It turns out that I have chosen two fantastic courses to start my Masters degree with, Educational Institutions as Organisations and Critical Reflection in Practice. With each module and each week of study I can see the connection between the two and the understanding of one needed to move forward in the other. This was summed up perfectly at the start of ‘Smart thinking : developing reflection and metacognition‘ by Wilson & Jan (2008) when they wrote:
If schools are to develop and implement effective teaching of how to think, within student-centred, constructivist classrooms, across and within all areas of the curriculum, it is advisable that teachers acknowledge, discuss and act upon four aspects relating to school culture: beliefs and understandings, teaching choices that promote reflective practice, a shared language, and assessment. (p. 8)
My project is going to be to design a series of lessons that teach metacognitive knowledge and apply it to critically reflecting on learning in a subject for a group of students in a particular year group. It will require students having an understanding of certain aspects of the school culture to feel it and understand it to be a valid and important task for them to complete I believe. Therefore, I will need to address some aspects of school culture with them as I help them also understand metacognitive knowledge and how to be critical reflective thinkers.
All of this supports my strong belief that teachers need to be seen to actively model habits/activities they want their students to be utilising as well. Our school places a high value on independent learning and developing lifelong learners, and our school motto/goal for the year has incorporated that element within it very strongly. It is also part of our culture that teachers be always actively engaged in lifelong learning activities and students are often able to visibly observe these occasions due to their location within the school. This is a great example of the culture of our school and how it can positively influence the students’ learning habits.
My passion is to help students find the value in employing critical reflection as a habit in helping them develop their metacognition and self-regulation in order to become more effective lifelong learners. I think one step towards that will be for me to model it for students, talk and think aloud about what I am doing and learning to model metacognition and self-regulation as critical reflection.
Exciting opportunities await and I am keen to start working towards this goal and critically reflecting on its effectiveness as it progresses.
Wilson, J., & Jan, L. W. (2008). Smart thinking: Developing reflection and metacognition. Curriculum Press.