Reflecting on Our Practice

Should it be a new standard?

Philip Bowman

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Reflecting on Our Practice Should it be a New Standard?

November 11, 2020 | Design Thinking, Quality Feedback

By Philip Bowman, founder of the MARIO Framework

Teaching is undoubtedly a nuanced and complex profession. 

It is expected that we display a deep understanding both in our content areas and in pedagogical techniques, but it is not our only responsibility. 

We, as educators, are managing the behaviors, learning differences, social-emotional development, and executive functioning of each student daily—in addition to navigating relationships with the parents of those students:  

A juggling act that could throw any educator off balance.  

The inherently complex nature of teaching led the New Zealand Ministry of Education to fund a research-informed discussion on teaching standards and to propose a new model that better reflects the complex and active nature of the profession.  

As we assimilate innovative learning into the MARIO Framework, one proposed standard stood out to us:  

Teachers must adapt to cultivate an effective learning environment by sharpening their ability to “promote inquiry” in their individual context and be “explicit in their treatment” and response to student diversity. Stenhouse, creator of the “teacher-as-researcher” approach, states, “It is not enough that teachers’ work should be studied: they need to study it themselves.”  

After doing so, teachers must actively apply their knowledge to their unique situations and demonstrate cultural, intellectual, and relational competencies in their practice. Beyond this, they must adopt a disposition of open-mindedness, discernment, and agency. Educators harness these qualities through a series of questions to determine relative learning for each student.  

  • What strategy is most likely (based on research) to achieve the prioritized learning?
  • How well am I employing this strategy? 
  • After collecting data, was there a significant impact for each learner?
  • What professional learning must I undertake to improve my content and skill deficits? 
  • How can I contribute (using my specific skills and knowledge) to the education system at large?  

This type of reflection is an integral part of the success and adaptability of the MARIO Framework. The ability of the MARIO Educator to reflect upon their own practice and thinking is paramount to the success of students with learning differences. Integrating consistent data collection tools and student feedback in the classroom naturally incites the growth and reiteration of a thriving MARIO program that reflects the evolving needs of individual learners.  

Stop struggling with a one-size-fits-all approach to teaching and learning. 

Start reflecting on your practice and adjusting your approach to teaching and learning based on your individual learners.  

Your grateful friend and colleague, 

Philip Bowman


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