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Learning to teach: becoming a reflective practitioner
Learning to teach: becoming a reflective practitioner

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1.1 Complexities of workplace learning

Working in any specific educational context is likely to highlight differences of opinion. These may be the result of differences between:

  • members of staff about what strategies they employ or the beliefs they hold
  • the pedagogy of different teachers and the pedagogy promoted by your ITE course leaders
  • ideas you have read about in journals or books and what you see happening in the school
  • your own beliefs, views and assumptions and those of other people.

These differences in perspectives are a normal occurrence in school-based workplace learning. How you deal with these situations is important. They can be the stimulus for learning if you ask questions such as:

  • Why have these differences occurred?
  • Is it to do with the personalities involved and their beliefs and values?
  • Is it due to the particular context in which the contradictions have occurred?
  • Have they arisen because of your own assumptions, beliefs and values?

ITE requires you to synthesise these perspectives, make links between them and make informed, reasoned decisions about what to take forward into your own practice and what not to.

Experiencing differences in perspective, whether between members of staff or between practice and literature, can have an emotional impact. You might experience moments during your course where you feel confused and frustrated by seemingly contradictory advice or information. You may feel tempted to dismiss information to reduce the complexity. However, viewing these differences in perspective as an opportunity to learn enables you to turn them into a positive experience. This may include discussing the issue with your mentor or tutor, reading around the issues to get a broader frame of reference or asking more people for their opinions to test out your thinking.