The Need For Critical Reflection

This is my last post for my #learningproject (I will create one more post that links to each of my individual posts after this). I’ve been noticing throughout my University career that deconstruction and critical reflection are almost (if not more) important than the learning process itself. I’ve always wanted to make the information that my students are learning relevant to their lives and I think part of that is having them reflect on what they’ve learned, it’s authenticity and why it was included. I want students to be critical of my teaching and I think this hand-on project justified my need for that.

I love using guided critical reflection as a sort of inquiry process so that’s what I did. Throughout my #learningproject,  I discerned which resources to use, the need for this in my life and I think I came out as a better person because of it. Through reflecting on my experiences of trying something new and trying to stick to it, something that I don’t have much experience with lately, I realized that I had been holding myself back. Now, that sounds cliche, but it’s true. I developed the habit of eating out everyday, sometimes twice a day without thinking about it. It was easy to slip into with being so busy. I had many triggers that pushed me to deconstruct how I was living and I realized that while I was doing pretty well (or so I thought), I could be doing better things for myself. In English B30, there is an outcome for this: AR30.2 and probably many other grades. I think that as you get older, you should be able to reflect and critically analyze  if what you are doing is good for you and the people around you. I’ve upheld this in my pedagogy through social justice and following the cross curricular competency of developing (critical) thinking. I’ve been an advocate for mental health for a long time, and last year I became motivated to promote sexual health and identities through my placement at Planned Parenthood and now, I’m becoming more invested in my physical health through eating healthy the last few months. But it hasn’t been just that, I’ve started working out on an almost regular basis and pushing myself. While I haven’t really lost any weight, I feel healthier and more energetic because I’m fueling my body with better foods and challenging myself. I’m now doing a workout and diet program that I started yesterday, which is something I wouldn’t have considered in the past. Through these changes, I’ve combatted my automatic negative thinking and I’ve adopted healthier and more positive self-talk. I’ve also started to become a better chef – not by much but definitely a start. I enjoy cooking far more than I used to. If you read my first post, I was originally going to learn about stocks and finances but I’m so glad that I chose healthy eating instead. As dramatic as it sounds, my life has taken a completely different road and I really couldn’t image where I would be if I ate out every day (well I can a little – I’d be in debt and not nearly as energetic and happy).

I’m not sure I would use a critical reflection activity with a younger grade level, but being in the secondary education program, I love it as a tool for learning.  As an introvert,  I err on the side of internal thought so this tool was very suited to my own personality. I am also an auditory learner and I can understand the need for group work and working with others. I got that groupwork aspect from bouncing ideas off of other people throughout my #learningproject (and also gave me a great in to brag). I think I was very thorough in the tools that I learned to use both on the internet and by myself. I found some great resources for students and for teachers to extend the conversation on critical reflection:

How to be Critical when Reflecting on Your Teaching

A Critical Reflection Framework

Learning Through Reflection

Action+Reflection=Learning

 

 

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