Monthly Archives: August 2015

Korea Reflective Practice Special Interest Group (Korea RPSIG) Day of Reflection, August 22 2015.

Inspired by Dr. Thomas S.C. Farrell, the Korea reflective practice SIG held its first Day of Reflection on Saturday, August 22. Presenters and participants from all over Korea came to Sookmyoung Women’s University in Seoul for the event.
This post was originally going to be an article about the event, but now it’s not so here it is.

Making some omelets with Shannon Tanghe

Making some omelets with Shannon Tanghe

To kick off the event, Shannon Tanghe, a teacher educator of Danguk University in Incheon, gave a workshop titled, “Reflective Teacher Collaboration”. Dan Lortie (75) called teaching an egg-crate profession – teachers tend to be separate from each other and work alone in their classrooms –  and Shannon suggested we start making omelets through collaboration with other teachers. Shannon took us on her own journey exploring collaboration and recommended a lot of tools teachers can use to collaborate together, including collaborative journaling, collaborative lesson plan reviewing, peer observation. She challenged us to identify who we would like to collaborate with and make a plan. Shannon ended by reminding us that reflection does not stop here: having events like a Day of Reflection are great, but they are not enough if we don’t continue to reflect.

"Teachers need to practice to improve their own reflective skills."

“Teachers need to practice to improve their own reflective skills.”

The second presenter was Kim Mikyoung, a high school teacher and teacher trainer from Daegu. Mikyoung graciously shared a program she and her colleagues ran with a group of high school students that centered on teaching students to reflect on their learning. Mikyoung showed videos of student reflections and shared the materials she used in her program. Mikyoung’s presentation reminded us all that students need to reflect to learn, and so do we. She said, “Teachers need to practice to improve their own reflective skills.” According to Mikyoung, it takes reflective teachers to instill those skills in their students.

Charting our professional paths with Jocelyn Wright.

Charting our professional paths with Jocelyn Wright.

Jocelyn Wright came all the way from Mokpo to honor us with a highly interactive third workshop on the day. She began by asking us to use a prompt to tell the story of our own journey to becoming a teacher. This is how she introduced the concept of “revelatory incidents.” By using participants’ own experiences, Jocelyn led us to reflect on the specific incidents in our teaching careers that changed us as teachers. One of the things I realized learning from other teachers in my small group during this presentation is that “revelatory incidents” might feel uncomfortable, but it is just such an experience that helps a teacher to grow. Jocelyn also emphasized that teachers change and evolve all the time and our reflective path does not stop with one Day of Reflection but must continue in the future.

Chris Miller guides a reflection on critical incidents.

Chris Miller guides a reflection on critical incidents.

The fourth workshop of the day was titled “Using Critical Incidents to Further Professional Development.” Christopher Miller, a teacher at Daeil Foreign Language High School, shared a framework for reflecting on critical incidents. The framework included four questions: What happened? Why did it happen? What might it mean? and What are the implications for practice? Chris began by giving examples from his own experience and encouraged us to do the same: to share our critical incidents in groups and hear each other’s perspectives. Chris also provided materials to use on our own for teachers’ and students’ reflections on critical incidents.

Reflecting on the reflections on reflection. Meta-meta.

Reflecting on the reflections on reflection. Meta-meta.

The day ended with a final reflection session in small groups facilitated by Michael Griffin. Michael provided participants with some questions to help them reflect on the four previous sessions and asked groups to discuss the most interesting questions. The group I was in was most interested in teaching learners to reflect and spent our time discussing ways that learners can be motivated to care about their learning. This led into a final question and answer period in which presenters answered participants’ questions regarding their workshops. A common thread throughout all the workshops was that reflection does not stop here — it is a continuous process to develop as teachers. Michael ended the evening by reminding us of this again.

This day of reflection was valuable for me as a teacher, and I hope it was also valuable for other participants. I am eternally grateful to the presenters for donating their time and expertise and to the participants for coming to learn together. I would also like to thank Sookmyoung University Injaegwan for the space for this event. I hope we can have other events like it in the future.

The reflective practice special interest group has regular meetings in Seoul, Daegu, and Gwangju. For more information, search the Korea Reflective Practice Special Interest Group on Facebook.

Bonus photo:

Post-workshop awesomeness

Post-workshop awesomeness

when they’re just not feeling it (a thing that happened today)

Photo by Emiichann. Taken from wikicommons: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hand_whit_I%27m_bored.jpg

Photo by Emiichann. Taken from wikicommons: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hand_whit_I%27m_bored.jpg

It’s the midsummer heat. The air conditioner is only just keeping up.
It’s summer vacation from school. But not from academy.
It’s the last five minutes of their last class before dinner time.
It’s routine that has long since lost its novelty. 

“Repeat the reading after the cd.”
Line by line, they repeat. Their eyes getting deader and deader.
Suddenly I start to laugh. I can’t help it. They notice and look curious.
“What?”
“You guys. These are your faces. Look around.”
They grin a bit.
“Okay,” I say. “Read the next part like you’re really angry.” I put my hands on my hips and narrow my eyes to demonstrate. Some copy me.
“Okay that’s good. Now do the next one like you’re sleepy.” I put my head to the side and speak slowly. They’re getting into it.
“Nice work. Can you do the next one like you’re robots?” I snap my arms and legs together and some of them do too.
“Good. Do this one like you’re excited.” I raise my arms up. They don’t.
“Not quite. Excited has wider eyes. Say it with your eyes wide open.”
By now they’re all smiling.
“Do the last line like you’re happy.” I smile with them.
“Remember to smile!”

And it’s kind of amazing how the reading aloud (which I use to check pronunciation and intonation) turned from drudgery into tomfoolery with just a tiny change. It also helped them practice a variety of intonations and make the reading more interesting. 

%d bloggers like this: