Having been (sort of ) admonished on my last but one post for being over cynical (really? me?), I am going to do my utmost to play this one straight. As part of my course’s last session, they looked at several different models of reflection and chose one for me to use.
OK, so let me get the cynical bit out of the way first: I struggle with models. Anything which can be summarised with a neat bit of MS Office SmartArt has a tendency to make me sneer. It’s a bit of a Pavlovian reaction. Cheesy graphic = cynical sneer. Which does put me at a disadvantage because it means I can close down on some good ideas.
But to be fair, the model of reflection chosen for me is a nice one, and one which I’ve never actively gone out to use, so the act of reflecting should be interesting in and of itself.
The Model – Brookfield’s Four Lenses
Other people have described this more fully and better than me so I will keep it brief. I plan to look at the lesson from four perspectives:
My understanding of these is roughly as follows then:
autobiographical – what I would think of as the typical reflection. Look at the lesson, think about what happened, identify why things happened the way they did based on your own presumptions and thoughts.
The second lens is also pretty straightforward. I think I might struggle because of the language level of the learners, but I can look at what they achieved in that lesson, and get some ideas about what they felt about the lesson.
The peer evaluation: Here, by the way, is an interesting thought I cam across while researching this: on an interesting presentation on Brookfield and other models of reflection on Slideshare http://www.slideshare.net/James.Atherton/criticial-evaluation there is a slide which draws from the work of Schon and of Argyre who both (apparently) distinguish between espoused theories – i.e. what people say they are doing – and theories-in-use – i.e. what people are actually doing. The idea being that use of a peer evaluation would also enable one to distinguish between what happened and how I perceived it. So the peer lens enables that to happen. I think I may have to ask a certain someone to come observe me. She knows who she is…
The final one is for me the most challenging, although links back to the previous point, and in many ways is also linked to the autobiographical lens as well. I need to link the lesson and the events in the lesson to the wider academic / research world. This should be interesting although hard.
I rummaged around and found a couple of points of interest: a blog post by Louise Mycroft from Northern College, who can be found on twitter under the name @teachnorthern and her blog, specifically this one: http://teachnorthern.wordpress.com/2012/04/05/theorists-are-our-friends/ where she describes “as a rookie teacher educator, falling hungrily upon Brookfield”. As a fairly rookie teacher trainer myself, I find myself not falling hungrily but definitely leaning in that bent. There is definitely a “siloist” side to my personality and I don’t engage with peer observation with as much gusto as I should (it’s a bit like starting jogging, or giving up chocolate: I know I should, but, well, I’ll start it tomorrow… excuses excuses…) but it does remind me that it would be so very useful to be better at engagiong with these models.
So the plan then, is to teach the class – I’ll live a little and see how we get on with only a light touch plan, and then reflect on the whole process using the four lenses. Come back here Friday (probably)…
I found a really good summary of Brookfield online here:
With some good ideas in the main website for that uni department: http://sydney.edu.au/arts/teaching_learning/academic_support/four_lenses_index.shtml (might be useful as well for anyone teaching HE in an FE environment, or supporting art teachers?)
A good summary here as well of different models: http://www.brainboxx.co.uk/a3_aspects/pages/ReflectionModels.htm
And if I feel really lazy, or run out of ideas, there’s a whole web form from the University of Dublin here: http://www.ucdoer.ie/index.php/Using_Brookfield%E2%80%99s_Four_Lenses_to_Improve_Your_Own_Teaching
Incidentally, I should add that this last link is only about one lesson, rather than a lot of them. So not very useful for assignment 7….