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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Thinking about What Happened. . . | Teaching Professor Blog

Maryellen Weimer, PhD. summarizes, "When a discussion didn’t go anywhere.
When a group couldn’t seem to work together.
When the answer was wrong.
When the grade was unexpected.
When not all that many students are paying attention."

Photo: The Teaching Professor Blog

When things don’t go as planned or turn out as expected, the first response tends to be emotional—anger, embarrassment, frustration, disappointment. After riding the emotional wave, it’s easy to just let the tide go out. But when things go awry, those are times when critical reflection can offer insights that lead to learning.

Cultivating accurate self-assessment is a challenge whether you’re a student or the teacher. Objectivity comes hard when the analysis focuses on what happened and your role in it. Some folks never do find their way to that place where they can accurately see what happened, how they contributed to it, and what perhaps they should have done differently. And yet, being able to honestly confront reality makes it possible to learn from experience, whether good or bad.

The Teaching Professor Blog

Part of the needed perceptive analysis comes with maturity, which is why so many of our younger students don’t have it. Most them default to blame—the teacher, the textbook, fellow classmates, the course, the department, the school—almost anybody or anything but not themselves. A few teachers have been known to do the same—blame the students, the department, course evaluations, research requirements, low pay, large classes, online courses. Many factors do influence what happens in any situation, but routinely leaving oneself out of the equation is not a mature, growth-promoting response.

Is the ability to confront oneself a skill? Can it be learned? Can it be taught? I’d say yes to all, and I also think teachers can play a significant role in helping students develop the ability to accurately assess what happened and their part in it.

Source: The Teaching Professor Blog