professornana (professornana) wrote,

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The Scrutinies

During the Lenten season, those who wish to become Catholics undergo an intense period of education. During the final weeks of Lent, they are subjected to scrutinies during the service. It is a time of intense self-reflection and examination. During the scrutiny on Sunday, I paused to consider not just the need for a spiritual scrutiny in my own life, but what that scrutiny would look like in the life of a teacher.

I like the term reflective practitioner. I do not mean for it to replace "teacher" or even my friend Paul Hankins' term, "lead learner." I do not want to see us juggle jargon (hey, alliteration!) as has been the case in this latest reform movement. But I do think reflection is key. And it is not new. But it is necessary.

When I entered the classroom many years ago when the dinosaurs had just gone extinct, I went into the classroom without children's and/or YA literature courses. Nothing was mentioned in college classes about reading-writing workshops. Multicultural literature was Huck Finn and little else. Writing was all about grammar. And a course on management and "discipline"? Not part of my education. Thus, I entered that first classroom and learned all that I did not know. Year after year, my practice has evolved because I take time to ask myself (and my students) What worked? What failed? Why?

I wonder if we could take this idea of scrutiny one step further. Can we ask those taking education courses to stop and reflect along the way? Scrutiny might help us better prepare students to enter those classrooms. It should not stop there, though. Scrutiny, reflection, pausing to consider what worked and did not work should be something we all find time for in our crazy schedules. Perhaps a PD day or two could be set aside for scrutiny and reflection, a time for talking to our colleagues, a time to consider important articles about practice from the past and present? I think scrutiny could also be a useful tool for those supervising teachers AND for students.

Can we find time once we are on the job to sit with colleagues and reflect? This needs to be done outside of formal evaluation. It needs to be part and parcel of what we do on a regular basis.

To that end, please join @donalynbooks and me (@professornana) on April 13 at 7 pm Central time to discuss (reflect) on Dick Allington's article EVERY CHILD, EVERY DAY:,-Every-Day.aspx.
Tags: reflection
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