Educational Philosophy Part 3c

On track to develop mastery of one self, what is your approach to education and learning? (contd)

Continuing on from my previous blogs in this series: it is my desired goal to develop a collaborative, collegial, safe learning environment. Trust and respect are core to this process.
As mentioned in the previous Layer, prior to the learning practice session I need to be in a position to pre-assess the learning group. In instances where I do not have the required background information – which I admit to being the majority of cases – I would need to structure my initial class room activities to include activities which enable me to educe the range of background information and understanding I consider relevant and useful. To facilitate the needed getting to know my learners phase, I find being open with my learners along similar levels of information and behaviour that I expect of them. I consciously invest time in the initial stages of the learning experience with a new group of learners to develop an appropriate learning session culture, which includes confirming the agreed learning outcomes. This step is necessary to ensure the learner’s expectation and the learner facilitator’s expectations are aligned; and if not, to take the opportunity to discuss and address any misaligned of expectations at the earliest opportunity. The ultimate goal of a learning experience is to optimise the effective student learning experience of the particular learners. In clarifying both the learner’s and my learning facilitation expectations, I am in my experience removing possible issues or objections that may arise later. Even if issues or objections regarding levels of expectations do arise later in the learning experience, at least there has been prior dialogue – a conscious reference point from the outset – to return to and continue discussion. This process is all part of developing trust and respect for a collaborative, collegial, safe learning environment.
Learner assessment – during session delivery
Throughout the learning experience I will be informally assessing the progress of the learner group, and as much as humanly possible, the progress – in real time assessment –  of each of the individual learners. My goal at any point in time thought the learning experience is to confirm all of the learners are engaged and are being presented with a learning experience that is compatible with their personality type, their thinking approach, their intelligences, and their learning styles (Light et al 2009, 77). I need to confirm the learner’s understanding independently throughout the learning experience by a range of means. Two such means are via questioning techniques; and observing students in action. Concept checking questioning techniques (CCQ) and instruction checking questions (ICQ) enable me to effectively and efficiently achieve this, ensuring that I systematically include all participants within the particular learning experience – as appropriate (Fisher and Frey 2007; Angelo and Cross 1993). Observing of students carrying out a task can also confirm to you as the learning environment facilitator that your instructions were clear. But such observation allows you to also confirm the student’s approach to a particular function; the degree of competence that may or may not have with that particular function; any gaps in knowledge they may or may not have; and the opportunity for you as their learning facilitator to further assist them in order to optimise their effective learning experience. This later observation in the environment of audio training used to be conducted in workplace training contexts (the apprenticeship model), but in the contemporary environment, much of this type of training is now conducted in formal education programs (Billett 2001): formal education programs such as SAE Institute’s Creative Media degree, Bachelor of Audio Production program (SAE Institute, 2015).
As a learning experience facilitator, my desired goal is to develop a collaborative, collegial, safe learning environment. Trust and respect are core to this process. As part of this process, my aim is to reveal my self as candidly as is appropriate – socially and culturally. In my experience, the more I know my self as a practitioner, the more congruent I can be with others – including my students; and the more potential I have to be able to optimise the effective student learning experience of those particular learners.

Layer 10: Evaluation of the learning practice

The evaluation of the learning practice session is what I consider to be one of the most important stages of the education & learning process. The purpose of this stage is to have the learners evaluate the learning session in terms of the content and/or processes.
I have observed many novice education and learning practitioners in many different scenarios overlook this stage, unaware of the importance of this stage. I have laid this evaluation section out in the following five (5) parts.

Layer 10a: Evaluation of the learning practice Pt1

This process commences at the conclusion of the central learning practice session. Often, I will have a break at the end of the central learning practice session, before I commence the evaluation stage.
In preparing for this stage prior to the commencement of the learning session, I need to consider how I am planning to have the learning session evaluated in terms of the content and/or processes. I consider how I will effectively and efficiently draw the education & learning practice session to a logical conclusion so that the learners can effectively and efficiently evaluate what they have learnt.
The evaluation process can be either a formal or informal process. However for best practice, I would advocate to include both a formal or informal process in the evaluation stage.
  • An example of an informal process could include a cohort-wide round table debrief of “what I learnt today?” I have be known in this stage to make notes down as they share; or if i feel this to be intrusive, then I may make mental notes that I will jot down immediately after the learning session has ended.
  • An example of a formal process could include a pre-arranged summative evaluation tool such as a feedback form that the learners respond to questions regarding the various aspects of the learning session.  The primary benefit of this confidential response of each individual if that one may elicit some responses that a informal round table debrief may not.
Once I have completed this evaluation process, I end the learning session officially – restating any expected action or practice required prior to a further learning session. I then dismiss the learners.

Layer 10b: Evaluation of the learning practice Pt2

Once the learning session has concluded, I then need to consider the evaluations.  For the formal process, this will include considering the quantifiable or qualitative responses in order to draw conclusions of the learner’s evaluation of the learning session.
For the informal process, this may include revisiting some jotted down points during the actually learning session round table debrief; or if considered an intrusive process, actually noting down learners’ comments that were made during that session.
This evaluation process could also include a third party observer who may have been sitting in on the learning session. Such a third party observer’s observations and input could be very beneficial in the event that there is a difference of opinion as to the usefulness of the learning sessions content and/or processes, between some of the learners; or some of the learns and you as the facilitator of the learning session.
Irrespective of what tool or party provided the evaluation of the learning session, my aim is to gather data regarding the following questions:
Did the learners realise the aims and objectives of the learning session?
How do I know they did?
How did I know they didn’t?
Anecdotally what was the feedback?
In terms of summative feedback, what was the evaluations?
Were there any observers in attendance in the learning session?
Intuitively, how did the learners realise the aims and objectives of the learning session?
Did some learners realise the aims and objectives of the learning session, but others not?
Why do I think this did/did not occur?
Did the learners realise the learning session objectives?
Why/why not?
How do I know this?
Did the learners feel they realised the learning session objectives?
Why/why not?
How do I know this?
Once I have completed the data gathering stage, I need to take time to reflect on the evaluation of the learning session.

Layer 10c: Reflective practice following the learning practice Pt3

There are benefits of reflecting on a learning practice session once it has concluded. The degree to which one can reflect is dependent upon one’s knowledge of the content or the different learning theories and approaches. You can only reflect on what you know. It is very difficult if not impossible to reflect on an aspect of your practice that you are not yet aware of. Whilst i feel this is obvious – common sense – I think the point is lost of some education administrators.
My practice covers the three disciplines of creative (music) practice, education and learning practice, and my most recent engagement, research practice. In Layer 5 I noted that my approach to all of these forms of practice, I “make time to reflect every day at some time upon some aspect of my diverse practice, referenced against other practitioners, whether peers or those who I value their cultural production. My focus is to gain clarity, greater understanding, increased insight, considering possible alternative workflows I could have pursued, and decide what form of practice I will pursue the next opportunity a similar circumstance arises” (Page 2004). I also noted my daily practice is to engage in both reflective practice and reflexive practice.
        Reflective Practice – introduction
Many novice practitioners may consider casual options of reflection; such as on the way home on the bus or in the car whilst listening to music, as being sufficient to develop their practice. Haseman differentiates casual reflections and conscious planned reflective practice as the difference between navel-gazing and what he terms forensic reflective practice (2015). The goal of reflective practice should be to turn experience into learning (Boud et al 2013). Therefore a deliberate activity to consider a past practice event, and then analyse it critically, appears to be the minimal criterion that defines robust reflective practice. A practitioner should consciously make time and space at a specific part of the day when where they can engage undisturbed in reflective practice; considering what they did, or didn’t do in that lesson; or what you did or didn’t do in terms of the agreed aims and objectives contained within your learning experience plan.
Specifically, education and learning practice needs to be considered in terms of the respective andragogies or pedagogies of the learning group.  In order to avoid the ill-disciplined habit of informal reflection, it should be the aim of the practitioner to have clear and transparent processes so that they can be examined closely as to their value, limitations and assumptions (McKee, 2003). The result could be a practitioner’s reflective practice toolbox, offering a range of strategies for: reflection-in-action (Schön 1983), reflection-on-action (Schön 1983) and reflection-for-action (Pascal & Thompson 2012): demonstrated by real world examples across any of the common aspects of teaching, such as: curriculum design; learning experience planning; delivery; and post-delivery evaluation.
Figure II – Reflective Practices Summary (Anderson et al 2015)
There are a number of possibilities of focus to reflect on following the learning practice. One can reflect on the experience of the learner; your experience as the practitioner; or your experience as a participant observer (Griffiths 2010). Brookfield’s theoretical framework for reflective practice is provided to examine these pedagogical practices through four different lenses – through our own eyes; through your student’s eyes; through our fellow professionals’ eyes; and through established theoretical views (Brookfield, 1995). This reflective practice process should at best inform and and enrich ones’ education and learning practice, allowing the discovery of innovative or creative practices, while also acknowledging contemporary literature on the subject.
Roth’s model could also be used for unpacking the reflective process, encouraging greater depth of analysis and further investigation as required (Roth, 1989). Together, these conceptual frameworks provide several perspectives and facilitate ways in which to think critically about teaching, and uncover effective practice. This framework could provide a platform for revealing a desired result of reflective andragogical or pedagogical practices in line with industry standards.
  • Questioning what, why, and how one does things and asking what, why, and how others do things 
  • Seeking alternatives 
  • Keeping an open mind 
  • Comparing and contrasting 
  • Seeking the framework, theoretical basis, and/or underlying rationale 
  • Viewing from various perspectives 
  • Asking “what if…?” 
  • Asking for others’ ideas and viewpoints 
  • Using prescriptive models only when adapted to the situation 
  • Considering consequences 
  • Hypothesising 
  • Synthesising and testing 
  • Seeking, identifying, and resolving problems
 Reflective Practice – specific to an education & learning practice session plan
The process I follow at the end of a education & learning practice session includes the following areas, with accompanying questions:
I do this process in two stages. The first stage is on-site, immediate post-practice. The benefit of this process is that the practice events are still fresh in my mind. I can scribe the physical, visual, auditory or emotional events of the day with a high degree of detailed recollection due to the currency of the events that have just been experienced or observed. In many ways, it is very much an stream of consciousness process – scribing without considering too much or judging my responses.  In terms of a detail of recollection I find this on-site, immediate post-practice reflective practice session is very beneficial as an initial data collection exercise. This process commits to my sub-conscious content for consideration, and until the point that I make time to return to the second stage of the deliberate reflective process, my mind will be turning over that data, and distilling the less significant events from the more prominent and significant events.
The range of questions I ask of myself to scribe my immediate first responses are:
  • Did the learner realise the aims and objectives of the learning session?
  • How do I know they did?
  • How did I know they didn’t?
  • Anecdotally what was the feedback?
  • Intuitively what was the feedback?
  • Did some learners realise the aims and objectives of the learning session, but others not?
  • Why do I think this did/did not occur?
  • Did the learners realise the learning session objectives?
  • Why/why not?
  • How do I know this?
  • Did the learners feel they realised the learning session objectives?
  • Why/why not?
  • How do I know this?
The second stage is away from site, and after some time has lapsed post-practice. I find it is crucial to conduct this second stage reflective practice in a different site to that of the practice session, as it allows a separation of any possible automated response that may be activated by the actual practice site that I am reflecting about. Additionally, the amount of time expired between the actual practice session and this reflective practice session may vary in each circumstance: I have found over doing this process over many decades that it has to be an appropriate amount of time to allow my mind to turn over that data, and distil out the less significant events from the more prominent and significant events. Sometimes this takes a few days, and at others times, it has taken several weeks. I am experienced enough in this process now to trust my inner time clock to know which particular practice session I will choose to reflect upon in any of the regular scheduled evening reflective practice sessions I hold.
As inferred, the benefit of this process is that the practice events become distilled in my mind, with the more prominent or significant events rising to prominence in my mind. This stage of reflective practice also allows for any emotion around that particular practice session to recede to a level where perhaps a greater degree of perspective can be applied to the event. With distance and time away from the practice, I find I scribe the prominent or significant physical, visual, auditory or emotional events of the last practice session with a greater degree of critical thinking due to the distance – time and place – from the events that had previously been experienced or observed. I generally do this process once I have concluded my responsibilities of the day – when the house is quiet, when my mind is free of other responsibilities. I may or may not have a hot beverage, and I sometimes conduct this exercise against a backdrop of soothing music which I find allows my mind to delve into depths of thought and analysis. In contrast to the stage of on-site, immediate post-practice stream of consciousness process gathering of recollection data, I scribe very consciously, analysing what and how I respond. I certainly consider why I have acted in practice – and also responded – in the ways I do, dissecting each and every prominent or significant event within my practice session. It is a rigorous process that I find is both mentally exhausting, but also satisfying due to the crystallisation of thoughts and ideas that I find usually occurs.
In this Part 2 stage, the range of questions I ask of myself to scribe my second round of very considered responses are very similar – if not the same – set of questions as outlined above. However, I definitely drill down within each question to a far greater level of depth, looking for insightful distinctions about my practice. The question words of what, how and why are instrumental in this process. In doing this second round of reflective practice, I find is that I am far more detailed in the scribing process, critically analysing to a depth that is absent from my on-site, immediate post-practice initial data collection reflection process. It is within this reflective practice session that I crystallise my thoughts and understandings, and gain fresh levels of clarity about my practice.
Given the above reflection on student learning, I ask myself the following questions:
  • Were the learning session outcomes realised?
  • How satisfied am I with the learning outcomes?
  • If not completely satisfied: why/why not?
  • Do I consider any changes need to be made in the next education & learning session of the similar aims and objectives? 
  • What were the strengths and weaknesses of the learning sessions?
  • How was the timing or the flow of the education & learning practice session? 
  • What worked?
  • What and why?
  • What didn’t work?
  • What and why?
  • Had I planned for this event/factor to happen?
  • Was it conceivable that it could occur?
  • What was the percentage of time between facilitator-talk (Ft) and learner-talk (Lt)?
  • Was this as planned and described in the education & learning practice session plan?
  • Why?
  • Why not?
  • How useful was the education & learning practice session plan?
  • What was?
  • What wasn’t?
  • How closely did I stick to the education & learning practice session plan?
  • What happened that forced the change?
  • Why hadn’t I planned for this change to happen?
  • Was it conceivable that it could occur/arise?
In terms of the education & learning approach:
  • How effective was the particular pedagogical/andragogical approach?
  • What worked?
  • What and why?
  • What didn’t work?
  • What and why?
  • In terms of the methods/tasks/processes:
  • How effective was the particular methods/tasks/processes implemented?
  • What worked?
  • What and why?
  • What didn’t work?
  • What and why?
  • What changes will I make for the next education & learning session of the similar aims and objectives? 
  • Are their any techniques or skills in terms of teaching practice I need to develop to better faclitate the education & learning session?
  • How could I further develop Ir learning session plan to accommodate unexpected events when they arise?
  • If I were working within a team, are there any issues related to the teaching team that I need to follow up on?
  • Did the learner meet the assessment requirements of the learning session?
  • How do I know they did?
  • How did I know they didn’t?
  • What assessment strategy did I use?
  • How effective was tthat approach in Ir opinion?
  • What worked?
  • How do I know it worked?
  • What didn’t work?
  • How do I know it didn’t work?
  • What changes will I make for the next education & learning session of the similar aims and objectives? 
  • Are their any techniques or skills in terms of assessment planning I need to develop to better faclitate the education & learning session requirement realisation?
  • Did the learners absorb the required learning session content?
  • How do I know they did?
  • How did I know they didn’t?
  • Based on the pedadgogical/andragogical approach:
  • How effective was tthat approach in Ir opinion for this particular content?
  • What worked?
  • How do I know it worked?
  • What didn’t work?
  • How do I know it didn’t work?
  • What changes will I make for the next education & learning session of the similar aims and objectives? 
  • Are their any techniques or skills in terms of content I need to develop to better faclitate the education & learning session?
  • Are there any content questions I need to follow up with the learners? 
  • Were there any factors outside of the educational and learning facilitator’s control that impacted the session in any way?
  • Negative? 
  • What?
  • Positive?
  • What?
  • What technology or tools will I need to have prepared prior to class (physical, IT)?
  • What digital tools and/or resources will I use in this education & learning practice session?
  • Will I need any technical support? If so state when, where and when.
  • Do I need to contact IT support prior to my education & learning practice session?
  • Do I need to schedule time to load computer programs or learning technologies prior to class? 
  • What resources or materials will I need to have prepared prior to class (human, physical)?
  • What tools and/or resources will I use in this education & learning practice session? 
  • If so what, where and when. 
  • What did I learn or observe about Ir self during this education & learning practice session now that I have considered all aspects of the practice session in detail?
  • Do I still hold the same opinions regarding the education & learning practice session now that I have discussed the practice session with my critical friend?
  • What did I learn or observe about my self during this education & learning practice session now that I have discussed the practice session with my critical friend?
  • Do I still hold the same opinions regarding the education & learning practice session now that I have engaged education & learning literature in terms of my specfiic education & learning practice session?
  • What did I learn or observe about my self during this education & learning practice session now that I have engaged education & learning literature in terms of my specific education & learning practice session?

Layer 10d: Reflexive practice following the learning practice Pt4

Returning to Brookfield’s approach as outlined above, once a practitioner has engaged in reflective practice, irrespective of whether that evaluative data has been internally generated, from the learner group within or post the central or evaluatiion session, observed and feedback from either a supervised observer, a peer observer, a critical friend, derived from reading literature, or from engaging in either informal or formal forms of professional development programs; unless something is decided upon to be trailed into one’s practice, in order to develop that practice, then I would question the usefulness or the validity of that reflective practice. As introduced in my Music Practitioner – Part 3 blog, Haseman outlines that for practice to be forensic reflective practice, the reflective practice must progress to and include the extra step of developing one’s practice to include aspects that have been reflected on, and decided that are in need of improvement. Aspects that are thought will enrich ones’ education and learning practice, and developing one’s experience in different learning theories and approaches.


Figure III – Forensic reflective practice chart (Haseman 2015)
Therefore I would ask my self the following questions to complete this process of reflective practice, preparing for reflexive practice – actually applying development and change to my practice.
  • What are there areas of my education & learning practice that I need to develop prior to my next education & learning practice session? 
    List these areas in detail:
  • Of these, what will I select to focus on?
  • What do I need training and development in, in order to realise these developments in practice?
  • How will I know when I have successfully achieved this desired development?

Layer 11a: Reflective professional practice in contemporary higher education

Finally, I want to conclude with Light et al’s proposition of three (3) paradigms of academic development of educators and learning practitioners in a contemporary Higher Education environment (Light et al 2009, 12). Light et al describes a practitioner in terms of: their relative lack of engagement in their education and learning practice on a professional level; their relative lack of reflection and level of engagement with the context of the education and learning field and discipline; and finally, their engagement as a professional practitioner who also considers wider social and cultural issues and realities. As you read these, I request that you consider which one best describes your approach or situation to your learning experience practice:
  1. ad hoc paradigm: “is located primarily within the individual teacher, and essentially asserts that a good teacher is born, not made”. “Teaching is something one picks up and grasps informally and individually. It is non-reflective in the broader sense. The teacher is left to her own devices and draws upon past experience of being taught, trial and error, help from sympathetic colleagues when available, and her own natural affinities for teaching”(Light et al 2009, 12). Note: the self is at the centre of this paradigm;
  2. skills paradigm: “the development of teaching is an add-on process and rests in the accumulation and reproduction of performance and communication skills, competencies and tips. These skills are generic and provided by trainers and consultants who often have no formal experience of the discipline in which the trainers are working or even of higher education training”(Light et al 2009, 12). Note: both the self and the institution are at the centre of this paradigm;
  3. professional paradigm: “the location of the professional paradigm goes beyond the practitioner’s self and institution to embrace wider issues raised by society”: “professional status derives from the value that society places on higher education, the inclusion of specialised knowledge and the reliance on higher-order abilities critically to acquire, apply, reflect on and elaborate that knowledge. As such, it is essentially a reflective paradigm” (Light et al 2009, 13). Note: the self, the institution and society are at the centre of this paradigm.
    Which one best describes your approach or situation to your learning experience practice?
    Given this, in what ways can you develop as a professional practitioner?

Layer 11b: Reflective professional practice values statements

As developed across the 11 Layers of my approach to education and learning, I believe a contemporary practitioner needs to develop an understanding of their self – as a person, and as a practitioner. I believe the more self knowing a practitioner has of who they are in terms of their personality; their various thinking, learning orientations and intelligences; their values, beliefs and biases, the more congruent a practitioner can be with others. Ultimately, the more potential the practitioner is able to assist their learners in the learning experience – to develop their content, information knowledge base and skills level – the more opportunity the practitioner can guide the learner to maximise their development, their personal empowerment, in order for those learners to ultimately realise their full life potential. I consider this approach integral to becoming a professional practitioner.
The following statements are what I consider to be central to my reflective professional practice; values that I apply across all forms of my practice, whether it be education and learning, music practice, research practice, or life practice.

‘Know one self, develop mastery of one self

Take a proactive approach with your education and learning, investing in developing and advancing your content, information knowledge base and skill level 

A professional practitioner: 10,000 hours of practice, reflect, develop, practice, reflect, develop, practice, reflect, develop,practice, reflect, develop, practice..

As a reflective professional practitioner, embrace the wider social and cultural context rather than just the institution’s desired outcomes’ (© Page 2015)


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Pieper, Martha Heineman and William Joseph Pieper. 1999. Smart love: the compassionate alternative to discipline that will make you a better parent and your child a better person. Boston: Harvard Common Press
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– ©David L Page 21/07/2015
– updated ©David L Page 20/11/2015
– updated ©David L Page 12/04/2020
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

David L Page

View posts by David L Page
With over 20 years experience in the arts & post-compulsory education, David has lived, studied and worked Internationally including Japan, India, Fiji, the US and NZ. David has extensive interests as per the extensive blogs hosted on his site (see below). Additionally, David has published in both lay texts and academic (peer-review) publications.

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