Reflection and Cooperative Learning in the Student Centered Paradigm
George M. Jacobs [+]
Educational consultant, Singapore
Anita Lie [+]
Widya Mandala Surabaya Catholic University, Indonesia
Siti Mina Tamah [+]
Widya Mandala Surabaya Catholic University, Indonesia.
“Great teachers teach from the heart” (Palmer, 1998, p. 5). They join the teaching profession with their hearts longing to spark the love of learning in their students. They begin their journey with other novice teachers, many of whom share the same longing. Along the way, some of these fellow teachers lose their longing as they toil the demanding path of the profession. These defeated teachers either leave the profession to embark on different paths or drag themselves into their classes each day, inflicting the pain of rote learning on their students and themselves. In contrast, great teachers have survived the myriad challenges and drudgery of the profession while still managing to savor the moments of joy in between the ups and downs. In between the two extremes, there are many different types of teachers who go through the ups and downs of the profession. Some are on their way to greatness, while some others are struggling to make their days meaningful through their teaching. What, then, makes teachers great? Part of the answer lies in teachers empowering their students; after all, it is students who construct their own learning, with cooperative learning weighing heavily in that construction process. Another key element in teacher self-development lies in teachers, alone and in concert with others, engaging in reflection. This chapter discusses cooperative learning and reflective practice as a terrain to explore and form connectedness between teachers’ inner selves and their students and subjects. To be connected with students, teachers need to find ways to nurture student-teacher encounters so that students can make the content their own and enter the various communities of practice dedicated to the various content areas. Connectedness involving the students, language teaching, and teachers’ inner selves is discussed as the underlying landscape of reflective practice. Then, this chapter discusses how reflective practices enable teachers to delve into the tangles of the students, the language they teach, and their own inner selves.