Critical Self-reflection and Reflective Practice
The School of Education is committed to fostering critical self-reflection and reflective practice. We view the work of educators as a recursive activity that involves reflection on both personal knowledge and professional practice. As a faculty we recognize the importance of reflecting critically on our own educational endeavors and understanding the complicated nature of educational experience. We thus invite our teacher candidates and other school personnel to reflect on their own life histories and on the pedagogical and disciplinary knowledge that gives content, meaning and intention to their practice.
We believe autobiographical work (Eisner, 1985, 1991; Connelly and Clandinin, 1987; Goodson & Cole, 1993; Goodson & Walker, 1991;Grumet, 1990; Kinchloe, 1991; Miller, 1990; Noddings, 1986, 1992; Pinar, 1994) helps educators explore their assumptions about educational practices and the students with whom they work, as well as the diverse communities that influence that work. Such critical self-reflection enables professionals to understand their own role in jointly shaping what occurs in classrooms and schools (Britzman, 1998; Ellsworth, 1997; Freire and Faundez, 1993; Greene, 1978; Pinar, 1994; Schon, 1983), and helps practitioners remain attuned to their students' and their own emotional and intellectual needs (Appel, 1996; Palmer,1998; Silin, 1995). Critical self-reflection requires that our educators not only become familiar with and experience various approaches to self-reflection but also learn the value, skills and art of creating classroom and school cultures that value mutual respect, imaginative identification and mindfulness of oneself and others (Banks, 1981; Palmer, 1998; Portuges, 1985).
We believe a professional also must reflect upon his or her own practice, rethinking it in terms of its intentions and its outcomes, as well as the actual felt experience of that practice (Eisner, 1991; Jackson, 1986; Henderson,1992; O'Reilley, 1998; Shulman, 1987). Such reflective practice requires that our educators can make connections between the knowledge, research, scholarship and methods constitutive of their particular discipline and their own practice (Eisner,1985; Shulman,1987; Willis and Shubert, 1991). Furthermore, we encourage our educators to reflect on the historical, political, aesthetic and philosophical dimensions of their pedagogical and disciplinary knowledge, and we help them cultivate and sustain an appetite for and understanding of the research and scholarship relevant to their practice (Cuban, 1993; Henderson, 1992). Such work requires that our educators learn to research their own educational practice by articulating compelling questions about their practice, their students, the communities where they work and their subject area, and by knowledgably and sensitively investigating these questions.
As a School of Education, we work to develop a culture of critical self-reflection and reflective practice. Through surveys, focus groups and meetings at various administrative levels, the faculty in the School of Education elicit feedback from current and former students and faculty and reflect on that information to improve our own practices and programs. Faculty at the undergraduate and graduate levels offer their teacher candidates and other school personnel multiple methods for engaging in self-reflective practices and reflective practice. Understanding that the journey to knowing oneself and one's discipline is intimately connected to knowing, educating and helping others, the School of Education ensures that its graduates have engaged in critical self-reflection and know how to reflect critically on their own practices.
- Our teacher candidates and other school personnel are prepared to integrate into their practice various methods of self-reflection to gain insight into themselves and their impact on student learning and well-being.
- Our teacher candidates and other school personnel are prepared to critically reflect on their own assumptions about their practices, the students with whom they work, the communities in which they work and their own development as professionals.
- Our teacher candidates and other school personnel are prepared to use classroom observation, self-reflection and research as sources for evaluating outcomes of their practices as a basis for experimenting with, reflecting on and revising practice.
- Our teacher candidates and other school personnel are prepared to develop classroom communities where trust, mutual respect, mindfulness and critical self-reflection are valued.
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Britzman, D. (1998). Lost Objects, Contested Objects: Toward a Psychoanalytic Inquiry of Learning. Albany, N.Y.: SUNY Press.
Connelly, M.and J. Clandinin (1987). "Teachers' Personal Practical Knowledge: What Counts as 'Personal' Is Studies of the Personal." Journal of Curriculum Studies 19.6: 487–500.
Cuban, L. (1993). How Teachers Taught: Constancy and Change in America's Classrooms 1890–1980. New York: Longman Press.
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Eisner, E. (1991). The Enlightened Eye: Qualitative Inquiry and the Enhancement of Educational Practice. New York: Macmillan.
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Goodson, I. and A. Cole (1993). "Exploring the Teacher's Professional Knowledge." Naming Silenced Lives: Personal Narratives and the Process of Educational Change. Eds. D. McLaughlin and W. Tierny. New York: Routledge. 71–94.
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Henderson, J. (1992). Reflective Teaching: Becoming an Educator. New York: Macmillan.
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Kinchloe, J. and W. Pinar (1991), eds. Curriculum as Social Psychoanalysis: The Significance of Place. Albany, N.Y.: SUNY Press.
Miller, J. (1990). Creating Spaces and Finding Voices: Teachers Collaborating for Empowerment. Albany, N.Y.: SUNY Press.
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Silin, J. (1995). Sex, Death, and the Education of Children: Our Passion for Ignorance in the Age of AIDS. New York: Teachers College Press.
Willis, G. and W. Shubert (1991), eds. Reflections for the Heart of Educational Inquiry: Understanding Curriculum and Teaching through the Arts. Albany, N.Y.: SUNY Press.