At my recent workshops, I have taken a few minutes to discuss the importance of reflection. In other words, in our classes and in our profession, why do we do the things we do and why do we do them the way we do?
Many years ago, early one school morning, I was sitting with one of my student teachers discussing the day’s schedule and fine-tuning lesson plans. While explaining the procedure I used to teach a particular part of a lesson, Jessie abruptly stopped me and asked, “Why do you do it that way?”
There was a l-o-n-g pause as I (the wiser and more experienced cooperating teacher) tried to formulate my very professional sounding response. I clearly knew I was backed into a corner without being able to provide a solid justification and knowing that Jessie would see through any attempt I made to create one in the moment. With a grin on my face, I blurted out, “because I’ve always done it that way!” Jokingly I added, “Are you happy now?”
She replied, “You know that’s not a good reason, Mr. Jacobs!” After both of us had a good laugh about it, I said to Jessie,
“Let’s try to come up with a better way to teach this part of the lesson. By the end of the day we had done so and began using it immediately.
Although I can’t remember the specific part of the lesson discussed, I clearly remember three important points that that discussion permanently embedded in my brain.
1.) There is a need to reflect upon what we
have done to explore the notion that
there may be a better way.
2.) Reflection is ongoing, it is a continuous
3.) Something can be learned if we just
open our minds to the ideas of others.
Thank you, Jessie!