What is
reflective teaching? Dewey (1933) believed reflective thinking is thought, that
requires turning an idea over in the mind and giving it serious consideration.
Reflection commences when one inquiries into his or her experience and relevant
knowledge to find meaning in his or her beliefs. It has the potential to enable
teachers to direct their activities with foresight and to plan according to
ends-in-view (Dewey, 1933). To simplify this further it is the method of making
informed and rational decisions (Taggart & Wilson, 1998), while recalling
one’s own experiences, principles, and perceptions (Campbell-Jones &
Campbell-Jones, 2002). The belief that
teachers should be more reflective and in control of their professional
development has been accentuated by educators for years (Osterman and Kottkamp,
1993). Schwartz and
Schon (1987), suggest that to learn efficiently, learning from one’s practice
is critical and can help in developing and sustaining competence across a
practice era. Nowadays, this concept has been acknowledged
as a universal pedagogical principle in the teacher-education community
including physical education (Valli, 1993). Advocates from
different academic alignments claim teachers should reflect primarily on the aspects
of teaching and schooling associated to their specific position to get the full
value from their teachings (Calderhead. 1989: Richardson. 1990; Valli. 1993). To support reflection among teachers,
various methods such as reflective journals (Colton & Sparks-Langer, 1993),
reflective interviews (Trumball & Slack, 1991), peer observation
conferences (Zeichner & Liston, 1985), and group discussions (Rudney &
Guillaume, 1990) have been used, as well as progressive technologies such as
digital videos, blogs, and electronic portfolios (Cunningham & Benedetto,
2006). Using these means, teachers can reflect on their own lives and
experiences as important sources of knowledge, which they can apply in their
own classrooms (Connelly & Clandinin, 1990).

Most models
of reflection contain critical reflection on experience and practice, which
would allow for the identification of learning essentials. As one’s specialized
identity is established, there are aspects of learning that involve the understanding
of one’s personal opinions, attitudes and values, in the context of those of
the professional culture; reflection offers an obvious approach to their
integration (Epstein 1999). Establishing unified knowledge bases requires an
active approach to learning that leads to understanding and linking new to
existing knowledge. Manen (1977) outlines three levels of reflection:
technical, deliberative, and critical rationality. Technical rationality accentuates
achieving the curriculum objectives with no thought of any problems that the
classroom, school, or social contexts may show (Zeichner & Liston, 1987).
Deliberative rationality highlights clarifying the values of the context. At
the uppermost level, critical rationality, social conditions, moral, and
ethical values are taken into consideration. Critical rationality includes “a
constant critique of domination, of institutions, and of repressive forms of
authority” (Van Manen, 1977). Educational decisions are made based on justice,
equality, and freedom. According to Gelter (2003), reflection is not only a
learning activity, but more importantly an ethical tool that utilises social
and personal values. Taking
all these abilities may underlie the development of a professional who is
self-aware, and therefore able to participate in self-monitoring and
self-regulation (Bandura 1989).

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Along with the models mentioned above, Schon (1983) also introduced
the ideas of reflection-in-action and reflection on-action.
Reflection-in-action states that the process of interpreting, analysing, and
providing explanations to multifaceted and situational problems through an
action, “the period in which we remain in the same situation” (Schon,
1983). Reflection-on-action takes place when the educator has left the arena of
endeavour and mentally reconstructs that arena to analyse actions and events.
Schon (1987) summarized his “reflective practitioner” theory as
follows:

Design professionals such as architects and urban designers,
along with experts of such professions as law, management, teaching, and
engineering, deal often with uncertainty, uniqueness, and conflict. The non-routine
situations of practice are at least partially unknown and must in some way be
made coherent. Skilful practitioners learn to conduct and frame experiments in
which they enforce a kind of consistency on chaotic situations and thereby determine
consequences and implications of their selected frames. From time to time,
their-efforts to give order to a situation incite unexpected consequences-“back
talk” that gives the situation a new meaning. They pay attention and
reframe the problem. It is this collaborative of problem framing, on-the-spot
experiment, detection of consequences and implications, back talk and response
to back talk, that establishes a reflective discussion with the resources of a
situation-the design like artistry of professional practice.

My
Reflection

I will use
the Gibb’s reflection model to reflect on my own experience of teaching adapted
physical education. Using this model, it will hopefully help highlight the
areas in which I excelled or any areas that may have been weak in my teachings.
As you can see from the graph below it goes through a process which includes, a
description of the events that took place in the lesson, how I felt when
conducting the lesson, what I thought was good or bad during the lesson, what
sense I can make of what happened in the lesson, what could I have done to make
the lesson better and finally from the model I should be able to devise an
action plan to help cope with a similar situation in the future should the same
situation arise again. However most of the time the same situation never occurs
twice but it can be something that can be adapted to a very similar situation
should one occur.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What
Happened?

During the
lesson, we had the opportunity to work with kids with disabilities. The kids
had a range of disabilities but all were fully able to complete every aspect of
the class. The aim of the lesson was to challenge them both mentally and
physically like any other physical education class, with the emphasis being on
having fun throughout the class. We conducted a warm-up, main body full of
various activities and a small cool-down.

Feelings

I felt the session was an eye opener
in terms that I had limited experience teaching kids with disabilities and this
gave me a great opportunity to try something different that I can use to my
benefit for future lessons. I felt that the games I had to explain and
demonstrate, I did so very well. All the kids heard and I made sure they
understood before letting them try the games themselves. I also feel that I was
able to adapt the games a little due to various things we hadn’t expected to
happen.

Evaluation

Both the parachute and the stations
games went really well. With the parachute game it was a case of keeping the
kids under control but still allowing them to have that excitement of playing
with the parachute. Leading the kids over to the parachute by getting all the
kids to hold hands with meant the kids didn’t touch the parachute and it gave
us a chance to explain what they had to do. And a similar technique was used to
guide them to the next game which I will come to later. With the stations the
variety meant the kids didn’t get bored easily and I feel they were all both
challenging but not to the degree that nobody couldn’t complete the games. The
only game that really didn’t perform as well as we had hoped was the red,
yellow and blue game. As said above we used the idea of linking hands again to
bring them over to the area of the game when, we maybe should have shown the
kids where the colours were before guiding them into the grid. They didn’t
really know what colour was where at the beginning but eventually after a few
runs they grasped the idea. A small issue but maybe one that could have been
avoided but it was noted for next time.

Analysis

I feel that although things didn’t go
the way we had practiced and imagined it, it still went very well. We tried to
prepare ourselves as much as we could but on the day you don’t know how the
kids will react. We tried to engage the children both mentally and physically
during our session which I think we did very well, thanks to some of the games
we had made up. Did they enjoy it? Well asking them they all said they enjoyed
it and some didn’t want to go back to school and would have preferred to play
on. But then again that could have just been they didn’t want to go back to
school. But as a whole, the session went really well and was thoroughly
enjoyable.

 

 

Conclusion

In conclusion as a whole I feel that
using games with structure can be a big help in engaging all the kids as
everyone gets the chance to have a go. But then it is also a good idea to have
some what I all “Controlled Madness”, as it was during these type of activities
that the kids seemed to have the most fun. Although it does get them very hyped
up but not necessarily a bad thing. Similar to most physical education classes
it is hard to engage all students but that is where I as the teacher must adapt
and change activities to suit everyone participating and this is something I
learned during this class.

 

Action Plan

Try a class full of dancing if it were
possible as they really enjoyed the songs and most of the kids already knew the
movement’s from hearing them previously. I also would explain the red, yellow
and blue game better and just make sure that all kids are aware of their area
and where each colour is. Definitely have the games laid out if possible as it
stops the kids waiting around between activities, preventing them from getting
bored, which I felt was something that happened during the last activity where
the music wasn’t working for a bit. Check all equipment that is being used to
make sure it’s all working correctly and that it’s able to do what you need it
to do.

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