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Reflective Practice in Differentiated Instruction

Minott (2009) cites Schon's 1987 definition of framing, whereby the reflective practitioners select ''what will be treated as the problem, set the boundaries of their attention to it, impose on it a coherence, which allows them to say what is wrong and in what direction the situation needs to be changed,'' such as struggling students'' The school is not focusing on helping teachers to improve instructional practice; rather, they reinforce the idea that students with particular learning needs must go elsewhere in the school to get needed services.
Please reflect on various learning settings you have experience present one that illustrates a specific instructional problem that needs to be remedied in early childhood. Describe the physical learning setting, resource availability, and the profile of learners or trainees within the setting. Explain why this is an issue worthy of further investigation.

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Reflective Practice in Differentiated Instruction
Minott (2009) cites Schon's 1987 definition of framing, whereby the reflective practitioners select ''what will be treated as the problem, set the boundaries of their attention to it, impose on it a coherence, which allows them to say what is wrong and in what direction the situation needs to be changed,'' such as struggling students'' The school is not focusing on helping teachers to improve instructional practice; rather, they reinforce the idea that students with particular learning needs must go elsewhere in the school to get needed services.

Please reflect on various learning settings you have experienced and a present one that illustrates a specific instructional problem that needs to be remedied in early childhood. Describe the physical learning setting, resource availability, and the profile of learners or trainees within the setting. Explain why this is an issue worthy of further investigation.

As a teacher, I used the reflective process consistently from the very beginning of my career. It was almost instinctive for me to so.
When I first started teaching, I had a huge problem trying to figure out how I wanted to handle classroom management. It was difficult to figure out specifically how what I believed as an educator and as a person connected to each part of how I managed my classroom and how I disciplined my students as a result. I had thought about this plenty while in school and in student teaching, but it is completely different when you have your own classroom with your own group of students. Then, it was solely my problem.

During this time when I was trying to connect what I believed with the actual behavior management of my own classroom, I had a lot of problems. I wasn't consistent with discipline at all because I didn't have a clear sense of my management style. The students could sense my lack of confidence in this area, which caused their behavior to become even more negative, which compounded the problem.

This was an overwhelming work related problem because as a new teacher, I was really too intimidated to ask for any help. I also didn't really know how I was going to find the time to reflect and align each part of my management plan with my beliefs, with this age group, and then with this particular group of students, while I was also doing everything else a new teacher is so overwhelmed by. There just wasn't enough time to stop and think about how to fix the problem.

I didn't realize it at the time, but I was actually framing the problem. As I looked back at what I had been doing, tried to figure out what I wasn't doing well, and attempted to distinguish what I needed to improve from what I was doing well; I was actually examining what would be treated as the problem. I was also setting the boundaries of my attention to it, and working toward imposing a coherence and clarity to it. I knew this would allow me to figure out what was wrong and in what direction the situation needed to be changed. I also knew that I had to study the problem with full consideration of MY particular struggling students.

I didn't realize it, but I was working the problem in my mind all of the time. I was always trying new things, keeping those ideas that worked and getting rid of what didn't work. I didn't know it at the time, but I was developing my behavior plan. The problems actually helped me to create the solutions. I finally understood how necessity is the mother of invention!

I had many students that were acting out, but one in particular was absolutely driving me crazy. His name was Brian, and I just got to the point one day where I had simply had it with him. He argued with me no matter what I said, and he wouldn't stop talking to me, even after I had asked him to stop over and over. Out of sheer and complete frustration, I sent him to go stand in front of my closed classroom door. I asked him to face the door and to continue to listen to the lesson while he thought about his behavior. I said, "You are standing in the doorway, and you will decide whether you stay in my classroom or whether you will go on out the door to the office." He said, "What will I do when I am ready to come back to my seat?" I said, "You can knock at the door, and when I say what or yes, you can say "I am ready to be a student now!" I will ask what kind of student, and you can say - One that does NOT argue!" I went on with my lesson, and the next thing I knew, Brian knocked on the door. I said, "Yes?" and he said, Ms. Wilson, I am ready to be a student now." I couldn't believe it. It was actually working. Then, I said, "What kind of a student?" Brian said, "A student who does NOT argue with his teacher." I am sure my mouth was hanging open. Could it really be this simple? Yes, it was. It worked time and time again with many different students. They could take a time out without missing any of the lessons and still think about their behavior. Since it worked so well, I built my entire behavior program around this experience and the simple idea needed to solve an immediate problem.
I then took my classroom solutions that came from these wonderful learning experiences and blended them with the school-wide rules in order to create my own classroom management plan. These are the policies and/or procedures that solved so many problems and made my classroom much more of a respectful learning community.

Here is my completed plan:
Mapping School-Wide Rules and Expectations into Classroom Routines
School Rules
Be Responsible
Be Respectful
Be at school on time ...

Solution Summary

As a teacher, I used the reflective process consistently from the very beginning of my career. It was almost instinctive for me to so. During this time when I was trying to connect what I believed with the actual behavior management of my own classroom, I had a lot of problems. I wasn't consistent with discipline at all because I didn't have a clear sense of my management style. The students could sense my lack of confidence in this area, which caused their behavior to become even more negative, which compounded the problem. This was an overwhelming work related problem because as a new teacher, I was really too intimidated to ask for any help. I didn't realize it at the time, but I was actually framing the problem. As I looked back at what I had been doing, tried to figure out what I wasn't doing well, and attempted to distinguish what I needed to improve from what I was doing well; I was actually examining what would be treated as the problem. I didn't realize it, but I was working the problem in my mind all of the time. I was always trying new things, keeping those ideas that worked and getting rid of what didn't work. I didn't know it at the time, but I was developing my behavior plan. The problems actually helped me to create the solutions. I finally understood how necessity is the mother of invention! I didn't realize it, but I was working the problem in my mind all of the time. This was the reflection!

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