Reflective Practice Page
As you know, I am a big believer in Teacher Reflection, Reflective Practices, Experiential Learning (Cycle) and day-by-day growth. Rigorous teaching reflections happen on the training courses teachers take, and then (and if lucky!) in the professional context they are working in (schools, language centers, etc.) Sometimes, however, there are not so many opportunities for further growth. Sometimes you might even feel a bit lonely in the attempts to learn something new and reflect on your students’ learning, successes, challenges and questions. This becomes even more true in locations where not so much PD (professional development) is offered: conferences, workshops, training sessions, etc. I am making a careful guess that our city [Dnipro, Ukraine] is one of such places. Please correct me if I am wrong.
My international friends and colleagues created a solution for this challenge, and called it ‘Reflective Practice Groups‘. In simple words, these are meetings where teachers have tea or coffee and talk about their students, teaching, questions, ideas, etc. The word ‘reflection’ itself has become a ‘buzz word’ in ELT world lately, but fortunately, our SIT TESOL Cert background and beliefs shaped a great way to reflect systematically and rigorously using a clear model. Yes, talking about the Experiential Learning Cycle, of course 🙂
Such meetings happen once a month, on a Saturday or Sunday, for example, and take about 2 hours. They are not ‘input’ sessions where you get new activities and ideas (there is a lot of this online), but these are ‘thinking’ sessions where the main learning comes from peers and colleagues. My colleagues in South Korea, Tokyo, Japan and San Francisco, USA have started such groups already. I had been thinking about one in Dnipro.
My questions were: do you think this idea has a future in Ukraine? What are possible reservations for starting one in our city? Would you personally like to attend such meetings?
RP Dnipro Group has been on the map since October 2016. We had seven meetings in 2016-17 academic year, and continued in September 2017 talking about A New School Year.
The meeting in October was called ‘One Colleague’, and the November meeting was called ‘One Book. The last session of 2017, in December, was about Language Learning and/or Acquiring.
Advice: if you decide to join us, please read about reflection and the format we use: ELC or the Art of Experiential Learning (here). Please contact me with questions, or ask to join our Facebook Group.
Also, feel free to read about our meetings in the posts on this blog, for example, this one about our December 2016 meeting or this one inspired by the meeting in January 2017, or this one describing the final meeting of a school year 2016/17, or this post about the topics for the coming year. (2017/18)
Links to what I have written or found about the Experiential Learning Cycle as a Reflection Tool and its application in Teacher Training, Teacher Development and Teacher Education.
On other resources:
- Description as a Reflection Stage (on ptec)
- Generalization as a Reflection Stage (on John Pfordresher’s blog)
- Reflective Practice as a Way of Life (on iTDI)
Also, this is a post by my friend and colleague who inspired me most: Josette LeBlanc. Her RP Group is in Daegu, South Korea (there are also groups in Seoul and Gwangju). Josette summarizes the idea nicely and more fully in her post on iTDI