Workshop 2B
Title: Reflective Practice

Teachers need to be equipped to engage in and negotiate a process of on-going professional learning. Everything that happens in a classroom isn’t necessarily our idea/fault/problem/concern/issue but – it’s generally us that have to work out what to do. There is not one right approach; classrooms are complex places and teaching is a complex job; our learning and professional growth is never over.  As teachers we need to give ourselves the luxury of time to reflect on our practice and work out “where to from here?”. Reflection allows us to think about what we do in the classroom and why we do what we do. Reflection allows us to analyse if what we’re doing works and consider changes and adaptations we might make. A lesson may seem full of life and students may be enjoying themselves but not necessarily learning anything or meeting concrete aims. We need to ask if students haven’t understood a language point – why? If many students failed a test – why? If students were unable to complete a task – why? If students aren’t listening – why? It’s often easy to blame the students, however responsibility generally lies with the teacher or other external factors. Self-evaluation and critical self-reflection requires that we listen, that we be honest, that we realise teaching is ‘action research’ (action’ being both pro-action and reaction), that it takes time and that we need to explore how we feel as well as how we act – biases and assumptions included.

Sandra Caon-Parsons has over 30 years teaching and management experience in the field of English as an additional language (EAL) in Australia and abroad. Overseas, as well as working as a teacher trainer, TESOL consultant and curriculum advisor she has delivered university award Business and Organisational Communication programs.
At the University of Adelaide, Sandra is the Education Program Manager for TESOL/EAL programs and is responsible for overseeing Award programs such as electives in TESOL for the Master in Education program, the Certificate IV TESOL, tailored Business, Education and TESOL courses. She has a wealth of experience in program design and development. Her qualifications include a Master in Education/TESOL, Graduate Diploma in TESOL, Bachelor of Education, CELTA and a Diploma in Training and Assessment.