Critical reflection and community recreation leadership
Instructor: Tyler MacDonaldCourse Date: June 22, 2013Location: East Gwillimbury Community Centre19000 Leslie ST.Sharon, Ontario
Activity Time ObjectiveIntroductions 9am – 9:15am Learn who is in the class and theirbackgroundReview of CriticalReflection Methods9:15am – 10:15am Review critical reflection methods: What is it and why criticalreflection Graduate Study Programs Professional DevelopmentWorkshops Conference Attendance Teaching Logs Teacher Learning Audits Role Model Profiles Survival advice memos Videotaping Students’ Eyes Other (classroom dynamics,collaboration) SummaryBreak 10:15am – 10:30am
Activity Time ObjectiveWorkshop 10:30am – 11:10am Groups will review current method ofteaching, relate it to critical reflectionmethods and develop thoughts onhow to use materials.WorkshopPresentations11:10am – 11:50am Groups will present results of theworkshop on critical reflectionand introspection and thoughtsfor future teaching.Wrap-up 11:50am – 12 noon Summarize of participantworkshop presentations androundtable discussion onthoughts on the session.Handout student Critical IncidentQuestionnaire for completion.
Today’s Instructor – Tyler MacDonald, BrockUniversity Undergraduate student in Recreation andLeisure Three hour session on Critical Reflection to inspireCommunity Recreation Leaders to consider usingcritical reflection to help ensure that your teachingstyle and the materials you are attempting to teachare actually reaching the participants. Introductions - go around the room and haveeveryone introduce themselves, talk briefly abouttheir leadership role and their objectives for today. Hand out copies of slides so participants can takenotes
What is Critical Reflection? Critical Reflection Points. Why critical reflection? Autobiographical Lenses Graduate Study Programs Professional Development Workshops Conference Attendance Teaching Logs Teacher Learning Audits Role Model Profiles Survival advice memos Videotaping Peer Observation Students’ Eyes Other (classroom dynamics, collaboration)
“no matter what one’s class, race, gender, orsocial standing, I shared my beliefs thatwithout the capacity to think critically aboutour selves and our lives, none of us would beable to move forward, to change, to grow” “Engaged pedagogy has been essential to mydevelopment as an intellectual, as ateacher/professor, because the heart of thisapproach to learning is critical thinking”
Sincerity of teaching doesn’t mean success Cultural, psychological, and political complexities Power of human relationships (between students andteachers) Means teaching not innocent Innocent teaching means naïve teaching – that is assumingthat what you are teaching is what is being received. Reflection means hunting for assumptions Assumptions such as adults are self-directed learners, it isgood to encourage students to take control overdesigning, conducting, and evaluating their learning, andlearning contracts increase student self-direction may not becorrect. In Community Recreation Leadership if you are aware of thesepotential scenarios you can be more successful when leadingactivities through a “reflective process”.
The assumption that visiting a small group during groupwork is respectful is not necessarily true. Cutting lectures down to a minimum is good to reducepassivity is not always good as it can take away fromengaging in the ideas. Participants like group discussion is not always true givenpower dynamics and communication inequities. Don’t always assume participants want community leadersto downplay their position of superiority Don’t assume that if you have been teaching longer youare the more experienced leader as you could be repeatingactions that aren’t helpful without some sort of criticalreflection. This is a key point for a community leader to understandand therefore to always be searching for ways to improve.
Helps community leader take informed action ontheir teaching habits and content Helps rationalize the practice Helps avoid self- criticism if you thinkparticipants aren’t learning Provides some grounding in teaching and how itsgoing It can help to liven up the classroom with newteaching styles and concepts It can help with trust between participants andleaders if done properly – participants will seecommunity leaders are trying to improve andleaders will see where possible improvement lies
Our autobiography based on our experiences Our student’s eyes Our colleagues eyes and experiences Theoretical literature All of these methods will provide criticalreview of teaching methods, styles andresults that can be improved on and canresult in continuous improvement.
Graduate, professional development & conferenceattendance, teaching logs, teaching learning audits, rolemodel profiles, survival advice memos & videotaping
One of the three autobiographical methods to becritically “self-reflective”. Our Professors have the power and control ourfate. Reminds us of affect of power and that we shoulduse to good educative effect going forward Keeping a learning journal of graduate studyexperience will provide insights for your ownteaching Having reflected on your professor’s “good” and“bad” actions will be to your advantage goingforward and it will help you ensure you don’treproduce the same power dynamics.
Concerns professional developmentopportunities for faculty – e.g.workshops, presentations, and institutes Opportunity to experience what your studentsdo. Want practitioners to be experienced, “beenaround the block” to speak to typicalsituations, and for them to stand for something. It allows for thought on educator’s words andactions being consistent, on their offeringsomething important, and that they look atopportunities to do things differently.
Attendance at these sessions can be valuable orthey can be “a waste of time” Can be used as a learning exercise to dissectregardless of whether they were valuable or not. In other words if it was a learning experience whywas it and how can it be applied to your teaching If it was a waste of time, why was it and thereforewhat will you do differently when puttingtogether course materials and communityrecreation programs Conference learning logs are good to recordthese ideas and use to our benefit going forward.
Weekly record of events that are memorable Its about documenting what has given you as a leaderpleasure, or stress, or puzzlement Its usually about keeping a log of your reactions orinterpretations of events Makes you realize what you assume about teaching – goodor bad Idea is to keep it weekly and spend up to 30 minutes on it Types of questions when writing are related to when youfelt connected during the week, when you feltdisconnected, what situations caused you grief, and whatsituation most surprised you? As a community leader this type of log can help you reflecton programs you may be running and perhaps what youthink went right or wrong and it could alert you to areasyou require more skills in.
Reflective tool to encourage leaders to view themselves asadult learners Usually done at end of term or annually It involves thinking back and documenting what youlearned about yourself, students, your teaching, changesin your assumptions Allows you to think about what learnings are brand newversus refinements What triggered what you learned – a crisis, directive,personal dissatisfaction, desire to experiment, somechance event or other? Process gets you into habit of thinking of yourself as alearner, makes you aware of how much you are learning,and provides a sense of where you have changed. Can contribute to better community programs and greaterenrollment
Talking about instructors you admire and why Its about people we admire regarding abilities andqualities and how you could emulate their leadership Think back over your career in the community and inschool and write down those you most admired Write down what it is that you admired about theseleaders/teachers. What abilities of these people would you like toborrow? Remember you usually admire people who do thingseasily that you can’t – this helps you to know whereyou are struggling and why.
Way to discover knowledge and assumptions Pretend you are leaving your leadership roleand must provide successor advice on how tosucceed Reveals knowledge you take seriously andassumptions that most influence you Document what you need to survive in role,what needs to stay afloat, what you wish youhad been told when you started and thingsyou suggest your successor avoid thinking,doing or assuming.
Can be good but shocking way to see yourself asa leader You will see your bad or good or odd habits suchas looking at the floor, not finishingsentences, repeating certain phrases, mixing upyour material, see whether we smile at all, seeingreaction to student comments orcriticisms, whether you speak to loud or too soft This can be a good exercise for a communityrecreation leader to ensure that the programs weare communicating make sense given ourobjective is always to increase enrollment.
Colleague observation can be most helpful Some may fear this due to competition and as a community leaderyou may not want others to see your weaknesses. Choose carefully who you ask to observe you Ensure they have a variety of community leadership experience They are good communicators They are considered as someone who wants to help strugglingleaders Ask around for the right community leader If you use this critical reflection method tell your students who is inthe classroom observing and why – want outside observation toimprove your leadership/teaching skills going forward Provide your peer observer some instruction on specific areas youwant feedback on – am I confusing – am I fair to all participants – amI working hard to ensure full participation? Tell observer that you will do the same for them Make sure all feedback is actionable and has examples to explainthe observation – good or bad
Knowing how our leadership style is perceived byour participants can shape our efforts so desiredresults are achieved. Best way to unearth power dynamics in theclassroom. Traditional method to gather information occurswhen all sessions are done for a course –problem is you can’t action on it as its after thefact There are a few methods that can be used togather student observations which can be moreimmediate and actionable.
More immediate methods of gathering actionablestudent observations during the session include:◦ Run a specific exercise to see student participation andthen gather information through a critical incidentquestionnaire immediately following the session.◦ Student Learning Journals – weekly process that allowsstudents to think about how they learn allows the instructorto see their teaching through a student’s eyes and see whatthey find helpful versus confusing. Can become a monthlyjournal provided to instructor who can use it to make betterchoices.◦ Troubleshooting – time as beginning of every class to talkabout course, how it is going and what can be improved.◦ Participant Learning Portfolios – allows participant to beself-reflective and instructor is provided useful informationabout how the students are learning. Students are providedinstructions on content to help with consistency.
CIQ – one page form handed out each week Five Questions Not about what they liked or didn’t like but rather focusedon significant happenings that were important to them Questions concern:◦ Moment you felt most engaged?◦ Moment you felt most distanced?◦ Action of instructor or student you found most helpful?◦ Action of instructor or student you found confusing?◦ What from the class surprised you the most? Alerts instructor to confusions or ambiguities that couldbe causing student problems Gives instructor time to course correct Teaches students to be reflective
Collaborative critical analysis to help instructorsaddress problems they face. Three phased approach where instructors reflecton their experience for responses to commonproblems they experience. Done with groups of instructors working together Three phases are:◦ Problem formulation – identify most pressing problemsthey face each day and agree on most pressing◦ Individual & Collective analysis of problem – individualsreview the problem on their own and then collectivelywith the group and create a best/worst experiencematrix as a learner, colleague, and teacher◦ Compile Suggestions for Practice
Many methods and opportunities to reflect andgain feedback to better your instruction They are all useful tools that can be usedindividually or together to help you with yourcommunity leadership practice going forward They all have pros and cons in terms of helpingimprove instruction and taken together are anexcellent way to critically reflect and improve The list can be overwhelming but helpful ingiving you options to explore and think about The exercise we will do next will help you tothink about how you could use any one of themto improve your leadership in the community
Objective:◦ To brainstorm in small teams these various “critical reflection activities” describedearlier.◦ Prepare the group’s thoughts on which critical reflection activities would you like topursue and why◦ For the activity rated number one – explain why your team suggested it is the mostuseful tool for a community leader and provide material on this activity about yourteam. For example if you have chosen survival advice as #1 then provide what thatadvice is. You have been placed at a table of 5 folks and this is your group – therefore 6 groups Everyone must participate and each group to appoint primary roles of leader, a recorderof the information and the presenter of the information Everyone must listen, participate, and question but eventually one presentation per groupis required Remember each group should have secondary roles of questioner, silent observer, andactive listener. This is similar to “circle of voices” process (Broofield, p. 153) where you have a problemposer, reflective analyst, devil’s advocate, detective, theme spotter, and umpire.
Each group will be given 7 minutes to presenttheir thoughts◦ Group1◦ Group 2◦ Group 3◦ Group 4◦ Group 5◦ Group 6 Total of 42 minutes of presentations
Critical Incident Questionnaire◦ Will make course better going forward◦ Anonymous◦ Please leave at the door when leaving◦ Past forms have helped to improve content of this course Questions are:1. At what moment today did you feel most engaged with whatwas happening?2. At what moment today did you feel most distanced from whatwas happening?3. What action that anyone (teacher or student) took in class todaydid you find most affirming and helpful?4. What action that anyone (teacher or student) took today did yofind most puzzling or confusing?5. What about today surprised you the most? (This could besomething you reacted to, something someone did or anythingelse that occurs to you).6. Would you recommend this class to others? Why or why not?
Brookfield, Stephen D. (1995). Becoming aCritically Reflective Teacher. San Francisco:Jossey-Bass Publishers. hooks, bell. (1994). Teaching to Transgress –Education as the Practice of Freedom.Routledge: New York.