Reaction paper Gerardo Valdivia


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Reaction paper Gerardo Valdivia

  1. 1. Reaction Paper 1 Professional Development Name: Gerardo Valdivia Zavalla Subject: Methodology II Teacher: Roxanna Correa
  2. 2. Reaction Paper 2 Summary Pettis (2002) argued that we must be aware that we were teachers and learners at the same time, that learning English was a lifelong process, and that developing a competent professional was equally a long-term and ongoing process. Besides, Pettis explained that if we wanted to be a competent educator we should be principled, knowledgeable and skillful. We needed to be knowledgeable and skillful, so that we knew a variety of topics to address them appropriately and sufficiently. We had to have background knowledge about what we teach in order to feel competent in what we are teaching. The professional needs and interests changed over time and they keep evolving, in this point Pettis explained that novice teachers and experience teachers have different needs. Novice teachers focused their efforts on "what to teach" whereas expert teachers were focused on "how to teach". She added that the professional development activities that change us and change our conceptual framework enabled us to make better decisions when using new activities and techniques. And the commitment to professional development must be ongoing and personal. Here, Pettis declared that a large range of varieties of professional development opportunities allowed us to develop ourselves as professionals and that we should make that a commitment. Pettis affirmed that professional organizations must support our pursuit of professional development and also that we had to do personal efforts to grow professionally. We had to look for additional opportunities to learn and expand our goals. Taylor (2002) answered several questions on how to do research in the classroom. Taylor explained that there were two ways of doing research: one way was doing team
  3. 3. Reaction Paper 3 work and the other was working alone. Then, Taylor persisted that in order to do classroom research we had to look for what other authors had found, but this had a disadvantage which was that usually the studies were carried out by researchers and not by teachers in a classroom, so they did not have the knowledge of a teacher to control the variables, they just did the study and generalize the results. However, these studies were useful keeping in mind that a teacher’s classroom research is not a large project as what researchers do. An advantage of classroom research was that teachers seemed to be closer to the reality than large projects done by researchers. Subsequently, when investigating we should focus our efforts on what to investigate, also we had to relate our study on other authors who had done something similar. Afterward, Taylor stated that we had to make the procedure of the research, collect the data and finally analyze it. Taylor suggested that we should create a framework and categories for the analysis or adapt what someone else has done. The studies may help us to use better strategies to teach, find how our students interact, etc. When reporting the results informally we should use a lot of examples in order that our colleagues understand what we are explaining. Taylor suggested that if we received a lot of positive feedback about our study we should rewrite the research as an article and send it to a journal to be published. Brown (2001) talked about Peak performers, people who reached their fullest potential and who reaped success”. They set short-term and long-term goals; set priorities, they knew what is or not important; took risks, they tried new things since they knew that they can learn from “failures”; and practicing principles of stress management was a important key to keep themselves fresh, creative and happy.
  4. 4. Reaction Paper 4 Brown proposed classroom observation as seeing our own actions through another’s eyes. Also self-observation when we monitored ourselves systematically, selecting what to focus on and assess the selected element. In classroom research Brown talked about two groups the teachers who did the teaching and researchers who thought they knew about teaching. Brown invited teachers to do classroom research, because we looked for ways of improving our teaching, hypothesized the possible solutions, put the solution in practice, looked for results to check if what we did worked or not, so we were doing research. Besides, Brown cited peer coaching which was a systematic process when one teacher observes and gives feedback to another and team coaching which was when two teachers in the same room divide the responsibilities. Finally, in "Critical pedagogy", our learners must be free to be themselves, to think for themselves, to behave intellectually without barriers. We can have a critical pedagogy by allowing students to express themselves openly, respecting their points of views, encouraging both/many sides of an issue, and not forcing students to think like us. Hayes (2000) believed that teachers were at the heart of any innovation and that the contexts in which they worked needed to be studied to inform the innovation process. Hayes introduced the cascade training, which was a strategy for introducing major innovations into educational systems; in this model training is conducted at several levels by trainers drawn from a level above. This had theoretical benefits which made it attractive to planners of changes on a large scale. Because it was cost effective, it did not require long periods out of service, and it used existing teaching staff as co-trainers
  5. 5. Reaction Paper 5 Hayes added that learning did not finish once trainers or teachers left a course. They must continue the process of adapting to the new in their own classrooms. Supportive workshop and classroom observation and counselling could ease this process. Self appraisal skills must form an important part of a trainer's or teacher's repertoire. Trainer and teacher development courses sought to develop a heightened degree of reflectiveness and critical awareness in the participants. We needed to make explicit the socially-constructed nature of any education system; we had to recognize at the same time that project activities had to be shaped by context. The motivation was important when learning languages. Learning was easier when we were actively engaged. All teaching and training activities/tasks should have a context and a clear purpose. Learner-training may be required to support the new modes of learning. Children, teachers, and trainers need to be respected as individuals. Ur (2002) made distinctions between professionals and lays, amateurs, technicians, and academics. In the first category “lay” population is a population that does not belong to a specified professional group, while people in the professional group have certain skills, knowledge that the lay group does not have. Professional built networks between members and opportunities to benefit from each other’s knowledge. The professional members exchange ideas and innovations. In the second category, the main differences between professionals and amateurs are the performance in the field, the quality of preparatory and ongoing learning. Amateurs do things for fun or love for something. They may perform well or not. Professionalism means preparing oneself to do a competent job. Learning may take from pre-service, service, reflection on experience, reading, writing, research, etc. Such learning continues throughout the working life. In the third point, a technician performed certain acts with skill and became more skillful as the time passes. The
  6. 6. Reaction Paper 6 professional also has to acquire skills but also has to take courses of action based on knowledge and thought. Professionals have to understand principles and innovate. The native speaker is a technician and the English teacher is in principle a professional. In the last category, the academic was a researcher, lecturer, and a writer, who is occupied in thinking and researching while the professional is occupied in real-time action. The academic acts in order to refine thinking while the professional thinks in how to improve the actions. An academic is not an immediate agent of real-world change, whereas the professional is.
  7. 7. Reaction Paper 7 Evaluation Pettis’ (2002) presentation was about professional development. Her points of views argued that we are both learners and teachers at the same time; Pettis supported her ideas when explaining that we as English teachers kept learning throughout our whole working life, this could be because languages change and update as the time passes and also because new techniques, methods, approaches, etc evolve or appear in order to improve teaching. Pettis was convincing when she explained that it was important to know that we will never stop learning and we should take innovation and updating as important parts of our professional development. Moreover, Pettis added that an educator must be principled, knowledgeable and skilful, this means that a teacher should combine this three characteristics and use them to do a good work, this argument is supported in a clear way not only because we know that we study to become experts, but also because being knowledgeable and skillful show how capable we are of working as teachers, people who should know how to use several topics, know how to address them appropriately and sufficiently to convey results and understanding in our students. In addition, a point that would make people change their mind is that Pettis suggested that professional needs and interests change over time, which was why teachers should keep evolving and innovating, this process should be personal and ongoing. This point should inspire teachers and us to think of innovation as a very important tool to professional development. Furthermore, according to Pettis professional development activities enabled us to make better decisions when choosing new techniques and activities. We have to make personal efforts to growth professional, we have to look for additional
  8. 8. Reaction Paper 8 opportunities to learn and develop. The key term of Pettis is innovation and in my opinion, is one of the keys of professional development. In Chile, for teacher is difficult to innovate because of the lack of support from institutions and sometimes the laziness makes them not to update themselves. So they stay in the past and do not meet current teaching techniques, approaches, etc., they keep doing the boring class they always has done. On a similar topic, Taylor´s (2002) presentation was about how to carry out classroom research; his reasoning was simple and understandable. Firstly, he explained that there were two ways of doing research, team work and work alone. His arguments in this point suggested that we should be capable of choosing how to research according to what kind of person we were or how we liked to work. Taylor supported his arguments giving examples on how a research was done, for instance looking for other authors’ studies and findings. Taylor did not neglect any posture; he gave the advantages and disadvantages of doing classroom research. Taylor was persuasive enough when explaining that classroom research done by researchers should be done by teachers instead. Although, Taylor assumed that classroom studies by researchers were useful anyway. Another persuasive argument was that classroom research carry out by teachers seemed to be closer to the reality of teaching than large projects. This argument is very powerful because teachers are the people who are directly related to the reality mentioned, so this can change the minds of the teachers in order to start doing classroom research. Taylor suggested when doing research we must report the results, this is very important because we do research to show the results, so other people may use them, put them or try them out as well. Taylor explained that when explaining the results informally
  9. 9. Reaction Paper 9 we should give lots examples for other people to understand what we did, and when giving the results formally we should share the result in papers or articles that could be published, this is a strong argument because it suggests teachers to do classroom research and find the ways to share the results, the methods, etc., in order to other people know what you did and if they want can use your research as an example. One point left out by Taylor was that sometimes teachers do not have the time to do classroom research, in Chile for example, teachers work long hours every day and the big size of a class. A way of changing this scenario could be lowing the hours of work and reduce the size of the class. To sum up the main point in Taylor’s paper was to convince teachers to do classroom research and share the results with others. A new topic introduced by Brown (2001) was the peak performers, people who gave their full potential and were successful. He wanted to change teachers minds in order to become one of these peak performers so they could do always better, for instance Brown suggested that teachers as peak performers should set realistic goals and priorities, take risks, practice principles of stress management. He persuades teachers that become peak performers is actually a great way to obtain the best of them and also improve teaching. As well as persuading teacher to become peak performers he explained that teachers should also become good language teachers, be competent, and have critical thinking. Critical thinking in the Chilean context would be hard to apply because we got our students accustomed to memorize things, to repeat things and do not transform the information, so critical thinking would be a significant part of being a good teacher that we as teacher should develop and implement all the way through the teaching life.
  10. 10. Reaction Paper 10 For instance, a part that made me want to investigate was the self-observation. Brown introduced self observation. It is known that a teacher can help another teacher, but that we can self-observe and monitor systematically ourselves and focus on things we want to change or improve is an important thing to think of. Brown did invited teachers to do classroom research, because as doing it we could improve our teaching, hypothesized the possible solutions, put solutions in practice, look for results to check if what we did worked or not. Brown supported his arguments with evidence when he talked about learning from each other; an example is peer coaching and team coaching. According to Brown was important to have times when staff of teacher meets to cover a number of possible issues: student’s behaviour, teaching tips, etc. A thing that changed my thought is to consider critical pedagogy as a tool for our learner to fully develop themselves. We should instruct students to think and behave intellectually without barriers. We should permit students to express their ideas and that others respect their points of views. Now, in Chile to implement critical pedagogy would be really tough since students are taught to be sat in the classroom and just listen to the teacher. They do not usually speak in class or provide their opinions, it may be because they feel they do not have the level of English, they are afraid of being embarrassed in front of the class or they believe they are not allow to express critically. In terms of innovation, Hayes (2000) presentation was about teachers as the heart of the innovation in education. He supported his reasoning by saying that the context where teacher developed needed to be studied so that they can inform about the innovation
  11. 11. Reaction Paper 11 process. Hayes convinced the reader by introducing a strategy for innovation; this strategy is called the cascade training. He described what the cascade training was. It was hard to follow the ideas because Hayes combined different topics in the same paper, this might be because it was about a project implemented in a country, so getting the main idea was difficult to do. Hayes as Pettis argued that we did not finish learning when we finish a course or after getting a degree, this keeps path of innovation, updating and lifelong learning evaluated previously. This suggests that Hayes wanted teachers to keep working hard and develop them completely. Hayes advised about that a teacher must adapt to the changes in the classroom, of the students of the society, etc., are an important issue today in the Chilean society, where children and teenagers and the society itself change as the time goes by, teacher must be able to adapt to those changes. Other important argument form Hayes was that teachers should evaluate themselves. The training that he proposed sought to develop reflectiveness, which I think is really important, because teachers should be able to know what they are doing wrong and what they are doing right, they should be aware of what they have to improve. Hayes also talked about motivation, which in my opinion is a good way to engage students to work hard and learn. Hayes suggested that the learning was easier when students were actively motivated, so they will be actively engaged to what a teacher teaches.
  12. 12. Reaction Paper 12 An argument that changed my mind was that we should respect children, teachers and trainers as individuals. In Chile, for example, it is hard to say that we respect people as individuals or unique individuals. We tend to standardize everything and think that our students learn and think in the same way, which is not true at all. Every person learns, thinks and develops in his own rhythm and form. We as teachers should support those ways. It is sad to think that in a way we end up clipping our student’s wings. Ur’s (2002) presentation was about differentiating professionals from lays, amateurs, technicians and academics. In a way Ur’s classification was correct, but from my point of view every category has advantages and disadvantages. Being in one category does not mean they cannot reach another category. It seems to me that to Ur to be a professional is on top of the scale, in a way underestimating the remaining categories, even though I totally agree with what Ur stated, because usually professional are not taken into account by people, they prefer someone who can do the job not someone who can make the job properly and accurately. Obviously Ur’s arguments were quite clear and convincing when differentiating the categories. Ur explained with evidence and examples that professionals were different from lays, because professionals used their skills and knowledge to develop a certain task while the lay population did not belong to a specified professional group, this argument suggests that professional are more prepare than lays to do certain tasks since they have studied, knew strategies and approaches to do so. Ur influences the reader to discover that professionals are more important than the other categories, even though when this is not explicit mentioned. Obviously, Ur gave examples to enhance the attributes of a professional, for instance, professionals prepare themselves to do a competent job and learn throughout their working life as Pettis says as well, whereas amateurs did things for fun. Ur
  13. 13. Reaction Paper 13 also added that technicians acted with skill and became skillful as the time went by, while professionals had to understand principles and innovate as Pettis explained. Ur stated that professionals were occupied in real-time action and were agent of real world change while academics were the opposite. The main point Ur’s classification was repositioning the position of professionals; it seems to be that in Chile people do not respect properly professionals, in this case professionals of education. People usually think they know about the area of education, that anybody can have an opinion about it and that they are right, but the people who should have an opinion and try to give solutions to the problems are who intervene in the process of teaching and educating, these people clearly are teachers.
  14. 14. Reaction Paper 14 References Brown, H. D. (2001). Teaching by principles: An interactive approach to language pedagogy (2nd ed.). Pearson Education. Hayes, D. (2000). Cascade training and teachers' professional development.ELT journal, 54(2), 135-145. Pettis, J. (2002). Developing our professional competence: Some reflections. Methodology in language teaching: An anthology of current practice, 393-396. Taylor, E. (2002). Research in your own Classroom. Methodology in language teaching, 397-403. Ur, P. (2002). The English teacher as professional. Methodology in language teaching: an anthology of current practice, 388.