Values and reflection

The self-study action research approach is a form of reflective practice and it is grounded in the view that we think about the values that we hold; we ask ourselves if these values are sustainable and for the benefit of others; and then we check to see if we are living these values in our practice.

When I first started teaching I was pretty sure of the kind of teacher I wanted to be: I wanted to involve children in their own learning. I wanted to have discussion and dialogue and an active democratic classroom. I hadn’t articulated these values: I ‘felt’ them at some implicit or tacit level. Then I got my first classroom and I found myself teaching in a controlling, didactic way.

Jack Whitehead is a renowned figure in the world of action research. He has written extensively on ‘living educational theory’. He says that when we identify the educational values that motivate our lives, and then deny those values in our lived practice, we are ‘experiencing ourselves as a living contradiction’. We have to reflect on why this is happening and then try to ‘fix’ it.

So what are ‘values’?

In this clip Jack Whitehead explains what he understands by values. I think it speaks for itself.

In this next one he explains the need for demonstrating a passion in our work.

I love this clip because it really explains Jack’s own values. He is honest and clear about how values act as ‘the motivating qualities’ in his life.

I think it would be a great idea if any reflection on teaching could begin with an exploration of what we really value in education.

Maybe we could begin here on this blog?

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