EDU7412 Reflecting on Professional Contexts

Reflecting on Professional Contexts

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Handout: EDU7412

Indus Training and Research Institute

Checklist: Structuring my EDU7412_Reflecting on Professional Contexts

Learning Outcomes for EDU 7412
1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of an aspect or aspects of your professional practice through selected evidence.
2. Demonstrate the ability to reflect critically on your experiences, knowledge, skill and understanding of your professional practice of teaching and learning.
3. Critically analyse your personal and professional development, both current and future, linking theory to practice
4. Critically reflect upon the specific context of your professional practice, drawing on evidence of your experience as a leader of learning
  • Introduction (1000 words)

A few words about your work by way of introduction to the UK examiner.

1.1  Aspect

  • Identify an aspect /aspects from your professional practice
    • Define the aspect in detail. Use wider reading to define the aspect. This way you are emphasizing the relevance.
    • Discuss the aspect and show its relevance, criticality in your context.
    • Every time you use a reference from an expert, bring your interpretation and arguments/discussion with the ideas put forth – this is how you build criticality
    • Do not forget to keep saving all references
    • Discuss ethical considerations here onwards (keep this flowing throughout your work). For e.g., do you feel duty-bound ethically to investigate this aspect? Why? What do you think will happen if you look away from this aspect and keep continuing your practice as an educator?

1.2  Background

  • What is the background to this aspect?
    • Discuss: Does this aspect have any historical; social; economic; psychological … background?
    • What factors and experiences led you to be interested in researching this aspect?
    • Situate your research or investigation in this background– build its relevance for now and for future
    • Discuss why investigating this aspect is critical – bring wider reading to support your point/points
    • Again, remember the ethics. For e.g. Why is there a need to study this aspect given this background? What will happen in the future (immediate & long-term) if this aspect is investigated and acted upon / or not done so?

1.3  Context

This is more immediate to your investigation

  • Where is the study conducted and the data gathered? If it is alright, name the organization. It is not acceptable by your stakeholders, anonymise the date regarding the context
  • What is the specific context in which the study was conducted (e.g. school, the classroom environment, curriculum, etc.)? Include a description of the school, the physical / cognitive layout of the classroom, the curriculum or specific curricular engagement that was studied – as may be relevant.
    • Who were the subjects of your study? How did you select the study subjects? Any rationale for choosing them? Did you leave out a few? Why?
    • Discuss ethical implications all along your study – for e.g. what is the impact on the students left out of the study – will they not enjoy the benefits of your interventions? Suppose your interventions work well, will you now make these practices your regular methodology in teaching / do you have a plan to include these students later?? Etc.
    • Discuss the impact of the aspect on the macro / meso/ micro context (pl ref to the figure below for guidance.) – this section is not mandatory. This is meant to improve your ability to envision.

MACROSYSTEM

MESOSYSTEM

Government policy in Education                                    School’s Vision

Political Context                                                                Policies

Economic Context                                                            Facilities

Demography

MICROSYSTEM

Classroom situation Dynamics

Teacher beliefs Learner attributes

  • Scan journals / internet to check: What is the context of any previous work that has been done on this aspect – world over? What is your opinion of the work done before? Discuss / critique with reference to your context/study
    • What was the basis of your interest in this aspect or focus? What were you trying to learn about and understand? What were are your overall goals?

Further Ethical consideration for your investigation:

  • Did your study require you to seek permissions (e.g. take informed consent) from parents, guardians, participants or other stakeholders If so, how did you gain this consent?
  • How did you ensure the study subjects (could even be you yourself) are protected from harm and that they will not be exposed to risks (physical, emotional, cognitive)

2.0  Reflective Discussion (2000 words)

Restate the aspect.

State how did you go about investigating this aspect in your profession?

What processes did you use towards reflecting critically on your learning?

  • Discussing the Aspect (pre-intervention)

This section can be covered very well in 1.1 above. Alternatively, or additionally, you can use 1.1 to state the aspect / issue and use this section to elaborate

  • Provide data to support that there is an issue / or an aspect that needs investigation and reflection
    • For e.g. this morning we were speaking with one of our PGDE (i) Teacher-learners (TLs). She is deeply concerned about the below-grade-level reading comprehension skills in her learners. She is including all evidences to support her claim that her kids are reading below grade level. This is in the Portfolio of evidence. But here also, she is using snapshots from the evidences in the portfolio, to build an argument. For e.g. she is including a snapshot from a test where in the student’s performance showcases the issue. Also, she is giving a snapshot of her entire class’s test performance from her marks’ register. She has been advised to hide the names of the students (Ss) with a book/card. This is protect the privacy of the Ss. This can be discussed in Ethical Considerations.
    • You can also use observation reports or data from surveys to highlight the aspect
    • Elaborate how this issue can impact learning (yours’ and the Ss’)
    • Therefore, what do you propose to do

2.2  Discussing the learning

  • How did you investigate the aspect?
    • Did you use any specific methods / tools to collect information?
    • What are your findings / what did you discover? Discuss this in detail.
    • Did you communicate your findings to any stakeholder? Remember to be ethical. It is always ethically appropriate to let the appropriate stakeholders know. However, who are the actual stakeholders and how did you communicate the findings? If you thought it is ethical to keep information secret, discuss the ethicality.
    • What did you learn all along? About your own personal and professional selves.
    • During Study – This is the major chunk in your discussion
    • Discussion of stages of intervention, findings for each stage, this should include portfolio reference and should lead to learning progression and more connections to literature. For e.g., bring snapshots from excerpts from your conversation, lesson plan, unit plan, photographs of works, snapshots from your reflective journal, goal setting diary, student responses, assessments, notes, oral/written student/parent/administrator reflections, artifacts etc.
    • What did I learn? What are the major findings of the study? What examples from research by others support these findings?
    • Report the findings of the study and stay close to the data in the portfolio that you have. Don’t make generalised statements or interpretations that are beyond the study subject in your research
    • Ethical consideration at each stage – do not forget this!

2.3    Conclusion

  • Wind up this section by restating the purpose of the study and the findings. Be very reflective and critical here. Refer to literature (I mean, use wider reading to support / connect your professional development to your findings)

3.0  Implications (500 words)

  • What are the possible implications of these findings for your own study subjects, teachers, researchers, school? Whose interests were served by this research? Who benefited? What is the potential significance for your classroom or local context for education or society as a whole?
    • What sense do you make of this study? What are you taking away for yourself and for others?
    • How will you continue this inquiry?

4.0  Conclusion (500 words)

  • Summary of study and concluding remarks that highlight thoughts you want to leave the reader with – major insights or wonderings you are taking from the study.
    • What new questions emerged from this study?
    • Remember to refer to the Learning Outcomes (mentioned at the start of this document) to see that you have actually been a Leader of Learning (your own self’s and others’)

FAQs

  • Do I have to reflect on my entire PGDE (i) journey in this essay?

In a way your professional development has been organically happening throughout your PGDE (i). You have questioned your beliefs very firmly and reestablished new ones. You have tested your beliefs and have tried out new skills and dispositions. So, in that way, YES.

However, there is no need to be overwhelmed. It is enough for you to reflect on the present work at hand for EDU7412.

2.      Do I need to build a portfolio?

Yes. The portfolio must be neatly numbered, and it must be cross referenced in your reflective essay. The portfolio is like your record of evidence. And exactly like how you would make a case in a Court of Law by calling on witnesses to support your main story | argument, in your essay too you will continuously bring excerpts from your portfolio to support your story of your growth as a reflective practitioner.

Each entry in your portfolio must be self-explanatory. So, each entry must have the following:

  • there must be a number to the evidence,
  • a title, and
  • a brief introduction of 1-2 lines to say what it is, and what is the purpose of this piece of evidence.

3.      Do I need to be critical and reflective in my essay?

In fact, all educators must be always critically reflective. Use ALACT or Gibbs, or Kolb or any reflective cycle to revisit your beliefs continuously.

4.      What is the nature of critical reflection?

Critical Reflection (also called a reflective essay) is a process of identifying, questioning, and assessing our deeply-held assumptions – about our knowledge, the way we perceive events and issues, our beliefs, feelings, and actions. When you reflect critically, you use course material (lectures, readings, discussions, etc.) to examine our biases, compare theories with current actions, search for causes and triggers, and identify problems at their core. Critical reflection is not a reading assignment, a summary of an activity, or an emotional outlet. Rather, the goal is to change your thinking about a subject, and thus change your behaviour (ref. below).

5.      Is there a simpler process to reflect?

One could use the following three-step model: What? à So What? à Now what?

Describe what happened – then, its impact – and then, what can you do differently going forward.

Reflecting on Professional Contexts

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