Speaker: Akiko Takagi
Summary: Gunma JALT presentations customarily center around ideas and activities for students. This month, however, was a refreshing change of pace. Instead of focusing on student progress, Dr. Akiko Takagi reminded us of how important it is to reflect on our development as teachers.
During the first half of her lecture, Takagi defined reflection and classified different types of reflection. She then proceeded to introduce several frameworks to aide teachers in reflection on their classes. Student observation includes activities such as student questionnaires and free writing exercises which can engage students more fully in the class. Self observation can be done by recording one's own class by video or audio and is useful for evaluation and management of one's own classroom behaviors. And peer observation can provide both the observed and the observer with opportunities to discover how other teachers deal with common difficulties.
Takagi promised the second-half of her lecture would be entertaining, and she did not disappoint. She led the participants through three different reflection activities. In the first, participants were asked to draw a picture as a metaphor for the roles you and your students take in class. (See below for examples.) The second activity was to create a idea map of different aspects teachers can reflect on. And the last activity was to talk with a partner about a "critical incident": some significant event that occurred in our classes.
Not only was Takagi's presentation fun and informative, it reminded participants that just as language learning is a never-ending process, so is our individual development as teachers.