A POWERFUL STEP TO BE TAKEN IN 2018 TO ENHANCE THE QUALITY OF TEACHING
Teachers always face complexities of classroom environment which Doyle (1986, in Calderhead, 1987: 2) terms as “multidimensionality, simultaneity, immediacy, unpredictability, publicness and history”. In classroom teaching, teachers must always give appropriate responses immediately or intuitively (Calderhead, 1987). Even though teachers often do not have the luxury of time to ponder on their teaching dilemma, decisions must still be made and teaching must go on.
Teaching mixed-ability learners who come from diverse backgrounds give great challenges to English teachers. Moreover, they have to consider other aspects such as curriculum requirements, teaching materials, classroom management, parents’ expectations and the list goes on. In short, teaching English is a highly demanding task and whether the teachers like it or not, they have to do it and do it well; teach with quality. However, how can English teachers enhance the quality of their teaching?
The answer to the question posed above, definitely varies from individual to individual. I would like to touch on being a reflective practitioner as a brilliant option to improve the quality of one’s teaching. Perhaps, to some, engaging in a critical reflection may sound something common. Unquestionably, reflective practice in teaching is not new as it has been around for more than 50 decades. Although to some it could be a cliché, I have been embracing the practice of reflecting on teaching all my teaching life. Being reflective is a POWERFUL step that teachers can use to enhance the quality of their teaching; their teaching styles and techniques (Sanapao, 2016).
No doubt, all of us have our weaknesses in term of teaching. We really need to examine how we teach English, how we develop our learners’ ability to write, how we enrich their vocabulary, how effective we are in reducing language errors and how we develop their confidence to communicate in English.
Loughran (1996:3) writes that “reflection is an important human activity in which people recapture their experience, think about it, mull it over and evaluate it. It is this working with the experience that is important to learning”. Pugach and Johnson (1990) explain that through reflection, there is a possibility for teachers to develop new patterns of thinking in approaching the complex teaching environment. This development through reflection should enable teachers to try out new ways of dealing with the problems in their classrooms.
Is being a reflective practitioner difficult? Is it complex? Personally, the answer is no! Sanabao (2016) explains that when teachers encounter challenges in their teaching, hence, they adapt and think of a better way to make the teaching-learning better or they pause and examine their practices to give way for the better understanding and learning of the students, they are practicing reflective teaching.
In short, I believe we should welcome 2018 as it is a new beginning for all of us. Let us become true reflective practitioners. In the future postings, I shall share more inputs on being a reflective practitioner based on theoretical perspectives as well as my personal experiences. Personally, I concur with Calderhead and Gates (1993:1) who view that reflection as a significant element in teachers’ professional growth. They assume that reflection is “an intrinsically good and desirable aspect of teaching and teacher education” and when teachers become more reflective, they will somehow become better teachers. Let’s become better and better teachers! Yes, we can!! Everything you need is already inside you. You have your matches…. or perhaps, lighters. Light your fire of reflection!!
Calderhead, J. (Ed) (1987). Exploring Teachers’ Thinking. London: Cassell
Calderhead, J. and Gates, P. (Eds) (1993). Conceptualising Reflection in
Teacher Development. London: The Falmer Press
Loughran, J.J. (1996). Developing Reflective Practice: Learning about
Teaching and Learning through Modelling. London: The Falmer Press
Pugach, M.C. and Johnson, L.J. (1990). Developing Reflective Practice
through Structured Dialogue. In Clift, R.T. et al., (Eds) Encouraging
Reflective Practice in Education. New York: Teachers College Press
Sanabao, J.P. (2016) The Reflective Teaching Practices and Teaching Performance
of Public Secondary English Teachers. International Journal of Social Science
and Humanities, Vol. 4, Issue 1, 2016. www.researchpublish.