A guide for teachers to help them critical reflect on their work
Critical Reflections: A guide for teachers. Mr. Errol Greiner This outline is based on my interpretations of the Productive Pedagogies theoretical framework and is used by the Social Science staff at Aldridge SHS to critically reflect on our work. The questions are divided into 3 sections 1. Intellectual Quality 2. Supportive Classroom Environment and Connectedness 3. Assessment and Technology Prior to teachers completing the survey it is essential that staff discuss the terms used in the statements and the purpose of the survey. The following notes were produced to help clarify the survey and promote discussion. Intellectual Quality Higher - Order Thinking Deep Knowledge Deep Understanding Substantive conversation Knowledge as problematic Higher-Order Thinking This involves the processing of information. Students change information from one form into another. Stimulus material in the form of facts, graphs, cartoons and documents etc are interpreted and used by students to produce something different and more complex to the original stimulus material. Students could be asked to use / process the information to: explain the meaning of stimulus material in their own words, make generalisations, form conclusions or hypothesis, rewrite the material form a different perspective etc. Through the manipulation of information and ideas students will gain understanding and discover new meanings. These outcomes will not always be predictable and should allow students to become the producers of knowledge. For example, some students may reach completely new and original conclusions about problems while other students reach more predictable conclusions similar to other students in the past. The teacher provides the opportunities for higher –order thinking to take place by : setting tasks and providing the stimulus. Higher-order thinking does not occur when students passively receive information and then recite or reproduce it on demand. Knowledge is conveyed to students in routine and predictable ways like reading, lecturing, worksheets to fill in the spaces. Deep Knowledge Knowledge is deep when almost all of the lesson is focused on the central ideas of a significant topic. Information covered in the lessons is complex and connected to important and central concepts. The problematic nature of the information being studied will be acknowledged and discussed. Knowledge is not deep when the teacher covers a wide variety of topics that are largely unconnected to any central theme or issue. Deep Understanding Understanding is deep when students grasp the relatively complex relationships between the central concepts of a topic or discipline. Students understand the topic in a relatively systematic, integrated or holistic way. Similar to deep knowledge, there is a focus on a significant concept or topic, there is discussion on the problematic nature of information and similar to higher–order thinking, students will be involved in problem solving. As a result of deep understanding, students will produce new knowledge by discovered relationships, solving problems, constructing explanations and drawing conclusions. Students can demonstrate deep understanding by explaining how they solved complex problems, support their arguments with evidence, critically comment on sources. Deep understanding is more likely to occur when extended dialogue occurs between the students and the teacher. Substantive Conversation There is considerable interaction among students and between teacher and students about the ideas of a substantive topic. These discussions have the following features: Intellectual Substance: The conversations encourage critical reasoning that can be demonstrated by - raising questions, making distinctions, forming generalisations, discussing disagreements. Dialogue: The conversations involve sharing ideas that are not completely controlled by one party. Participants address their comments to each other as ideas and issues arise. Logical Extension and Synthesis: The dialogue builds on participants’ ideas to promote improved collective understanding of a theme or topic. A Sustained Exchange: The dialogue consists of a sustained and topically related series of linked exchanges. Sustained conversations do not occur when the teacher lectures students on a topic and does not deviate very much from the planned delivery of information. The Problematic nature of Knowledge Knowledge is seen as socially constructed and subjected to political, social and cultural influences. Knowledge is not viewed as a fixed body of truth to be accepted without question. All knowledge is seen as problematic. Students will accept that others can form divergent and conflicting views from studying the same information. Supportive Classroom Environment Academic Engagement Students demonstrate academic engagement when they are attentive and do their assigned work. They show enthusiasm for their work by raising questions, contributing to group activities and helping peers. Students are deeply involved in pursuing the substance of the lesson. Explicit quality performance criteria Explicit quality performance criteria are used frequently. Students are given detailed and specific statements about what they are to do and what they are expected to achieve. Outcomes and criteria are clearly stated and discussed with students in relation to major tasks. During lessons the expectations of the quality of student work is reinforced. Self-regulation Students largely monitor their own behaviour and that of their peers. Teacher rarely has to use explicit statements to control behaviour. Connectedness Connectedness to the world Students study or work on topics, problems or issues that teachers and students see as connected to their personal experiences or real world problems. Students recognise the connectedness between classroom knowledge and situations outside of the classroom. The meaning and significance of the work is strong enough to lead students to become involved in the issues outside of the classroom. Problem Based Students are presented with specific practical, real or hypothetical problems to solve. There are no single correct solutions and students are required to work on these problems beyond a single lesson.