It is always fascinating to complete a critical reflection on one’s own practice. I believe in transparency so I will identify and share two key competencies that I have spent time developing over the past 24 weeks whilst working towards my Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Practice (Digital & Collaborative Learning). I will also look into two key changes I have made in my practice to benefit the children I serve.
For those of you that have no idea what the key competencies are, it is my privilege to share them with you. You can click on the links to review the summary of each.
The New Zealand Curriculum identifies five key competencies:
- using language, symbols, and texts
- managing self
- relating to others
- participating and contributing
The two that I feel that have made the most significant progress with are relating to others and participating and contributing.
Relating to others is about actively listening, recognising different points of view, negotiating these and sharing my own. Sounds easy right? Have you ever walked into a room of educated people and felt an overwhelming need to say nothing in case you say the wrong thing? The mere thought of rocking up to someone and sharing my knowledge was not something I was particularly comfortable about. I’m good at thinking, but articulating ideas can be a challenge for me as I have a tendency to bounce around a bit, which makes me hard to follow. Being on this Postgraduate programme has given me a better understanding of the pedagogy that underpins the decisions we make as a teacher. This knowledge has helped me gain confidence and acceptance that it is okay not to know everything. Armed with this knowledge I find it easier to relate to others, let them take the lead when necessary, negotiate around differing points of view, and be confident in my own decisions.
Participating and contributing is about actively being involved in communities. Originally I thought that this was a strength of mine, but upon reflection I can see I was deluding myself. I have taught now for over 10 years, and when I look back, I have not really gone beyond connecting with the families of the children I teach. Last year saw me reaching out and becoming more active in our school community. This goes beyond the usual engagement where I have been involved in after school sport, dance splash and so on. Professional development within the school, and the undertaking of the Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Practice (Digital & Collaborative Learning), has required me to step out of my classroom, and engage more often with my professional peers, student’s families and extended whānau to find out what they think, and what they want for their children. Contributing has its challenges as often I find that I do not have the answers to hand, but I recognise that it is important to engage with others, and encourage myself and them to participate on joint projects for the betterment of our tamaraki.
When I reflect on these changes to my practice, it would be remiss of me not to consider how others perceive me. I will always be a strong personality to contend with, and when I have a view that I feel strongly about, you will no doubt hear about it. But I am also empathic, and I have integrity. I am open to others views, and I am working on listening without interrupting. There will be times when I might not agree with someone’s views in the first instance, but upon reflection (which is one of my strengths) I am able to consider all the information and make a considered decision.
Lastly, I would like to share a recent change that has played a significant role in keeping myself accountable and aware of my purpose when working with others. My new slogan I have recently adopted has come from Rolfe et al.’s (2001) reflective model:
What? So what? Now What?
The MindLab by Unitec. (2015). Postgrad Studies: programme overview. Retrieved online on 26/01/2016 from: http://themindlab.com/programme-overview/
New Zealand Curriculum. (2007). Key Competencies. Retrieved online on 26/01/2016 from: http://nzcurriculum.tki.org.nz/The-New-Zealand-Curriculum/Key-competencies
Rolfe, G., Freshwater, D., Jasper, M. (2001) Critical reflection in nursing and the helping professions: a user’s guide. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Retrieved online on 26/01/2016 from: http://www.cumbria.ac.uk/Public/LISS/Documents/skillsatcumbria/ReflectiveModelRolfe.pdf