Module 1 fulfilled every expectation that I had of this course. I strongly believed from the outset that the first module will bring more realizations to me as a teacher. If there is one thing that I would like to highlight – my key takeaway at that – it is the fact that I forgot my colleagues‘ roles in improving my manner of teaching.
I have always known that self-reflection is a huge part of teaching. Even before I learned about eJournals here in UPOU, I was already keeping a journal to record my feelings (both personal and professional).
These days, I am also asking the same thing from my students. Each member of my class has a tangible journal which they bring with them during the class and also record on when they get home.
I take teaching seriously. Yet I have long overcome the I-am-the-teacher-so-I-own-the-stage kind of thinking. I also now give much importance to what my students have to say with the way that I teach them.
Of course, we all know the role that theoretical literature plays. What I failed to realize was the role that my colleagues’ experiences could contribute. This was pushed all the way back – like way, way back – to the back of my head (okay that’s a lot of pushing to the back there but you do get the picture).
Being observed by a fellow educator is not one of the moments that I look forward to when it comes to teaching. I guess this is the same with most of us. Yet being subjected to this process or event, or even just taking the time to discuss with a colleague about teaching has a lot of benefits to offer.
Sure, it may feel awkward to teach while that colleague is taking down notes, but this is for my betterment and I should steel myself to go through it. As a teacher, I know that I can still improve if I take this necessary experience.
All in all, I am glad to have learned about critical reflection. It’s not just reflection anymore, I know that there is a lot of thinking and time involved, after all, it is a process. As I improve in terms of critical thinking, I also encourage my students to do the same. We can all become adventurers when it comes to learning.
Critical reflection will also provide innovative solutions to teaching dilemmas, individual and community issues.
I know, though, that all these are mere ideologies if not acted upon so I need to immerse myself in knowledge; be open to challenges even those brought about by my students; and be ready to listen to any member of the class and to respect the personal experiences of each learner and colleague.
As an improved teacher, I also need to challenge any existing belief, practice and structure. I will also encourage my students to do the same and to steer clear of offering how-to approaches to them.
My classroom is also going to be a classroom of inquiry, where students know how to plan, process and work collaboratively (if needs be). My students will also learn how to apply principles, learned inside the class, in the real world.
These are a lot of wishes and self-promises, I know. But practice, as they say, makes perfect so I will begin practicing these challenging ideals.