In this webinar recording the presenters review the concept of reflection and Brookfield’s theory of four lenses in critically reflective teaching practice. They also propose guidelines for teachers to apply useful tools for reflection in each lens.

Cornish and Jenkins (2012) argue that teachers who engage in regular critical reflection shape their own development and this self assessment is a key element in continual self improvement, and consequently, teacher quality. The Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Framework by the British Council also highlights professional development as teachers' responsibilities to grow professionally. This fits in perfectly with Domains 4 and 5 of Vietnam's English Teacher Competency Framework (Dzuzik, 2008).

However, sometimes reflective practice activities in reality appear to be questionable with regards to how deep the reflection is and how well it might inform professional practices. When surveyed, a number of teachers in Vietnam attributed their surface reflection to a lack of formal training in professional development as well as a model for doing reflection (Tran, 2014). 
 
This talk, recorded at the Teaching for Success online conference in October 2016, reviews the concept of reflection and Brookfield’s theory of four lenses in critically reflective teaching practice. While analysing each lens and reviewing their tools, the presenters also map them to different elements of professional development as framed by the British Council CPD Framework. Brookfield emphasises that for a teacher to be an excellent 'critically reflective practitioner', he or she must be engaged in viewing teaching through four different lenses: 

  1. the autobiographical (Self lens)
  2. the students’ eyes (Student lens)
  3. our colleagues’ perception and experiences (Peer lens)
  4. theoretical literature and/ or evidence of best practices (Literature lens). 

It is notable that an understanding of the model and tools can facilitate teachers' engagement in practising reflective activities and encourage them to work towards high quality teaching.

About the speakers

Ms Tran Thi Hieu Thuy holds an M.A. degree in TEFL. She is a teacher educator and teacher trainer of English language teaching methodology at University of Languages and International Studies – Vietnam National University. She is certified by the Educational Testing Service (USA) as its master trainer of Propell TOEIC Teacher Workshops. Her research interests include teacher education, integrated teaching and project-based learning. She can be contacted via tranhieuthuy@yahoo.com.
 
Ms Nguyen Thi Kim Phuong holds an M.Ed. degree and is a lecturer of BA Honor Programs, Faculty of English Language Teacher Education, University of Languages and International Studies – Vietnam National University. Her research interests include teacher education, professional development, and English teaching and learning. She can be contacted via phuonguyen2410@gmail.com.

Before you watch

Think about these questions:

  • When has a personal experience of learning challenged what you thought was good teaching or training practice?
  • When has student or trainee feedback challenged an assumption you held about how best to support learning?
  • When, and how, has a colleague helped you to think about your practice differently?
  • What is an insight or idea from research and theory that has helped you see your teaching or training activities in a different light or clarified an issue for you?

Watch the webinar recording:

After you watch activities

Tran Thi Hieu Thuy and Nguyen Thi Kim Phuong suggest practical ideas and tools for the reflective lenses.

  • Which tools could you use in your own self-development as a teacher educator? 
  • Which tools could you suggest for the teachers you work with?
  • How can you help teachers you work with to fully engage with and develop their reflective practice?

References

  • Brookfield, Stephen. Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher. San-Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 1995.
  • presentation in pdf format by Stephen Brookfield.

Photo © Copyright Mat Wright

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