Becoming A Reflective Practitioner
The world of education is ever changing, each day new technologies and opportunities become available to both educators and students and as a teacher candidate I believe it is of the upmost importance that we ensure we are aware of and efficiently able to incorporate these changes and technologies into our classroom. The Standards of Practice for the Teaching Profession provide teachers with a framework of principles that describe the knowledge, skills and values bestowed in Ontario’s teaching profession. A reflective practitioner can be described as an individual who devotes critical attention to the action of self-reflection and insight. For educators, there are many important reasons for them to become reflective practitioners, but in my opinion the most important reason would be so they can ensure that they can response effectively to the unavoidable issues and events that are a part of everyday classroom life. The aim of reflective practice is to think critically about oneself, one’s assumptions, and one’s teaching choices and actions (Cole and Knowles, 2000). I feel that if teachers actively reflected not only on their own practices but also on the effects of their actions on the classroom as well as aiming to uphold the Standards of Practice, teachers would become more effective educators. Self-efficacy can aid educators in improving their thoughts about themselves as well as students. As a teacher candidate, I have been consumed with negative thoughts about teaching math since I considered the thought of applying to teachers college. I have had negative experience with mathematics in the elementary, secondary as well as post-secondary level and I never felt comfortable being placed in a position where I would become responsible for the influence of mathematics on another individual. After a few math courses, and speaking with my math instructor I began to realize that I did not have to take my negative thoughts and feelings about math and bring those into the classroom. Instead, I will choose to provide students with a stimulating and engaging math environment free from ridigity and repetition, where they develop their own personal feelings and positive experience with mathematics. The values bestowed in the Standards of Practice articulate goals and aspirations for educators and these became clear to me. By vowing to myself that I would abide by the standards and reflect on how I could use them to change my attitude toward mathematics, it became clear that I could provide engaging mathematic learning experiences. As a teacher candidate I am eager to gain experience and eventually have my own classroom. In that classroom I aim to create a risk-free, bias, free and equal opportunity classroom for all individuals. I also understand that I need to be involved in ongoing professional learning in order to sustain my professional knowledge. Self-reflection on student development, curriculum, ethics and educational research will all aid in creating a positive, engaging learning environment for my students. As a teacher candidate, I am constantly keeping note of different learning and teaching strategies and incorporating them into my observation teaching days. When I began visiting my internship school, I created a list of the experiences that negatively influenced my view on math. I vowed to myself, that I would never expose my students to negative feedback or lesson which involved little room for questioning or further understanding. I believe that teaching student skills for problem solving, rather than rules will be more transferable to their everyday lives. As a reflective practitioner, I will ascertain methods to teach students skills to solve problems based on curriculum content. After I created my list of events that depressed my math view, I began to keep a journal of math class at Brock as well as the math lessons being taught at my internship school. I began to connect what I was being taught, to what the students were being taught and finding further ways to ensure the students were being given opportunities to understand in their own ways. I also began to record where I observed the students were having difficulties and find alternative ways of explaining those lessons to the students. I intend to review my journal, monthly and yearly and seek out patterns and themes and use these to aid my further lesson plans and classroom goals in the future. In conclusion, I believe that The Standards of Practice for the Teaching Profession will guide teachers in the appropriate direction, while actively participating in self-reflection will ensure teachers are meeting the goals they strive to achieve. Teaching is such a multifaceted profession where individuals must be prepared to constantly adapt their views and skills. If a teacher is able to understand where they need to improve in order to meet the needs of their students and make those improvements, that teacher will be one of the best educators that student will encounter. A teacher who engages in self-reflection and self-change can influence their students to do the same which will give those students more insight than any textbook, article or worksheet could ever accomplish.