I cannot consider the opposite unless I am clearer on what I like. While I did enough of that to get me started on this process, I want to turn my reflective attention to considering what I do not like, or to put it more gently, to more clearly articulate what does not resonate as much with me. To do so, I will reach out again to borrow from the work of Stephen Brookfield, this time his work around around the critical thinking process:
- Identify assumptions embedded in words & actions (discourses & systems)
- Assess grounds – evidence, accuracy & validity
- Take alternative perspectives – intersubjective understanding / perspective taking
- Take informed action / agency
While I am not seeking to critically think through things at this time, I do want to focus on the assumptions aspect, namely to identify those things I assume — those taken for granted beliefs about the world, and our place within it, that seem so obvious to us as not to need to be stated explicitly (again, from Brookfield).
As I see my COWIL model developing, I intentionally want to identify the things I assume are not the case about the world and my place in it, in this context teaching and learning, and explore if there is some way I can bring those things into my class as UNDOUBTEDLY there will be people who think differently enough that perhaps their needs may be met.
Let’s try a simple example I have in mind. I assume people learn by discussing (constructionist) and also by internally grappling with content based on personal experience. However, this assumption does not readily allow for watching videos and then discussing them (as I personally do not watch a lot of television, videos, movies or the like). However, in Considering the Opposite of What I Like (COWIL), perhaps I should try a video or two (like we try all things in class to see if they work for the learners, content, time, etc.) in the course.
Yes, this is a simple example that may not need a degree in education to see, but what better place to start than with something simple as I am exploring and fleshing out this model? After all, if a video or something more multimedia does not work, what has been lost? If nothing else, it becomes another teachable moment as the experience (consider actor-network theory) may more closely resonate with common learning approaches for some.
I will let you know what I find, though working through COWIL from the critical thinking frame to flesh out those assumptions can be quite useful.
3 thoughts on “How can I “Acknowledge the Opposite” when Preparing to Teach? #fslt12”
Hi Jeffrey – interesting post! I think you must have seen Stephen Brookfield’s work on assumption hunting? http://nlu.nl.edu/academics/cas/ace/facultypapers/StephenBrookfield_Wisdom.cfm
Two thoughts have occurred to me in reading your post.
First is – that students’ different learning styles/preferences means that we as teachers are ‘obliged'(?) to try different approaches, even those that don’t sit naturally with our own learning styles, in order to have a better chance of ‘reaching’ all the different students at least some of the time.
Second – is this a discussion you could have with your students?
Looking forward to reading more about how you get on.
Love the way you’re thinking about Brookfield’s work. Something that came to mind as I read this was Wanda Pillow’s work in reflexivity as a way to trouble our easy stories and understandings in a research process. Your work to consider what you don”t like is what made me think of her intensive look at self-reflexivity. While you’re focusing on teaching, I believe teachers are always engaged in research in their own work in the classroom, which includes thinking about the stories we tell ourselves about what we are doing or what transpired. It may have little to relevance to your process, but I was thinking of you….
Pillow, W. (2003). Confession, catharsis, or cure? Rethinking the uses of reflexivity as methodological power in qualitative research. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 16(2), 175–196. doi:10.1080/0951839032000060635