways this course is an exercise in identity and identification.” Probably also some internalization and motivation examination as well.

“this takes the form of wanting to replicate another teacher, or seeing a student so much as a version of an earlier self of ours that we can’t see the student in any other way” I think the assumption that a lot of teachers are replicating a past personal experience is at least moderately sound, however, I don't like the implication here that this desire to "redo the past, but in a better way" blinds teachers from seeing their students as individuals. 

“Question: What other kinds of reflection should we include? Toward what end?” I think that refection is so vague that any kind suffices.

“When reflection “works,” it raises as many questions as it answers, perhaps more” isn’t that the whole point to reflection in the first place?


I feel the talk of her students was drawn out and didn’t really help prove her points. I think she could have reduced the length of this chapter and still gotten her message across (especially that bit of “fluff” about the weather and her students typing). However, I felt she raised some good questions. I think I would have liked to see her own answers to these questions, but they were good enough on their own that they got me thinking as well.