Andy Warhol, one very famous USA pop-artist. I do not like this artist very much however, when I thought of writing this post I realised his paintings reflected what I wanted to communicate: how we can have different images of ourselves according to the different contexts, our feelings and emotions, the people around us.
As most of you already know, I have been in the Teaching and Learning world for more than 30 years, now. I have been a witness of how different theories and strategies with reference to effective teaching have evolved and how learners have responded to those theories. I had the chance to study and learn how to observe my practice and share with my colleagues successful approaches and those that were not very effective. I have been lucky enough in my professional life to work with amazing colleagues who helped me reflect, learn and therefore grow and develop; and hopefully I will continue evolving in the present and future. This is all absolutely inspiring to continue working on my own professional growth and the growth of my colleagues but, if all my learning, reflection and progress does not help learners in an effective and efficient way, all my professional development becomes an item for self-approbation and self-satisfaction.
What do I want to say with this reflection? In this post, I want to invite you to reflect honestly on how much we have actually done to keep pace with the needs of our learners today, moreover in this new teaching context, of COVID-19 pandemic. I want us to think deeply about how much of all the theory we read about learners’ development do we bring to our lessons. How many of the strategies we are offered in different conferences, webinars, and courses do we actually apply in our lessons?
I invite you to reflect on this thoroughly, go ahead and try to answer the following questions, they are just for you, nobody will read or assess your answers but you:
- Have you participated in any Professional Development event in the last year?
- Why? Or Why not?
- What do you remember from those events?
- Name 3 strategies or ideas you were able to use in class.
- According to your own perception of your lessons, how effective are your lessons in catering for the needs of ALL your learners to engage in the lesson, commit to the challenge and be eager to learn?
- How the changes in the teaching and learning context in this year of global pandemic, helped you improve as a professional?
- If you had the freedom to choose your approach, your timing, your resources and your assessment methods, what would you change from what you are doing now to foster the effective development of your learners?
- What changes do you feel we teachers have the possibility to implement today? What do we need for that?
Take your time to answer the questions above. Bear in mind that to be self-aware of your professional decisions and skills is not easy. It requires courage and a great amount of honesty, to accept and acknowledge both, strengths and weaknesses.
Just in case you want to give your opinion on the topic, leave a comment below. I would love to read your comments on this post and I promise future posts on what I consider could be positive and possible strategies to put into practice ASAP to keep improving our own performance as teachers and learners, despite the teaching and learning context.