This semester, I have the privilege of working with 18 undergraduates enrolled in a course on professionalism in second language studies at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. Recently, we discussed the concept of reflective teaching, which inspired me to consider how I might demonstrate the practice in my current teaching. In reference to the work of Zeichner and Liston (1996), Bailey, Curtis, and Nunan (2001) wrote that a reflective teacher “is aware of and questions the assumptions and values he or she brings to the classroom” and also “takes responsibility for his or her own professional development” (p. 39). As a result, I re-examined my philosophy of language learning and teaching, and I decided to invest in my professional development by building a presence on the Web.
The major project of the course is for students to create an e-portfolio that showcases their skills and expertise in the field of second language studies. While I have two professional teaching portfolios resulting from my postgraduate work, the binders reside happily on my desk, rarely disturbed. According to Jalongo (1991), “in order to develop a love of learning in students, teachers must first be learners themselves” (p. 48). Thus, I have begun to educate myself in the art of web design, and with this piece, I upload my very first blog post!! I am sure I will make mistakes along the way, but I am encouraged by the hard work of these undergraduates, and I look forward to creating my e-portfolio. For even though professional development must arise from within the individual, I find collaboration among colleagues (and future colleagues!) enlightening and rejuvenating. Julian Edge (1992, as cited in Bailey, Curtis, and Nunan, 2001), explains the heart of the paradox: “When I use the word development, I always mean self-development. But that can’t be done in isolation. Self-development needs other people…” (p. 12). I am grateful for the opportunity to develop alongside the students in SLS 485 without whom I may not have embarked on such a project, and I hope my pursuit of new skills will encourage them to persevere in achieving their professional goals. 🙂
Bailey, K. M., Curtis, A., & Nunan, D. (2001). Pursuing professional development: The self as source. Boston: Heinle.
Jalongo, M. (1991). Creating learning communities. Bloomington, IN: National Educational Service.
Zeichner, K., & Liston, D. (1996). Reflective teaching: An introduction. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.