Prioritizing Reflection for Me and My Students

One of the best experiences as a teacher for me is when you see a child have an “ah-ha” moment. The look on their face, their body language, their emotion. These moments bring me so much joy. I have seen so many of these moments working with 1st graders over the last few years. I was so proud of the perseverance students had as they would solve problems multiple times, growing to be confident in their responses. Now, myself and Grace Florez, an AIMS colleague and fellow contributor to this blog, have the exciting responsibility of being able to take what we have learned from the research and utilize it as we work in classrooms every day this fall. This will be a thrilling experience for us both. At the AIMS Center, we want to see this research at work in our valley classrooms before we translate it for teachers.

In my last blog, I talked about how I view learning slightly differently than before since I have come to know radical constructivism. As a radical constructivist, some essential elements of learning are perturbation and reflection. Heading back into a classroom everyday, one of my priorities will be creating the space to reflect on my decisions as the math teacher and the mathematics of my students. I know time is something teachers never have enough of, so it is important for me to explore realistic ways to reflect on both of these things. It will be interesting for me to see what I notice when I am with the students everyday. Some questions I wonder about in my own reflection are: what am I drawn to reflect on? When does my reflection lead to change? What are the ways I reflect best?

One advantage a classroom teacher has is the amount of time they interact with the student, so they can develop a scheme of that student. In other words, they know when the student is engaged or not, when they are thinking hard, and many other telling behaviors. I’m looking forward to being a teacher in the classroom again, so that I can have that knowledge of the students and be able to notice the reflective moments they are having. I just can’t emphasize enough the value of reflection in learning, so I have already warned Grace she will have to be my accountability partner to make sure it is happening. I look forward to sharing with you more about Bev and Grace’s Great Adventure in the classroom in the months ahead.

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