...and Friday was a blinder just to finish up that weeks review of highs and lows

I know it makes pretty dull reading and I apologise to anyone tuning in to read my witterings at the moment. Teaching is a profession that, at least during training, takes over your life. I make no apologies for the decline in quality of my blog as this merely reflects the decline in quality of my life.

In teaching the buzzword of the moment is reflection, and everyone aims to be a "reflective" practitioner, whatever one of those is. The word in it's present usage seems to have it's origins with a philosophy professor Donald Schon.

I was directed to the works of Donald Schon on reflective practice in teaching, as part of my adult numeracy teaching course the other day and read through a web summary of what he termed reflection-in-action and reflection-on-action. These two terms build on his earlier works on double-loop learning by changing the Governing variables and underlying behaviour instead of superficial action response to a situation, i.e. shifting the focus of response from strategy and consequence to the framework within which the strategy and consequence is framed.

Schons best known work though is that of defining the reflective practitioner, and that is what he is remembered for today. In it he describes reflection-in-action as the sort of spontaneous response to a new situation (like thinking on your feet) in which reflection is the practice of using our past experience to inform our present decision-making process. With reference to double-loop learning this is akin to a single-loop cycle in which we modify our superficial actions in response to a situation.

Reflection-on-action is the practise of reflecting after the event and using this to inform what we do in a future situation. The response after an event could be either to inform our decision on action to be taken (again single loop learning) or a modification to the entire framework within which we think in order to try to prevent the situation arising or to rectify that situation. This is the concept of double loop learning.

Coincidentally I came out with exactly that philosophy myself a couple of weeks back but not in so many words right here and had effectively undergone a double loop transformation before your eyes here (what exactly are we rebelling against again?) right in front of your eyes clear for all to see. Philosophy really is the science of stating the obvious, while the rest of us just get on with it.

It's likely that after this course I will want to double loop back on myself as this is fucking hard. I have a dream which i dream day in day out since being here. Like Bro U I have my motivating dream to hang on to get me through this course, and that's to go and live like a foreign teaching hermit and kung fu monkey in China when this is all over. I dream of waking up in the morning, doing 5000 pushups, teaching some very poor, very appreciative people and being part of a community.

Maybe I'm getting old, maybe I'm tired of life, but London teaching is probably not for me.
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