ERIC Number: EJ1010488
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Mar
Reflecting on Reflective Practice: (Re)Visiting Dewey and Schon
Farrell, Thomas S. C.
TESOL Journal, v3 n1 p7-16 Mar 2012
Since the author began work in reflective practice, at first informally in the late 1970s and then more formally in the mid-1980s, he has always looked at reflective practice as a compass of sorts to guide teachers when they may be seeking direction as to what they are doing in their classrooms. The metaphor of reflection as a compass enables teachers to stop, look, and discover where they are at that moment and then decide where they want to go (professionally) in the future. the author realized early in his second language teaching career in Korea that he was always interested in, and even worried about, the impact his classes were having (or not having) on students' learning. For example, he recalls wondering in the middle of one particular class if the group work he was making them do was actually useful for them or just easy for him to monitor and easier than teaching particular grammar items. He was familiar with the suggestions that it is better not to teach grammar overtly but to provide opportunities for students to use the language in class. He also remembered reading that it is best not to correct each mistake because it threatens the students' motivation to speak, so he let them practice speaking and only went over common errors at the end of each lesson. He thought at the time that it was fine for a teacher because it was easier to set up the groups and let them at it (speak)--his interpretation of the so-called communicative language teaching approach. But as time went by, at the end of the 1970s and into the early 1980s, he decided to try to figure it out himself by thinking about what he was doing in a more systematic manner. Of course, it was not called reflective practice in 1979, and he had not heard of anyone else doing this type of thinking about teaching, and he was in Korea at a time of no Internet or very much communication with the outside world. Nevertheless, he started in earnest looking at his own practice and has not stopped since. He has now come to a position again in his own work where he feels the need to step back and reflect on where he has been, where he is now, and where he wants to go with reflective practice and to redefine what it really means to him. This essay outlines some of his thoughts in reflective practice.
Descriptors: Educational Practices, Reflection, Reflective Teaching, Essays, Teaching Experience, Teaching Methods, Transformative Learning, Intellectual History, Change Agents, Instructional Innovation, Instructional Effectiveness, Evaluative Thinking
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A