***Guest Post Alert***
I am pleased as punch to announce that once again observingtheclass is hosting a wonderful teacher and individual to lead us in the next step on our reflective journey. This time Ms. Zhenya Polosatova will be leading us.
Meeting Zhenya and being introduced to her fantastic (and new!) blog has been a wonderful addition to my 2014, I hope this introduction will add a little to your year as well.
While Zhenya may be new to blogging she is an experienced reflective practice practitioner. She has gained that experience through her teaching in her native Ukraine and teacher training in many places around the world.
Join us as Zhenya leads our #RPPLN into the next stage of our Reflective Practice Challenge.
Reflective Practice Challenge 5: Generalization
In the previous RP challenges our RPPLN started to apply the ELC for our own experiences: started to Describe first [description challenge] and then Analyze though various lenses [analysis challenge]. It is now time to move to the next stage of the ELC, and that is to Generalize.
Note: sometimes instead of Analysis and Generalization stages you may hear another term, Interpretation. We are separating the two parts, and my post below is aiming at explaining why do to so (and hopefully to motivate the readers to do the same)
In the Analysis stage we were looking at the experience we had had (and described) and thinking how it was (or was not) helpful, useful, significant, for everyone involved in that interaction. We were ‘staying in the experience’ and were using different reflective lenses to understand it better.
For the Generalizations stage, there will focus more on our learning, or conclusions from that experience, or beliefs one we could notice or discover based on the preceding stages of the Cycle (description + analysis).
There are some questions that may help you see that learning (or generalizations)
What did you learn about yourself (as a human-being, as a teacher, as a learner, etc.)?
What did you learn about others?
What did you learn about communications?
What did you learn about class atmosphere?
What did you learn about … [add what else seems important for you]?
As you see, the questions above are moving you from staying in one specific interaction into thinking in more general terms, stating what you think is true for more than one group of learners (if you are reflecting on a lesson you taught) or true about you and your feelings in more than one situation, for example (if you are reflecting on how you interacted). By stating our generalizations, or beliefs, we are becoming aware of our personal values, things that matter, and therefore learning to form, shape, define our teaching style (or communication style)
You could add ‘in general’ to each question above. It helps some teachers, but it might also sound ‘too general’ for others. I usually suggest that you use the word ‘theory’, or ‘hypothesis’ as of today, meaning that this idea seems to be true now, and definitely needs more data, or evidence in the future.
Below you can see a couple of examples of how Analysis and Generalizations differ. This is only done to serve the purpose of this post, so you are not looking at the description or action plan.
analysis: Ss might have been too used to the T style of giving instructions It was probably harder to only listen to what T was saying The lesson was after lunch, which might have made some Ss tired/bored The task might have been too easy (which might have made some Ss bored) T might have underestimated the Ss language level, or pace possible generalizations based on the analysis above: It’s important to vary the style of setting tasks, especially in a lesson after lunch (to surprise/wake up Ss) Combining visual and audio channels of giving a task helps to draw Ss attention Designing a task where there is room for some challenge for stronger Ss help to engage them It’s helpful to give students time and space for independent learning, so writing instructions down on a worksheet might help
Skipping generalizations stage means being ‘locked’ in what we already did and might do again, and never seeing a ‘bigger picture’, or the reason for acting this or that way. Based on our beliefs, or generalizations, it will be easier to come up with a plan of actions (or set an action point for the next stage of the ELC) so that our actions reflected the beliefs we have.
Directions for RP Challenge 5: look back at the description and analysis you provided and formulate generalizations about learning, teaching, communication, (personal and professional) awareness, etc. Are you surprised to see the generalizations you wrote? Have you had them for a long time or are they the result of that particular experience you had?
Looking forward to reading what you come up with! (and will be sharing mine soon)