Writing reflective self-assessments is a relatively new concept for me. After posting reflection last quarter I find it illuminating to read the history and rationale behind the process. My first experiences with college education were a very standard classroom lecture environment. Art school was the first real experience with working in a group environment, and then at The Evergreen State College they really supported the idea of group discussion and reflection. I feel reflective self assessments are a valid step forward for gaining and expressing higher learning processes. Now that I look back at the different schools and colleges that I attended it seems that my efficiency and retention increased dramatically when I’ve discussed topics with my peers and instructors. The interaction and conversations that were sparked give the subjects more value, and make them more memorable. Hearing and reading other points of view on materials can create ideas that I might not have ever come across.
I feel that when I am a teacher the reflective process will continue to be a helpful tool in not only reinforcing what I learn, but to specify points that I need to clarify. With the teachers I know there is constant reflection and collaboration to find improvements and strategies within their classrooms.
Within “The Teaching Decision” (as cited in Ellis, Cogan, & Howey, 1991, p. 6) this quote by Herbert Kohl reminds me of what I’m getting into:
When I became a teacher… It was important to sort out the romance of teaching and discover whether, knowing the problems, the hard work and frustration, it still made sense to teach. For me, the answer has been yes, but there are still times I wish I’d chosen some easier vocation.
I was amazed at some of the statistics in the excerpt from “The Teaching Decision” by Arthur Ellis, but this quote really stood out to me, and I feel I have only scratched the surface of the frustration I will face in the future. Still, I am really looking forward to it.
I really enjoyed Alfred North Whitehead’s paper “The Aims of Education.” It is filled with will concerns that are still relevant today. What really struck me was Whitehead’s method of writing, which is captivating and blunt:
Education is acquiring the art of using knowledge. This is an art very difficult to impart. Whenever a textbook is written of real educational worth, you may be quite certain that some reviewer will say that it will be difficult to teach from it, Of course it will be difficult to teach from it. If it were easy, the book ought to be burned; for it cannot be educational. In education, as elsewhere, the broad primrose path leads to a nasty place. This evil path is represented by a book or a set of lectures which will practically enable the student to learn by heart all the questions likely to be asked at the next external examination.
Once again I am reminded of the Albert Einstein quote “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world,” which confirms the idea that knowledge is but a stepping stone to wisdom.
In A. K. Ellis, J. J. Cogan, & K. R. Howey (Eds.), Introduction to the foundations of education (pp.1-13). (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.
Viereck, G.S. (1929, Oct. 26) What Life Means to Einstein. Saturday Evening Post, 17, 110,
113-114, 117. Retrieved from
Whitehead, Alfred North. (1916). The Aims of Education. Retrieved October 1, 2010