From the Reflective Thinking Assignment about What I Learned This Year (1988-89):
I think that the most important thing that I have learned this year about the psychology of learning ...is to listen to the children that I am teaching. 89-001
I am now aware of the importance of having my program of instruction fit the physical, intellectual, emotional, and social development of the child. 89-003
Without a doubt, the classes which engaged in seminars, workshops, and presentations by peers, were most valuable to me. 89-003
I now need to (know more about the) factors related to learning such as emotional, intellectual, physical, and environmental influences. 89-003
I feel that I did acquire some valuable information this year, most of it being ... from my practice teaching sessions. In these sessions I was able to see ideas and theories in action. I could view for myself what teaching strategies worked and what did not work. The knowledge that I gained from the faculty itself was very limited in its scope. Here, I learned what was current or trendy and the latest approaches that were currently in vogue. Not all these (idea) do I feel wer valuable. 89-004
While I have done some study in cognitive psychology I would now like to learn how to apply this knowledge. I want to cater to my students' ... different learning styles. 89-004
This year I learned to change my thinking about learning. I used to think that successful learning was a perfect regurgitation of facts; I did this and I got A's ... I am now more motivated to spend time finding out where and how to access facts. 89-005
I expected that raising my voice to my students would make them quiet, but the opposite occurred. So I changed my expectations; I now expect that the children will quiet down when I become silent, and it works. 89-005
As I watched my professors model their philosophy of education, I learned: from (one) the joy of curiosity and wonder in Science, from (another) the joy and celebration in the writing process, and from (another) the honesty and growth necessary for a humane teacher. 89-005
The most life-changing learning (for me) was my discovery that I learn best by doing or experiencing. For that reason, practice teaching was an important learning opportunity because I learned the theories and strategies of teaching, not by being lectured about them, but by "doing"..., seeing results, and modifying my behaviour next time. 89-005
One of the biggest changes that I have seen within myself during the past 7 months at the Faculty is my desire/willingness to reach out to other people. It never occurred to me that in any relationship you get out of it exactly what you put into it. My peers and colleagues have shown to me the importance and richness of reaching out ... I feel very fortunate to have been exposed to this environment where everyone truly seems interested and concerned with each other. 89-006
It is very difficult to be an effective teacher if you are unwilling to speak out in front of the class!! Even in your class I have increased my speaking out somewhat. I found it difficult to do and in hindsight I wish I had requested that my class project could have been simply that for each class session I verbally had to contribute to the class.... 89-006
Several times my instructions were totally misconstrued ... and I had to re-approach the situation and devise a way of clearly and simply stating exactly what I meant. This was not easy, particularly in light of the fact dthat the associate said my instructions were clear and that the children were simply not listening. I wonder how many times a day we justify our lack of impact by saying that someone was not listening when in actual fact we ourselves did not communicate clearly. I have always thought it important to sound knowledgeable but I am now beginning to feel that knowledge is of very limited value if it cannot be communicated to others in a way that they are able to understand. 89-006
I was disappointed in the Faculty's program when I realized that it was not academically oriented. But I have come to realize that academics is only a small part of education. Personal experiences, self-expression, inter-personal skills and communication skills are an equally important aspect of my education. 89-006
Most of what I have learned at the Faculty has largely been due to interactions with others. I know how to research documents, write research reports, read and critically interpret data/information. What I didn't know or actually what I now better understand is the importance of using other individuals as valuable resources. Someone else's life experiences can provide valuable information and insight into the complexity of life. I have found it to be of great value to stop and listen to what others have to say rather than simply rushing off (with simply my own ideas). 89-006
In summary, my year at the Faculty has been a powerful learning experience. The exposure I have had to the wide variety of teaching philosophies and strategies has left me somewhat overwhelmed. I have enjoyed the program immensely... It has brought me to the realization that the career I have chosen is the one for ME! 89-006
I learned a great deal from the assignments I did for (one professor). What was valuable about these assignments (which required a lot of work) was that they provided an opportunity to apply clearly-taught theory to classroom practice. There was considerable scope in the way that the (assignments) could be done, and they provided models for theoretically-based practical work that I would do when teaching. 89-007
I resented so many little assignments, in my core courses, which were obviously make work. Further, some teachers were not teaching us what we needed to learn and what we wanted to learn. During the school year '87-'88 I worked as a full time teacher's assistant and quite frankly after that experience I felt ready to teach and this year proved to me that FEUT was just a formality to obtain my O.T.C. 89-008
Through the case study I have learned the power and importance of observation. In my responses to students I am now going to stop, think and then react, instead of just reacting. I have also discovered that I have a tendency to blame others, e.g., the system, instead of looking at myself. This last revelation - blaming others - is also evident in my personal life and reflecting on it has allowed me to answer some difficult questions I have had about myself and in particular some relationships I have. 89-009
Since I am forty years old and have been teaching for ten years already, this year has been a process of reviewing and renewing, incorporating new ideas and discarding ole ones, reassessing my attitudes, strengths and weaknesses, and tying together the loose ends of my educational philosophy.
What I am now doing differently is planning more precisely according to the levels of the children I am teaching. I am more aware of their reaction to my lessons and more responsive to changing or shortening a lesson midstream.
I am still in the process of changing my level of expectation re good copies, homework, being on task, to allow for more creativity and more freedom for the student. I am relating more a s a facilitator and less as an authoritarian. I am consciously being more positive and less critical.
The most important change in my philosophy of teaching is my understanding of how children learn and how crucial it is to use appropriate teaching techniques for specific situations. For example, I see clearly that concrete materials are essential - that children can't really learn by just discussing abstractly.
My relationship with other teachers is more that of a collaborator rather than just pushing my own ideas. I have experience in team teaching, but no realize more clearly the value in using this approach.
My feelings have fluctuated between being confident and capable, secure in my experience, and feeling very self-critical, wondering if my ego is too big, if I'm too rigid and self-righteous. I seem to always be the one to speak out, question or comment in class. It's hard to be objective about oneself.
Sometimes I feel very hemmed in by the prevailing views of teaching offered here - there seem to be bandwagons that one must join. It's not easy to express differing opinions without appearing negative. 89-010
Library: have not needed to use extensively, but am aware of wonderful resources and plan to use next year when in the field. 89-010
Readings (those I found Useful): articles in childhood education, math journals, textbooks for language arts and philosophy, handouts in special education and psychology.
The most important knowledge gained about the psychology of teaching an learning has been:
- information regarding cognitive development
- use of co-operative groupings
- planning units and lessons
- use of positive reinforcement strategies
- values education, discipline, transactional analysis
My time could have been spent even more profitable if all my classes here had been integrated with practical application to the teaching situation. 89-010
I (now) value and respect teachers much more ... Their job and responsibilities are much more demanding than I thought. It's too abe that more people couldn't see what responsibilities and daily duties teachers have sot that they could be appreciated more. 89-011
I was shocked and upset by the number of children who come from broken homes and parents who don't seem to care. I am now more aware that children of all ages...are experiencing many forms of stress and often turn to their teacher for support. The teacher, I found out, is a very significant person and in some cases the most significant person in the child's life. 89-011
I used the Faculty of Education Library weekly looking for resources for presentations, reports, essays and units and as a resource during practice teaching sessions. I also used OISE and Robarts quite often for additional information. 89-011
Through all the methods used this year to acquire knowledge, e.g. group work, lectures, presentations, etc. the hands on and practice teaching sessions were the most valuable. 89-011
The most important thing I learned this year about the psychology of education is the importance of the teacher's role as "model"...At the Faculty and in my practice teaching this year, I have had the opportunity to view excellent role models as well as those (less than excellent). At first, I was shocked that those in the job of teaching future teachers would have become so (apathetic). I was harsh in my judgement until I tried an experiment which was the result of a comment made in your class. Since my home is my most familiar environment I decided to try the experiment there as it would closely parallel the seasoned teacher in the classroom. For three mornings running I taped "life" in our kitchen between 7 to 8 a.m. For the first two mornings I behaved the model wife and mother - nurturing, interested, etc. On the third morning, I forgot about the tape recorder. When I sat later to listen to the tape, I was horrified. In a matter of 15 minutes, I managed to raise my voice, loose my cool, ask questions to which I didn't listen to the answers and more. I realized then how easy it is to fall out of being a positive role model unless you are consciously aware of being a model. As a result, I have set up a schedule of regular tapings for home as well as for my classroom next year. 89-013
I am concerned that I do not have a good basis in evaluative techniques. I have these in theory but have not seen them in practice. 89-013
Just admitting to the stresses in my life and the need to do something about this is a real breakthrough for me. I am generally not very open about my feelings or needs. Your class may have helped me open up a few doors in that respect. 89-013
I have decided to learn more about stress management. Not just for myself, but for my family. I find that if I am stressed, then they are stressed. It is almost like a snowball effect. 89-013