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Final Reflections

1. Readings:
http://www.tttjournal.co.uk/uploads/file/back_articles/towards_reflective_teaching.pdf
http://www.cuhk.edu.hk/ajelt/vol7/art1.htm
Main points:
Teachers can move away from mechanical routines of classroom methodologies by
adopting reflective approaches that inform his/her practice.
Through critical reflection, a teacher examines his/her experiences which provides basis
for evaluation and decision-making in order to plan future actions that transform our
teaching practices.
By becoming reflective practitioners we exercise control over our teaching practices.
Some of the techniques for teacher reflections described in the first reading include: peer
observations, self-reports, autobiographies, journal writing, collaborative diary keeping
and video recording of lessons.
Whether self- or peer-conducted, the power of reflective teaching lies not just in how we
accumulate experiences but more importantly in how we become introspective of our
own actions and learn from those experiences through personal reflections.
From the second reading, reflective teaching can be seen from an interpretists point of
view (knowing what to do) in that experienced and effective teachers have shown skills
in information from their own settings, make decisions and act on them.
Active participation in reflective teaching allows us to examine data and procedures
which bring coherence to our own practice. Through reflective teaching, we are able to
situate our own stories.
The second article, written by an ESL teacher, presented reflective teaching in four
vignettes using literary/storytelling devices. All vignettes illustrated the effective use of
flashbacks and self-inquiry.
Even before reflective teaching might have been a buzzword in the past, effective
teachers have already skillfully examined their beliefs, assumptions and practices that
provided insights to improve their teaching.
Reflective teaching differs from action research in that the latter involves more
systematic and empirical utilization of data in planning actions in response to specific
educational inquiry. We can say though that action research involves a lot of reflective
inquiry.
2. How reflective I am as a teacher:
I am fortunate to belong to an international school community that values reflections as
meaningful ways to inform teaching and learning. Our own school principal encourages us to
develop professional portfolios not just to showcase our outstanding work but more so to have a
personal venue for self-scrutiny of our own teaching practices. As an IB school, AISM likewise
encourages collaborations amongst teachers in creating and evaluating interdisciplinary units.
The concept of critical friends is very in exercise in our departmental and faculty development
meetings. Perhaps the only aspect that is restricting the full potential of reflection as a
community practice at AISM is the limited common time available of the teachers. As a song
goes, life is what happens when you are busy making other plans. At times I feel there is just a
flurry of school activities and programs that we often find it difficult to reflect each one of them.

This scenario is in fact, as a matter of whole school reflection, one of the key issues teachers
and administrators wish to address this coming school year.
At a personal level, I bask on developing my professional learning network (PLN)
through online associations with educational technology practitioners. By following key edtech
personages on Twitter alone, I am compelled to look at my own teaching approaches and
evaluate the tools and techniques I use in line with innovations that other teachers have utilized.
For instance, not all technologies that others profess to be effective in their own classrooms are
applicable in my own setting. Teaching in Africa, there are a lot of considerations to think of in
the selection and adoption of specific technologies. Looking at other teachers practices and the
recent developments in the field provide the proper grounding for my own work as a teacher.
However informal, I also do peer observations with fellow teachers. I actually also often use
them as a resource when my students evaluate their projects. My students understand the value
of feedback as their projects are intended to present a product or solution to an actual audience.
Modelling before them, I also seek these students feedback in terms of my teaching
approaches and how learning units are handled.
In the larger scale of things, I also hope to reflect more on how I can make the learning
units I design and the projects that my students create more substantially grounded to
immediate community applications and needs. While we strive to reflect on and assess the
impact of our learning output in individuals, intended users or target audience, we need to seek
more opportunities to extend potential applications to community and organizational linkages.
As a Technology teacher, this would provide me a true sense of fulfillment and affirmation that
what we do in class is tangibly relevant to society.
Perhaps what I can start working at to achieve a deeper level of reflective practice is to
create a personal blog. Basically, its an online journal that can serve to document my works
and, more importantly, to have my own spot or hideaway for self-inquiry. As it will be published
online, it is also intended to be a venue where I can gather feedback or opinion of other
teachers. The popular edtech experts and enthusiasts that I know maintain their web presence
which promotes open discussion amongst educators. Through free, collaborative inquiry,
different perspectives help inform and innovate teaching practices.
2. Teacher Speeches
a. Dr. Josette Biyo, first Asian educator to receive the Excellence in Teaching Award at the 2002
Intel International Science and Engineering Fair at Louisville, Kentucky
Speech delivered before a business conference:
http://sntpost.stii.dost.gov.ph/frames/OcttoDec03/pg4to7.htm
A multi-awarded teacher, locally and internationally, Dr. Josette Biyos journey as a
teacher has inspired many educators and students, particularly those in third world countries.
Dr. Biyo brings social dimension to her teaching. A science teacher, she believes that the most
authentic place of learning is well outside the classroom. Nature and the community serve as
her teaching laboratories. She makes her students draw connections with the concepts and
skills they learn to the immediate needs of their communities. Not only does she make science
active, fun and engaging, she also makes every lesson practical and meaningful. Having taught
in rural schools early in her teaching career, she was incredibly resourceful and creative to
explore ways she could make lessons come alive even in the absence of adequate educational
facilities. She also believes in the spirit of community, that any scientific or teaching endeavor
should have a purposeful and transformative value. She instills in her students a great sense of
community by making them apply their experimental studies and projects in the context of real

community problems such as environmental degradation and deficient primary health care and
sanitation, among others. With multiple awards in her teaching career, Dr. Biyo believes that
being so-called world class starts right inside ones classroom. For her work in science
education in the Philippines, the MIT Lincoln Lab named a planetoid/asteroid in her honor. As
she is often popularly quoted, I dreamt of stars, I got a planet.
b. Luke Foley, Vermont 2003 Teacher of the Year Award
Speech: http://lukefoleyvt.blogspot.co.ke/2013/12/teacher-of-year-acceptance-speech.html
News article:
http://www.wcax.com/story/23693957/vt-teacher-of-the-year-announced?
autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=9418464
Mr. Luke Foley was honored for his work in the STAR program in a local Vermont high
school. In the program, Mr. Foley along with other teachers devised and promoted alternative
and challenging teaching practices that went beyond academics. Students create projects with
real-life connections. Notable in his speech is his recognition that success is primarily from
collaborative efforts. He acknowledged the other teachers for their own contributions. He also
attributed their accomplishment to the enthusiastic reception of their students. In his speech, Mr.
Foley fondly reminded the students that its actually them that provide meaning to their career.
That in a teachers duty to inspire, provoke, challenge and nurture young minds, a teacher
would strive to provide opportunities for students to become successful. I like it how Mr. Foley
articulated that as teachers, we should encourage students to create their own definition of
success so that they may find their own purpose. He referred to teachers as eternal optimists;
they would guide and cheer for you even in moments of hardship, failure or defeat.
3. Key points I would include in my speech if I was elected teacher of the year:

Just like my own students, I am first and foremost a learner myself, and thats how we all
basically started.
If I get a teacher award, I will perhaps emphasize in my speech that teaching in itself is
learning. With the natural flair and passion for a field or discipline, a teacher not just
seeks to master content and tools, (s)he pursues to be constantly equipped with recent
discoveries in the discipline and research-based teaching practices in pursuit of life-long
learning.

Critical reflection is important for informed decisions and actions in my teaching practice.
A good teacher critically inquires into his/her own practice. (S)he examines her tools and
methods from different lenses or perspectives. To be able to challenge his/her own
assumptions and beliefs is a true mark of the teacher as a scholar.

Good teachers learn from other good teachers.


In my speech, I will not forget to look back at my own good teachers with much gratitude
for teaching me and for setting standards I could emulate from. Its their passion and
dedication that created that spark in me to embark on the teaching profession.

Educational reforms should be at its rightful place in society at the center of decisionmaking.

Perhaps I should also emphasize that great teachers alone in their individual works of
teaching wonders are not enough to overhaul our educational systems for the needed
reforms. Top-down and bottoms-up, educators and policy makers should further strive to
create effective venues to investigate and address the real needs of school
communities. We can always reward good teachers for their work, but we also need to
work to effectively train the kind of teachers that we want.

Education should work to be a transformative agent of peace and change.


As an international educator, it has well ingrained in me to respect multiple perspectives.
And it is in schools, through our education systems, where we could come together in
forging common causes albeit from various cultures and orientations. Education for
peace is something that goes way above the brain-level knowledge most schools
curricula simply operate on. Acknowledging the transformative influences of education in
society, we can positively use it not to advance political interests, but to promote global
and cultural understanding.

4. My Creative Personal Representation as a Teacher


For this final requirement, I opted to create an interactive image map that will showcase
my pedagogical beliefs and orientations. The image map consists of statements I
believe
in and sample learning artifacts created by my students.
Here is the link to my creative representation as a teacher:
http://edu501suny.weebly.com/
(p.s. I forgot to include in one of my reflections the link to the Maker Spaces guidebook I
created which somehow follows the concept of enrichment clusters. Here is the link:
http://edu501suny.weebly.com/maker-spaces.html )
Screenshot of my interactive image for my creative representation as a teacher.