Teaching Critical Analysis Through John Locke's Reflection Theory: A Case Study

A Teacher's Case Study

I had assigned students to work, and I had given them enough time to attempt. On coming back, I realised that it was not yet done. I had first tried to encourage the student to complete the task and asked if they had understood what was required. They responded “yes, I am starting it now”. I then returned in a couple of minutes and the student had yet to start the work. I was very annoyed. As a teacher, I viewed such a situation as rudeness and unwillingness to learn. I could better understand the situation by finding out the reasons for the incomplete work. I later learned that the task's instructions included some steps that were confusing and others that required to be completed in pairs. The student was not comfortable working with the person next to them. I could have benefited more by asking and understanding, but the students could also not communicate because they noticed the change in tone of voice and became anxious. As a teacher, I want the students to be committed to their work, and I want them to see me as a figure of authority. I was more concerned with my identity and being respected than understanding the reason behind student not completing work. If faced with a similar situation in the future, I will avoid jumping to conclusions based on bias and assumptions. It will benefit the students in better delivery of content and will assist in proper communication. It will also ensure that a good relationship will exist between the students and me.

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The role of a teacher is very dynamic in many ways. Students are also different, and so are the various areas of learning and assessment. Therefore, it is fundamental to understand the different dynamics at play before making conclusions and judgments. In the provided case scenario, I was too quick to make a decision. It was unnecessary and uncalled for to be too quick in such a setting. As a teacher, I would be expected to have gone through the whole teaching and assessment, and understood all the requirements. Good planning ensures that the assessment provided is within the correct range. In the theory of constructivism, a teacher is made to understand that uptake of knowledge is not a passive activity. Therefore, a teacher must allow students to actively construct knowledge during teaching before progressing to the stage of assessment.
John Locke developed reflection theory on the argument that people's knowledge of the world resembles the objects around them. A teacher who gives an assignment that does not meet the instructional requirements, as I did, sets the stage for failure. In the given incident, the teacher acts utterly blind to the environment in which learning occurs. In an ideal teaching situation, where an assignment is meant to be done by more than one, pairing must be done reflectively. It must put into consideration the different dynamics of learners and their preferences. When I returned to find that the work has not been completed, I should have reacted differently. As a reflective teacher, my consideration should have shifted to the factors that derailed the students from undertaking the work.
My students' commitment to their work and assessment is not a matter of just completing assignments. I was in complete misjudgment by presuming that the incomplete work was rudeness and unwillingness to learn. In a true sense, they had done a great deal by reading and interpreting the assessment. The work was incomprehensible and impossible to complete as given by the teacher. I must understand class relationships in two directions—first, the completeness of one's personal responsibility for teaching. Second, the perspective of the students in different scenarios is paramount. It works best with Brookfield's reflective practice theory that is split into four unique phases.
I did not live up to the standards of teaching and instruction. In his theory, John Locke admonishes simplicity in idealizing the concept of reflection. In this incident, I was indeed a simpleton. My view of the student's inability to complete the work was clouded by perceptions and opinions about the learners. I never took my time to get into the details of the matter. My simple perspective took its interpretation and made an erred conclusion. In the future, that is something I must avoid. Learning from John Locke's theory, I must broaden my perspective when dealing with learners. Successful passage of knowledge is an art that requires tactful understanding and debunking of a complicated process. In my stride, I took it with simplicity and failed on the big stage. Going forward, Mezirow's theory on reflective practice should be of great aid to amend the mistakes made in the past.
This incident that I went through is a hallmark of failure. Mezirow advises that one has to learn from the past teaching events to make future interactions better. In my situation, I need to understand students much better when handling them in different scenarios. Classroom interactions can be made better if I agree to learn from my past mistakes. Nonetheless, I will complicate the situation further is the humbling experiences of the past are not factored in as part of the learning curve. The point is amplified by one of the phases in Brookfield's reflective practice theory – the students' eyes/views. In the whole experience, the perspective of the student had been ignored. To be a better teacher in the future, I should factor in the student's view as part of the complex teaching matrix.
The incident will, for a long time, play a hand in my classroom decisions. To understand my mistake and the perspective I had taken about the students was plainly embarrassing. I was in the wrong, but I had placed the blame anywhere else apart from on myself. It is a mistake that many teachers commit in their daily routines. Being in a position of authority gives a teacher a certain sense of invincibility and absolute power. In this position, there is a feeling that one cannot make a mistake. I was in that power position and I could not figure out that my mistake was the class's derailing challenge. It requires quick learning and change to get things right, as Borton idealizes in his reflective model. The theory's perspective that learning and assessment is a continuous integrated flow demystifies the stranglehold of rigidity that power and authority bring.
I would say that learning begins with the acceptance of a past mistake. In my situation, I made a mistake that I am ready to transcend beyond as I continue teaching and assessing learners. Through the theories, I have learned a lot about how I can become a better teacher. Essentially, I need to embrace change and understand that I am also in a learning process. From time to time, I am bound to make teaching and assessment errors that need addressing. My authority as a teacher should not blindside me to bulldoze my way in classroom sessions and assessment situations. I must be ready to incorporate different opinions and learn from others too. In the end, the primary goal is the successful passing of knowledge to different generations.
In this thought-provoking response, the author's perspective is skillfully backed by an extensive body of comprehensive research and readily available information, offering a well-informed and compelling exploration of the subject matter.

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September 20, 2023

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