WALKING OUR ROADS OF PRACTICE Stephen Brookfield Distinguished University Professor University of St. Thomas www.stephenbrookfield.com
Stephen’s ASSUMPTIONS • Sincerity of Our Actions NOT Correlated with Students’ Goodwill • Good Practice = Whatever Helps Students Learn • Best Teaching is Critically Reflective • Most Important Pedagogic Knowledge - How Students Experience Learning • Context Changes Everything
CRITICAL INCIDENT QUESTIONNAIRE (CIQ) • Most Engaged Moment • Most Distanced Moment • Most Helpful Action • Most Puzzling Action • What Surprised You Most
WHY CIQ’s? • Problems Warned Early • Ground Teachers’ Actions • Increase Student Reflectivity • Build Trust • Illustrate Diverse Methods • Model Critical Thinking
QUESTION • Horton & Freire both position themselves as adult educators working in an adult way with their communities. • When have you been treated as an adult? What was it that someone did that made you feel you were regarded as adult?
CIRCLE OF VOICES • Begin with a minute’s quiet thought • Go round the group & have each person speak their thoughts on the topic for up to a minute – NO INTERRUPTIONS ALLOWED • Move into open conversation – but you can only talk about what someone else said in the opening round
Engaging Our Learners • “The teacher has to know the content that he teaches. Then in order to teach … she has first of all to know … why the student … really learns when the student becomes able to know the content taught” p. 57
QUESTION • Horton & Freire both explore how to draw participants into the educational process so that they are co-creators of what happens. • In your experience, what does an engaged classroom LOOK, SOUND or FEEL like?
CHALK TALK • Facilitator writes a question in the center of the board & circles it • Whenever they wish people go to the board & write responses to question • Others draw lines between responses to show connections/differences • Facilitator adds responses as needed
QUESTION • “Knowing … from the point of view of my body, my sensual body .. is full of feelings, of emotions, of tastes” (p. 23) • What emotions and feelings affect your learning? What situations prompt these?
CIRCULAR RESPONSE Individuals reflect on a topic for discussion One person starts by giving her reflections on the topic. Up to 1 minute allowed - no interruptions Person to left of 1st speaker goes next - whatever she says MUST somehow refer to/build on previous speaker’s comments (can be a disagreement or express confusion). Up to 1 minute allowed - no interruptions Process continues leftwards around the circle with people speaking in order until all have participated Group moves into open conversation with no particular ground rules in force
Quotes to Affirm & Challenge Each participant brings in a quote she wishes to affirm, & one she wishes to challenge, from the assigned reading Quotes to affirm - resonate with experience, explain difficult concepts clearly, add significant new information, are cogently expressed, are rhetorically powerful etc. Quotes to challenge - immoral/unethical, poorly expressed, factually wrong, contradict experience Quotes are shared in small groups & each group chooses ONE to affirm & ONE to challenge In large group conversation the small group communicates rationales for each of these choices
NEWSPRINT DIALOG • Small groups put their deliberations on newsprint sheets - no reporter is chosen to report these out • Newsprint sheets are then posted around the room & blank sheets posted next to each sheet • Each participant takes a marker & wanders by herself around the room - she writes her questions, reactions, agreements etc. directly onto the sheets or on the blanks posted next to them • Groups reassemble at their postings to see what others have written
MODELING • “I think that it’s really impossible to teach how to think more critically by just making a speech about critical thought. It’s absolutely indispensable to give a witness, an example, of thinking critically to the students” p. 173
QUESTION • What would you like your learners or colleagues to say about your practice when they were out of your earshot?
Circle of Voices • Begin with a minute’s quiet thought • Go round the group & have each person speak their thoughts on the topic for up to a minute – NO INTERRUPTIONS ALLOWED • Move into open conversation – but you can only talk about what someone else said in the opening round
Creating the Need for Learning • “We cannot educate if we don’t start & I said start & not stay – from the levels in which the people perceive themselves, their relationships with the others & their reality” • “Then 1 of the tasks of the educator is to provoke the discovering of need for knowing & never to impose the knowledge whose need was not yet perceived” p. 66
QUESTION • How can we create the need for knowing and learning in our own students?
DRAWING DISCUSSION • Individually draw responses to the question. Abstract is fine • Small group members then come together and each person explains their drawing or collage to the other group members • Group prepares a drawing representing the conversation discussing individual drawings
DRAWING DISCUSSION • One member takes notes so s/he can interpret • Each group displays its drawing w/ a blank sheet next to it • Participants wander & add comments or drawing to postings • Class reconvenes to debrief
Examining Our Experience • “We have to create in ourselves, through critical analysis of our practice, some qualities, some virtues as educators” (p. 158) • Our formation as teachers is “a permanent process … a critical understanding of what we do” p. 221
Examining Our Experience • “A good teacher is the teacher who … is permanently aware of surprise & never, never, stops being surprised” p. 66 • What is a situation in your practice that puzzlesor surprises you – something where you’re not sure what is happening or how to respond?
CRITICAL CONVERSATION PROTOCOL • Storyteller tells the tale - no interruptions • Detectives ask questions about story • Detectives report out assumptions they hear • Detectives offer alternative interpretations • Participants do an experiential audit (what have we learned, would do differently etc.) Umpire enforces ground rules throughout
RESOURCES from Stephen • Books that Emphasize Practice: • Teaching for Critical Thinking (2012) • The Skillful Teacher (2006, 2nd. Ed.) • Discussion as a Way of Teaching (w/ Stephen Preskill, 2005, 2nd. Ed.) • Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher (1995) • www.stephenbrookfield.com
RESOURCES from Stephen • Books that Emphasize Theory: • Radicalizing Learning (w/ John Holst) 2010 • Handbook of Race & Adult Education (w/ Vanessa Sheared et. al.). 2010 • Learning as a Way of Leading (w/ Stephen Preskill) 2008 • The Power of Critical Theory (2004) All published by Jossey-Bass