Reflection is thinking back to past meaningful events.
Subconsciously I know that it has a purpose and a goal… well, I never really paid much attention to reflection before. I guess the reason behind that is it’s just so natural to my mind to reflect on past events, words and actions of a person.
One of the main matters of my previous job with a BPO company was to train their agents on Personality Profiling and eventually, master it. Personality types are Feeler, Thinker, Entertainer and Controller, after the training, I found out that my personality is a Thinker. Thinker, as defined by that training material is a person who wants details, who needs to know the step by step procedure of something, who instinctively analyze what is being said in a conversation not only in that exact moment but also moments after the conversation happened.
Knowing this gave me a better understanding why my mind has this natural inclination to think deeply about what I watched, heard, seen and felt. For me, it is the need to always understand the whys of the what.
However considering what was said in the material for The Reflective Teacher, my reflection would just fall under the characteristics of common sense view of reflection. Yes, I deeply want information for understanding but I don’t do anything after that. And all new understandings I have after the reflection may just be considered self-indulgent speculations because they were not practiced, tested, evaluated for any better future use with the expectation of personal development.
Just like what Jenny Moon suggests, “Reflection is a form of mental processing that we use to fill a purpose or to achieve some anticipated outcome. It is applied to gain a better understanding of relatively complicated or unstructured ideas and is largely based on the reprocessing of knowledge, understanding and possibly, emotions that we already possess”.
With that in mind, I would not be surprised if my act of so-called “reflection” would just be considered as a meaningless, unproductive instinctive activity with no direction at all.
As I was going through my years in elementary and high school, as far as I can remember my teachers had the same style in teaching, they provided everything by speaking all the time, and it will just stop when it’s quiz time or exams day, this happened year after year. To be honest I never considered that they practiced reflection; I know this may be a harsh thought and could be very judgmental. But there was no change in their teaching style even though many of the students were not paying attention either by talking, sleeping or stepping out of the classroom very often in a class. Or even when attendance in a class had gone down.
There was an instance in our Math class that right after my teacher stepped out of the classroom I asked my seatmate to explain what was discussed, and she said she did not understand it, so I asked my classmate seating behind me if he could explain to me the discussion and he said, he and the person seating beside him did not understand the explanation too. As I looked at my other classmates I saw the puzzled look on their faces, so I went home feeling unconcerned and satisfied, thinking that if there’ll be a quiz the next day at least I won’t be the only one who would fail. I know that it was very irresponsible of me, to say the least. But my point here is, I don’t think that is a learning environment of a reflective teaching.
It was truly a surprise to me to know reflective teaching, even when I look back in my college life which was full of lawyer professors, former radio disc jockey professor who used green jokes as a warm up, a professor who nags the class for almost half of the class time, an egotistic son of a stockholder professor who rarely got in on time for his class. My list could go on and on with regard to the teaching style and environment I experienced.
Or maybe this is just an assumption on my part that they did not practice reflective teaching just because my experience did not seem perfect to me and not even close to ideal. I guess I would never know since I did not interview them and I don’t know where they are right now.
One more thing, maybe what they missed to do was critical reflection; they might have overlooked the need to use some of the reflective lenses. Which would have given them different angles of information, different interpretation, and possible alternate actions to the situation. They could have pondered on their teaching style and its effects on their students but missed to be critical to their ideas/assumptions.
References: Teaching in Lifelong Learning Sector: “The reflective Teacher p8”; Jenny Moon (Moon 2005: 1); Becoming Critically Reflective p28.