The Ideas of Stephen Brookfield

The Ideas of Stephen Brookfield

The Ideas of Stephen Brookfield

The Ideas of Stephen Brookfield Continued...

Extracts from:
Using the Lenses of Critically
Reflective Teaching in the Community
College Classroom
Stephen D. Brookfield

NEW DIRECTIONS FOR COMMUNITY COLLEGES, no. 118, Summer 2002 © Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
(Available thru Academic Search Premier and Wiley Science)


...informed decision making depends on teachers’ having accurate information regarding how and what students are learning... (p33)

...often teachers are profoundly surprised by the diversity of meanings people read into their words and actions or by the spread of abilities and levels of student comprehension revealed...(p34)

... Without an appreciation of how people are experiencing learning, any methodological choices we make risk being ill informed, inappropriate, or harmful. (p34)

Key Points:

  • Knowing what students are learning and how they are experiencing teaching is vital to improving the quality of teaching.


Exercise

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In their study of the social realities of teaching, Lieberman and Miller (1991) note that among teachers “there is a general lack of confidence, a pervasive feeling of vulnerability” …Such feelings are made worse because of the privacy ethic. There is no safe place to air one’s uncertainties and to get the kind of feedback necessary to reduce the anxiety about being a good teacher, or at least an adequate one” (p. 103). (p34)

... One way to counter this isolation is through teacher reflection groups (Hauser, 1994), “talking teaching” groups (Clark, 2001), and conversation circles on pedagogy (Collay, Dunlap, Enloe, and Gagnon, 1998). In these groups teachers use one another as critical mirrors and sounding boards, providing them with images and interpretations of their practice that often take them by surprise. By reviewing experiences dealing with the same crises and dilemmas they face, teachers can check, reframe, and broaden their own theories of practice. Case studies of teacher reflection groups (Berkey and others, 1990; Miller, 1990; Osterman and Kottkamp, 1993) report that talking to colleagues about problems they have in common increases teachers’ chances of stumbling across interpretations that fit what is happening in a particular situation. (p34)

Key Points:

  • Feelings of isolation and vulnerability seem to be endemic to the teaching profession.
  • Structured discussion with colleagues improves insight and helps to solve problems.


Exercise

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Theory can help teachers “name” their practice by illuminating the general elements of what they think are idiosyncratic experiences….(p35)

...studying theory can help teachers combat the sense of impostorship that frequently troubles their existence… (p35)

...The burgeoning literature on how teachers can learn from reading narratives of teaching (Jalongo and Isenberg, 1995; Preskill and Jacobwitz, 2001) shows that this activity can help teachers realize that what they thought were signs of their personal failings as practitioners are sometimes situations that were externally created and over which they have little control. This stops them from falling victim to the belief that they are responsible for everything that happens in their classrooms. (p35)

Key Points:

  • The literature gives insights into why things are as they are.
  • The literature gives insights into what individuals can and can’t do.


Exercise

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