A Study of the Personality Traits of a Mindful Professional

Last Updated: 17 May 2023
Essay type: Reflective
Pages: 9 Views: 98

In 'Reflective Professional Part One', I considered critically and analytically the purpose and value of reflection and reflective practice. Further to this, I explored a significant amount of models that encompass the features of reflection, but acknowledged these as encouragingone common purpose - to 'promote a higher quality of education' (Chaudhry, 2015, p.4). Conclusively, I established reflective practice as 'pivotal to a professionals development and improvement' (Chaudhry, 2015, p.4). In this essay, I will select two themes from my weekly reflections related to the Phase One School Experience Placement, and identify a key issue within each that illustrates an aspect of teaching and learning. Furthermore, I will critically analyse the value of these reflections in supporting my professional development.

During my Phase One School Experience Placement, I identified demonstrating consistently 'the positive attitudes, values and behaviour which are expected of pupils', outlined in Teacher Standard 1 as a target for development (Department of Education, 2013, p.10). As a result of my casual demeanor and illegible handwriting, I often found myself unable to establish a presence where pupils would develop a relationship with me 'rooted in mutual respect' (Department of Education, 2013, p.10).

Indeed, this was formally observed and was theme for in-depth reflection, it particularly affected my ability to begin demonstrating suitable evidence towards Teacher Standard 1. Certainly, a professional must 'develop effective professional relationships with colleagues, knowing how and when to draw on advice and specialist support', as outlined in Teacher Standard 8 (Department of Education, 2013, p.13). Therefore, formal feedback has been invaluable to my professional development, without which may have impacted pupils' learning.

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[...] children have commented that they are unable to neither read my handwriting upon the IWB nor respond to my feedback in their workbooks. I am not consistently demonstrating neat cursive handwriting and this is confusing children about what is expected from them'. (13th November 2015).

Since a child my handwriting has been inconsistent and upon refection, I recognize this impacting my teaching practice. As a result of minimal practice, I am struggling to demonstrate neat cursive handwriting that is legible and expected of all pupils; therefore on occasion I have resorted to type upon the Interactive Whiteboard. However, this too has hindered my teaching practice as I repeatedly turn my back upon pupils to type, causing a call for inappropriate behaviour. Both my School Based Mentor and University Liaison Tutor observed this.

To develop this target I outlined the following action plan: 'In discussion with my CT I will continuously practice writing upon the IWB to develop a sense of confidence. Furthermore, there are handwriting guides available for me to download and practice my cursive handwriting on paper so that children can begin to identify feedback and respond to this'. (13th November 2015).

I was fortunate enough to identify this issue during Week Two of the Phase One Placement and identified myself to be practicing Donald Schön's model of reflection: 'reflection-in-action' (Schön (1983), cited in Pollardet al., 2014, p.76). In this sense, I was immediately conscious of my illegible handwriting and began to continuously erase errors, so that pupils could better read my handwriting. Indeed, neat handwriting is a skill that improves over time, however, as a professional I am accountable for pupils' attainment, progress and outcomes' in all aspects of learning (Department of Education, 2013, p.10).

Therefore, I must consistently carry out actions that endeavor to develop this target so as not to demonstrate skills that are not expected of pupils. Joseph Boyle discusses this importance of not practicing skills incorrectly further; 'particularly in the area of motor skills such as handwriting [because] correcting it later becomes extremely difficult' (Boyle, 2009, p.231).

Further to this, I encouraged pupils to observe my handwriting and provide me with constructive feedback, similar to peer-assessment. In this sense, pupils were able to recognize my errors and not repeat these in their writing. As a result, I was able to create an atmosphere where pupils took ownership of their learning and '[shared] goals' (Hargreaves, Gipps and Pickering, 2014, p.319). In contrast, where I was failing to immediately recognize my errors, I adopted Pollard's practice of 'learning with colleagues' (Pollardet al., 2014, p.84).

With pupils, I was able to collaboratively reflect upon my own errors and discuss these reoccurrences in greater depth. Following this, I believed the emphasis upon handwriting as a skill would 'guide pupils to reflect upon the progress they have made and their emerging needs', as outlined in Teacher Standard 2 (Department of Education, 2013, p.10). Eleanore Hargreaves discusses this notion further and suggests how, as a result of peer and self- assessment, 'learners are more aware, not only of what they learn, but how they learn and what helps them learn' (Hargreaves, Gipps and Pickering, 2014, p.318).

Moreover, during my Phase One School Experience Placement, I struggled to consistently demonstrate balanced manner. Indeed, an enthusiastic professional 'exhibits [...] high energy [...] and supports his or her explanations by an animated tone [, avoiding] distracting [...] mannerisms' (Hatvia, 2001, p.248).

'My manner in the classroom is becoming a point of concern. I am unconsciously, shuffling and over-animating my gestures. I am unsure if this is a result of me being anxious whilst being observed. However, where a dynamic practitioner is understood as encouraging pupil achievement, my approach is hindering my performance and causing distractions. I will need to reflect upon my manner in greater depth and begin to develop targets, which encourage modeling the correct behaviour expected from all pupils'. (27th November 2015).

Although my manner was involuntary, I was demonstrating behaviour that went against my classroom discipline and this became an open call to pupils for inappropriate behaviour. Further to this, I reflected upon my previous experience as a Teaching Assistant. Previously, I supervised a Special Educational Needs (SEN) pupil (ZS) with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), supporting their speech and language in the classroom; this opportunity enabled me to learn new and effective behaviour management strategies.

Taking this experience forward, I began to strengthen my understanding of provision that was put in place for a pupil (AB) with ADHD in my class. Upon research, I identified high levels of energy encouraged overactive behaviour and to manage this AB was encouraged to take regular but short movement breaks. With this in plan, I too began taking opportunity of playground duties to release energy and control my involuntary mannerisms. Furthermore, reflecting upon my experience as a Teaching Assistant, I remembered providing ZS with objects that delivered a kinaesthetic channel for hyperactivity (Lucas, 2005, p.156). Indeed, I found these outlets impacted my teaching positively and as my imbalanced manner progressed I embraced the role of a teaching practitioner with more poise.

Moreover, during my Phase One School Experience Placement, I identified how differentiation for inclusion was a returning target for development. 'I am still learning how to write a Learning Objective that clarifies the skills and concepts to be learnt by pupils in the place of writing an objective that is detailing the specific task. For example, 'to add numbers by using objects' or 'to use features of instructional writing'. In discussion with my CT, I can adapt Learning Objectives to meet the abilities of all pupils through appropriate differentiation. As of yet, I am providing lower achievers with appropriate tasks that secure their understanding and begin to strengthen their knowledge. However, I am yet to challenge middle/higher achievers and develop tasks for 'mastery'. (4th December 2015).

Upon reflection, I identified how the majority of my teaching was developed upon planning for low achieving pupils. These pupils had access to a range of resources to help facilitate their learning appropriately. However, when planning for pupils of mid to high achievement I resorted to continuous written extensions that would keep pupils engaged. Indeed, this did not contribute towards pupil progress and discouraged learning towards 'mastery'.

As a result, pupils became disengaged and found a channel to demonstrate inappropriate behaviour. Norris Haynes discusses this further and suggests that 'if there is a disconnect between the material being taught [...] and a [pupil's] capacity to receive it, the result could be that [pupils] may display behavioral problems [as an outlet] to escape [...] learning [...]. This may apply to [pupils] who [...] feel unchallenged' (Haynes, 2013, p.17).

To develop this target I outlined the following action plan: 'I will begin to research [...] approaches to differentiation through comprehensive observations of more experienced practitioners. In addition, I will begin to secure better subject knowledge to further adapt teaching to respond to the strengths and needs of all pupils, as outlined in Teacher Standard 5 (Department of Education, 2013, p.11)'. (4th December 2015)

In this instance, I adopted John Dewey's model of reflection: 'reflective action' (1933, cited in Pollardet al., 2014, p.75). Dewey suggests that, as reflective professionals, we 'engage in constant self-appraisal and development' (1933, cited in Pollard et al., 2014, p.71). In this sense, by reflecting upon pupils' behaviour and written assessment, it became evident how the differentiation in my planning was not developed well enough to ensure effective learning and as a result I would have to develop my planning.

Moreover, upon reflection, I considered Gill Bottle and her dialogue upon 'investigative tasks' (2005, p.115) that 'promote good [...] outcomes by pupils', no matter of their ability (Department of Education, 2013, p.10). Bottle suggests planning for an activity that is accessible to all achievers, following this, pupils will 'begin to tackle [a] problem at their own level', before leading to discussion between mixed abilities (2005, p.115). Considering Bottle, I was able to apply this notion when developing planning.

[...] Bottle suggests planning tasks that includes pupils of all abilities. I put this into practice by arranging an activity where different achieving groups of pupils had specific roles towards a whole class Maths investigation [...] each group had a task [...] that enhanced their capabilities [...] as a whole the investigative task was enjoyable and pupils were thoroughly engaged and challenged [...] Upon reflection, I noticed that this task appealed greatly to kinesthetic learners yet did not present a problem for disruptive behaviour'. (20th November 2015)

Furthermore, during my Phase One School Experience Placement, I began to consider effective modes to differentiate English. To action this target I drew upon 'specialist support' from the English Coordinator at my school (Department of Education, 2013, p.13).

'In discussion with the English Coordinator I have discovered the importance of mid- plenaries to correct common misconceptions [...] further to this, shared writing is encouraged throughout the school so that pupils can articulate their thoughts confidently and develop an understanding of what is expected to achieve the learning objective [...] in further discussion, the Coordinator discussed her practice to adapt teaching as it occurs, as a result this constant development would embrace learners and their abilities.' (6th November 2015)

As outlined in Teacher Standard 8, by drawing upon 'advice and specialist support' (Department of Education, 2013, p.13), I identified the importance of 'reflection-in-action' and its value to the development of my own practice (Schön (1983), cited in Pollardet al., 2014, p.76). Moreover, in discussion with the English Coordinator, I identified the significance of pupil dialogue.

Upon further reflection, I noticed how higher achievers were able to provide evidence, by written assessment, to demonstrate they could achieve the learning objective. However, if I began to develop a conversation with these pupils and encourage reasoning behind their answers they would begin to struggle. As a result, I planned for more opportunities that encouraged pupils to 'Think-Pair-Share'. As I evaluated these lessons, I recognized how dialogue provided an outlet for higher achievers to teach their peers and take ownership of their learning; but significantly, this pedagogy allowed me to address common misconceptions that would not have been evident in written assessment.

[...] planning for dialogue introduced by Spencer Kagan as 'Think-Pair-Share' (Kagan, 1999) [...]. This develops thought and promotes talk for learning (Kagan, 1998) [...]. It is a strategy where 'pupils and teachers address learning tasks together [...] rather than in isolation [...] pupil dialogue becomes crucial to encouraging pupils to interact with their reasoning behind choices'. (6 November 2015)

Conclusively, as a reflective practitioner, I have been able to evaluate my performance for development; and further encourage 'a steady increase in the quality of the education provided' (Pollard et al., 2014, p.68). Further to this, I have identified the importance of reflection upon both positive and negative practice. Indeed, our positive practice informs practitioners alike of what we need to continue to become Teachers who '[achieve] the highest possible standards in work and conduct' (Department of Education, 2013 p.10). Further to this,as I reflect upon my own reflections from the Phase One School Experience Placement, I have developed both an awareness and appreciation to the practice of reflection and what answers it provides for me.

[...] as I approach the end of my placement I feel confident [...] I have adopted a range of pedagogies whilst on placement [...] some successful and others not. However, by drawing upon advice from more experienced teachers and by critically evaluating my performance, I have been able to find successful resolutions for concerns in my teaching and the pupils' learning'. (14th December 2015).

References

  1. Boyle, Joseph and Scanlon, David (2009) Methods and Strategies for Teaching Students with Mild Disabilities: A Case-Based Approach. Canada: Cengage Learning.
  2. Bottle, G. (2005) Teaching Mathematics in the Primary School. London: Continuum.
  3. Chaudhry, Anna (2015) 'Consider critically and analytically the purpose and value of reflection and reflective practice, supporting your discussion with relevant reading'. London: Kingston University.
  4. Department for Education (2013) Teachers' Standards (2013). Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment data/file/301107/Teachers Standards.pdf [Accessed: 31st April 2016].
  5. Hativa, N. (2001) Teaching for effective learning in higher education. Netherlands: Springer Science & Business Media.
  6. Formative Hargeaves, E, Gipps, C. and Pickering, A. (2014) 'Assessemnt for Learning: Appraches' in, Cremin, T and Arthur, J (eds.) Learning to Teach in the Primary School. Oxon and New York: Routledge.
  7. Haynes, N. (2013) Behavior Management: Traditional and expanded approaches. USA: Rowman & Littlefield.
  8. Kagan, S. (1999) The 'E' of PIES. Available at: http://www.kaganonline.com/free articles/dr spencer kagan/ASK05.php [Accessed: 5th December 2015].
  9. Lucas, R. (2005) People strategies for trainers. New York: AMACOM.
  10. Pollard, A., Black-Hawkins, K., Cliff Hodges, G., Dudley, P., James, M., Linklater, Swaffield, S., Swann, M., Turner, F., Warwick, P., Winterbottom, M. and Wolpert, A. M. (2014) Reflective Teaching in Schools. London: Bloomsbury. H.

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A Study of the Personality Traits of a Mindful Professional. (2023, May 17). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/a-study-of-the-personality-traits-of-a-mindful-professional/

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