Week 19 / Community of Practice

For this final reflection I will use Jay and Johnson’s Reflective Model to unpack my inquiry ideas and how it will align with and support the community of practices (CoP) views and needs.

Step 1 (Description): The inquiry topics I have chosen are broad, both ideas are similar, but I feel the content and knowledge that will be uncovered will support the learning across multiple disciplines and year levels.

The two areas of inquiry I am interested in are: Engaging students to develop critical thinking skills and Developing resilient, self-regulated learners (SRL)

The reason for choosing broad inquiry themes is the CoP I discuss and share ideas with are like minded secondary school teachers from different disciplines.

Joint enterprise: we want to support our learners the best we can through effective teaching and learning

Mutual engagement: we use group chat, Facebook group, study sessions and coffee groups to engage in critical conversations around teaching and learning to support each other

Shared repertoire: sharing relevant resources, thoughts and ideas from wider practice to inform our own practice

The inquiry will also support my role as a Dean and how I can support the wider community of teachers I work with beyond my small CoP.

Step 2 (Comparative): Growth Mindset, Critical Thinking, Resilience are all topics we discuss, so it was an obvious choice to include these components into my inquiry topics.

Why Self-regulation: Karlen (2016) states that self-regulated learning “is highly relevant for personal development as well as educational outcomes.” (p. 253). Self-regulation is about supporting learners development to be able to problem-solve, use specific learning strategies to support their own learning outcomes, process complex information and motivation to learn (Karlen, 2016). Self-regulated learners are able to set their own learning goals and evaluate their learning and information. Brown ((1998, as cited in De La Fuente, Manuel Martinez-Vicente, Lopez-Garcia, Zapata, Mariano-Vera, 2017) states that self-regulation is having the ability to monitor and change behaviour in different situations, challenges and changes that are happening. For learners to be self-regulated they need to be able to adapt.

Why Resilience: Resilience is an important skill to have when dealing with challenging situations. Resilience also works alongside developing positive and growth mindsets. Students will often find themselves in challenging situations, socially, emotionally or academic. To be able to continue to work and discover ability in these challenging situations is important for learners (De La Fuente et al,. 2017).

Why Critical Thinking: Critical thinking requires not just the ability to have higher order thinking, critical thinking requires motivation, cognition, attitude and disposition (Wechsler et al,. 2018). Critical thinking goes beyond the ability to process solely academic tasks. Learners who are able to use critical thinking skills see more success in their day to day personal and social lives (Wechsler et al,. 2018).

Step 3 (Critical reflection): Are all of these ideas necessary for an inquiry project, the more I researched the themes and discussed with the CoP and shared resources (The Learning Pit) I realised that maybe the inquiry project should be more focussed on mindsets. Positive Mindsets and Growth Mindsets were key areas that came up throughout my research. Resilience is key for growth mindset, self-regulation supports growth mindset. Critical thinking encompasses all of the these ideas. So maybe an inquiry around Mindsets, challenging thinking and ideas will support the CoP’s teaching and learning practices.



De La Fuente, J., Manuel Martinez-Vicente, J., Lopez-Garcia, M., Zapata, L., & Mariano-Vera, M. (2017). Personal Self-Regulation, Learning Approaches, Resilience and Test Anxiety in Psychology Students. Estudios Sobre Educacion, 329-26. doi:10.15581/004.32.9-26

Dweck, C. (2015). Carol Dweck revisits the growth mindset. Education Week, 35(5), 20-24.

Jay, J.K. and Johnson, K.L. (2002). Capturing complexity: a typology of reflective practice for teacher education. Teaching and Teacher Education, 18, 73-85.

Karlen, Y. (2016). Differences in students’ metacognitive strategy knowledge, motivation, and strategy use: A typology of self-regulated learners. Journal Of Educational Research, 109(3), 253-265. doi:10.1080/00220671.2014.942895

Wenger-Trayner, E., & Wenger-Trayner, B. (2015). Introduction to communities of practice: A brief overview of the concept and its uses. Retrieved from http://wenger-trayner.com/introduction-to-communities-of-practice/

Wechsler, Saiz, Rivas, Vendramini, Almeida, Mundim, & Franco. (2018). Creative and critical thinking: Independent or overlapping components? Thinking Skills and Creativity, 27, 114-122.



Week 18 / Future-oriented Learning and Teaching : Personalised Learning

Using the Gibbs Reflective Cycle I have chosen to reflect about Personalising Learning.

Step 1 (Description): Personalised Learning is a concept I have tried to emulate in my own practice over the past 10 weeks. In Design and Visual Communication (DVC) I have implemented a student driven project that focuses on the students developing the content and ideas. The project allows for students interests and fosters engagement in their own learning (DfES, 2014). Personalised learning pathways allows for students to work collaboratively with others to shape and have control of their learning (Prain et al., 2013).

Step 2 (Feelings): I have been trying to implement a personalised “authentic” learning approach into the coursework by allowing students to develop their own projects and pathways. The biggest challenge has been the specific assessment based tasks. The focus on assessment based tasks took away from the personalised learning approach. Leadbeater ((2005, 2005) as cited in Bolstad et al., 2012) states that personalising learning enables success through motivation. When students were working on set tasks their motivation waned significantly from what it was when they were exploring their own content and ideas.

Step 3 (Evaluation): Allowing for student voice and vision enabled students to bring their interests into the learning. The most challenging part for the students was developing their own ideas. Once students overcame the challenges of thinking like an ‘innovator’ they were able to see success in their own ideas. To support the learners, as a teacher and facilitator I needed to scaffold the process in a more succinct manner. An area I am still developing is co-constructing the Learning Intentions and Success Criteria with the students. As the project has progressed the students have become more au fait with this process. This also allowed for students to have full ownership over what success would look like.

Step 4 (Analysis): On review, the type of personalised learning in my classroom would be considered more shallow (simple) personalisation, where I have tried to allow for personalisation within the constraints of the curriculum and coursework (Bolstad et al., 2012). The authentic learning underpinning the implementation was to ensure that students were passionate and engaged in what they were working on and that it was relevant to them. However, the authentic learning didn’t involve the wider community outside of the classroom. Students did work collaboratively to produce real life ideas and needs. But the learning would still fall in “the shallow expression of practice…” (Bolstad et al., 2012, p. 49).

Step 5 (Conclusion): The driving factor was developing student engagement through an authentic project. But were the students really engaged? And how do I measure engagement? Almarode (as cited in Schwartz, 2016) states that there are eight different qualities that can indicate whether students are engaged in a lesson. Having at least three of the characteristics present in a lesson will enable students to have higher levels of engagement.

How well did the project develop engagement?

  1. The project allowed for personalisation, but was it enough to sustain high levels of engagement?
  2. Expectations were modelled, however, additional scaffolding was needed…
  3. There were opportunities for collaboration, class discussion and critique
  4. The project allowed for authentic outcomes

Step 6 (Action Plan):
The four points above were evident within the project, however, they were not necessarily happening in every lesson. Ensuring that at least three of the qualities are integrated into the planning for each lesson in future should enable students to have higher levels of engagement. As well as ensuring students are engaged in the learning, more personalisation is needed, students need to be able to work at their own pace through activities (Bolstad et al., 2012). As well as having more opportunities and flexibility around content, coursework and outcomes.

Bolstad, R., Gilbert, J., McDowall, S., Bull, A., Boyd, S., & Hipkins, R. (2012). Supporting future-oriented learning and teaching — a New Zealand perspective. Report prepared for the Ministry of Education. Retrieved from https://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/publications/schooling/109306

Department for Education and Skills (DfES). (2004). A national conversation about personalised learning. Nottingham: DfES. Retrieved from http://www.education.gov.uk/publications/eOrderingDownload/DfES%200919%20200MIG186.pdf

Finlay, L. (2009). Reflecting on reflective practice. PBPL. Retrieved from http://www.open.ac.uk/opencetl/sites/www.open.ac.uk.opencetl/files/files/ecms/web-content/Finlay-(2008)-Reflecting-on-reflective-practice-PBPL-paper-52.pdf

Prain, Vaughan, Cox, Peter, Deed, Craig, Dorman, Jeffrey, Edwards, Debra, Farrelly, Cathleen, . . . Yager, Zali. (2013). Personalised Learning: Lessons to Be Learnt. British Educational Research Journal, 39(4), 654-676.

Schwartz, K. (2016, December 9). How To Ensure Students Are Actively Engaged and Not Just Compliant [Web log message]. Retrieved from https://www.kqed.org


My Reflective Practice

Week 17 / My Reflective Practice

After watching the Reflective Writing Video and looking back on previous reflections I have made, it is evident that I have just written about events, issues and situations in a descriptive manner. There has been no specific focus on  “why?” or “how?”. Also, in my reflections, there has been no consideration of implications and little focus on the “so what?” (SkillsTeamHullUni, 2014). This raises the question of whether I am accurately reflecting about the learning? I often reflect on my way home in the car, critically analysing my actions and focussing on:

  • How could it have been done differently, and
  • If it can not change, how can I adapt, or even worse avoid?

The written component of reflecting on my practice is something I have struggled with for two reasons:

  1. Taking time to stop and actually write.
  2. The content of my reflection usually ends up being a rambling of feelings and regrets.

Using research to explore ways in which I can reflect in a more concise and meaningful manner is something I have not previously considered. I find it interesting knowing that reflection is part of the Professional Learning Standard from the Education Council (p. 20). when reviewing the responses to the survey, written reflection is something that as a collective of teachers we are not doing regularly. For example, a small number of responses (12/145) ‘Always or Frequently’ write a reflection in some form, while the majority ‘Sometimes, Rarely or Never’ write reflections. It is unclear if the reasons for the lack of written reflection is:

  • Due to a lack of time
  • Not knowing how to compartmentalise our thoughts/feelings into a written, coherent piece of reflective writing, or
  • We find talking to others to reflect is easier.

A majority of responses (122/145) ‘Always or Frequently’ reflect on their practice by talking to colleagues. However, how do we assess that these discussions are truly meaningful reflections? Dewey (1933) (as cited in Finlay, 2008, p.3) highlighted an interesting point, which made me question my own reflections and reflective practice: Do I capture the essence of reflective practice or is it just routine thinking?

The quality of my reflective practice falls more into the ‘Critique of self and practice’ category than a reflection that has depth and meaning. I spend more time looking back on the past event or situation and analysing it with a fine tooth comb than I do thinking about moving forward (SkillsTeamHullUni, 2014). Furthermore, I often focus on negative issues, associations or problems. I rarely reflect on successes or things that are working and how I could review and apply successful outcomes into other contexts (Ghaye, 2010). To further develop my own reflective practice, I will continue to use a reflective model like
Jay and Johnson’s (2002). This is because this model provides a structure for writing reflections (description, comparative and critical reflection) that is helpful and makes sense. I will also use more research and retheorising when writing reflections as these are areas in which my practice is lacking.


Education Council. (June, 2017). Our Code Our Standards. Retrieved from https://educationcouncil.org.nz/sites/default/files/Our%20Code%20Our%20Standards%20web%20booklet%20FINAL.pdf

Finlay, L. (2008). Reflecting on reflective practice. The Open University.

Ghaye, T. (2010). Teaching and learning through reflective practice : a practical guide for positive action. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral.proquest.com

Jay, J.K. and Johnson, K.L. (2002). Capturing complexity: a typology of reflective practice for teacher education. Teaching and Teacher Education, 18, 73-85.

SkillsTeamHullUni. (2014, March 3). Reflective writing.. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QoI67VeE3ds