was reading Korthagen (2017)’s article “inconvenient truths about teacher learning: towards professional development 3.0”, and saw the mention that very often teachers may find reflection not useful as they may not know how to do it. (p.392) Korthagen introduced a possible approach – ALACT model.
the 5-phase ALACT includes (1) action; (2) looking back on the action; (3) awareness of essential aspects; (4) creating alternative methods of action; (5) trial. apart from the how-to itself, Korthagen emphasised the importance of focusing on the emotional and motivational aspects (cf. rational) during the reflection. teachers should bring in their personal theories (which are grounded in their own practices and this more relevant) (cf. formal/experts’ theories). further scaffolds for the reflection to support the transition from phase 2 to 3 include asking the following questions (p.394):
0. What is the context?
1. What did I think?
2. How did I feel?
3. What did I want?
4. What did I do?
5. What did the pupils think?
6. How did the pupils feel?
7. What did the pupils want?
8. What did the pupils do?
such reflections are meaning-oriented (cf. action oriented (Hoekstra, 2007)) as it includes the dimensions of thinking, feeling, wanting and acting. for such reflections to be effective, it requires the guidance of experienced experts or more knowledgeable others. the “inconvenient truth” (p.393) for policymakers and teacher educators would be that “we will have to focus on individual teachers and support them in their idiosyncratic learning processes. (p.393)” following this argument, for teachers to effectively learn something that will improve their practices, individualised mentoring is a necessity. this perhaps explains the limited efficacy of mass-production-styled short-term workshops/courses. i think this has also serious implication on the Studios of our blended learning workshop design and implementation.
furthermore, meaning-oriented reflection should ideally include all the layers of the onion model (Korthagen, 2004): [inner most layer] (1) core qualities (“people’s personal qualities, such as creativity, trust, care, courage, sensitivity, decisiveness, spontaneity, commitment and flexibility” (p.396)); (2) Mission – what inspires me? what is my ideal?; (3) Identity – who am i (in my work)?; (4) Beliefs – what do i believe in the situation?; (5) Competenices – what am i competent at?; (6) Behaviour – what do i do?; (7) Environment – what do i encounter? what am i dealing with? [outer most layer] (as cited in p.395)
another important note towards the end of the article – always take into consideration the teacher’s (school) context of their actual work right from the beginning for any changes to occur. lastly, perhaps we already know, for any approach to be effective, it needs to be intensive and sustained over time.
Korthagen, F. (2017). Inconvenient truths about teacher learning: Towards professional development 3.0. Teachers and Teaching, 23(4), 387-405. DOI:10.1080/13540602.2016.1211523
(acknowledgement: Photo by WolfBlur)