we can’t truly evaluate our work without addressing the unpredictability of the classroom situation. So many variables exist that it is impossible to anticipate exactly what will go on during the lesson, or exactly how the students will respond. Our effectiveness as teachers relies heavily on our ability to react to situations as they come up, to be sensitive to the mood of the learners, to identify and exploit moments where learning is taking place.
What happened in the lesson that was unexpected, and how did I deal with it? When were the students most/least responsive? Which individual students got most/least out of the lesson?
As well as going beyond the immediate context of the individual’s (i.e. the teacher’s) actions, praxis is about considering the impact of our actions on society. This requires us to reflect on the moral values we are demonstrating and the impact that these might have, or the effect that our teaching is having on society in general. To address these aspects of our work, we could try asking questions like this:
Were all students’ values and beliefs respected throughout the lesson?
To what extent were students exposed to alternative values and beliefs?
They require the teacher to explore the wider context, beyond the four walls of the classroom, and to think about the impact that their actions can have
It’s easy enough to engage in praxis on a day-to-day basis, as part of what you do and the decisions you make as a teacher. For example, if I have a class of students who believe that homosexuality is wrong and should be punished, I can either allow them to continue to believe this or I can include lesson content that challenges this belief.
Engaging in praxis requires an enlightened understanding of the social and moral consequences of what you do. In education it is very easy to see that what we do has a clear impact on society.
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