Reflective Practice – Best Practices for Education Professionals

Preface xv
box.” Non-traditional methods and outside-the-box pedagogical techniques are infre-
quently encouraged, in favor of practices that simply get the information to students
and subsequently produce acceptable test results. The author of Chapter 1: So what’s
the big idea? applies action research in preparing P-12 teachers to transcend standard
curriculum development and delivery processes in order to actively engage students
in inductive reasoning, thus discovering enduring understandings and answering es-
sential questions they can then pursue in their P-12 classrooms. Chapter 3: Apply-
ing art-based self-study techniques illustrates the use of art collage as a vehicle for
transforming post-secondary students’ generally negative conceptualizations of social
science research. Chapter 4: Moving beyond, and Chapter 5: The literacy tapestry,
reframe the teaching and learning of language arts, at the P-12 level, and at the post-
secondary level, from a standards- and prescriptive-driven approach to one that draws
on student and teacher creativity. The authors of Chapter 2: Teaching and learning
with care and commitment, and the authors of Chapters 3 and 5 all draw analogies to
practices that pull together a unified whole from disparate parts; braiding, weaving,
and collage are presented as tactile and visual representations of learning and teach-
ing processes, and are considered means for transforming education. Chapter 10:
Technological sophistication and teacher preparation for generation Y and Chapter
11: A Socratic apology provide us with a non-traditional way of framing teaching and
learning with technology in response to generational skills, access to electronic tools,
and contemporary experiences.
Education professionals are life-long learners and researchers, as is emphasized
throughout this work. Reflective practice is indicative of an education professional
who engages with the material and processes of teaching and learning, someone who
is more than a “classroom technician” (Vinz, 1996, as cited in Iasevoli, Chapter 1,
this book). Every profession should include the idea of reflection as a critical ele-
ment in the process for improving professional practice. Considering one’s work after
associated performances, demonstrations, and interactions is a key element for self-
assessment of skills, competence, and the effectiveness of our practice. It also helps to
uncover areas of improvement or further development. While not all professions value
the reflective process enough to include it in professional preparation programs, the
field of education is in large part predicated on the idea of reflexivity. New applica-
tions of reflective practice, new modes of reflecting, and new topics upon which to
reflect are all included in the ideas of Best Practices for Education Professionals. In
Chapter 1, the process of uncovering big ideas cannot be accomplished without deep
reflection. The authors of Chapter 2 Teaching and learning with care and commitment
discuss collaboration and co-planning as reflective practices. Chapter 3 discusses an
innovative type of reflection, using explanations of art collage as a way to uncover
and identify researcher perspective. Similarly, the author of Chapter 5 describes the
creative process as an inherently reflective practice. Finally, the author of Chapter 11
provides an example of a deeply thoughtful reflection on the use of technology in her
teaching of foreign language.