I was reading the blogging assignment description, and came across a section that talked about self-reflection using four lenses – autobiographical, from the eyes of our students, from the eyes of our colleagues, and from literature.

Hmm.  This gave me pause.  I wondered how often I used these lenses in assessing and reflecting on my own practise.  I earnestly try to be learner-centered, and spend countless hours trying to devise ways in which my students can work on uncover key concepts while developing a solid skill set.  What I don’t want is for them to passively open their mouths as the information is crammed in on a spoon I am firmly holding.

And I know I use literature to reflect on my teaching.  Recently, I’ve been drawn to the work of Michael Wesch from Kansas State University, who discusses the need to move from “knowlegable to knowledge-able”; that our new media environment focuses much more on the ability to find, sort, analyze, share, discuss and critique, rather than the traditional know, memorize and recall.  And on the work of Esther Wojcicki, the Chair of the Board of Directors for Creative Commons – she writes that technology can indeed help students master the production of knowledge, but it must be done with due diligence and guidance.

But autobiographical?  That’s a new one for me.  My experience as a learner was certainly of the traditional know, memorize and recall variety.  I firmly believe that much of my academic success can be explained by my excellent memory.  It helped in high school, and it certainly enabled me to get a B.A. in History.  Sure, there were times when I was constructivist in my academic life – my honours thesis in history is an example – but for the most part, I sat back while the “sage on the stage” did all the work.

And colleagues?  In a high school setting, it seems colleagues are the most help when they are buying the next round on a Friday afternoon.  I find it a real shame that we consider ourselves professionals as teachers, yet do so little to act like professionals – attending conferences, taking courses, and discussing key issues within a pedagogical framework.  I think the job is so demanding, that survival mode kicks in.  So my burning question is – can technology be the panacea?