Over the last few years, I have been studying the art of teaching and reflective practice as a nonformal educator. In his book, Becoming a Reflective Teacher, Robert J. Marzano and his team from the Marzano Research Laboratory compare the development of an expert teacher to that of an athlete. "Just as athletes wanting to improve their skills must identify personal strengths and weaknesses, set goals, and engage in focused practice to meet those goals, teachers must also examine their practices, set growth goals, and use focused practice and feedback to achieve those goals. These reflective practices are essential to the development of expertise in teaching."
Bowden describes the scholarship of teaching as "centered on student learning" and an "act of excellent teaching." Glassick defines scholarship of teaching further to include that the work must be public, available for peer review and critique, and must be able to be reproduced and used by other educators (p. 879). Kreber describes, "The scholarship of teaching and learning, or professionalism in teaching, therefore, needs to be conceptualized broadly and integrate the notion of professionalism..."
Through this literature review, I summarized a list of indicators for scholarship of teaching that are within the reach of all nonformal educators:
- Develop a teaching philosophy
- Continually question everything we do in the learning environment
- Ask for peer review of educational materials
- Use course evaluations
- Watch others teach
- Participate in a curriculum review committee
- Take part in philosophical discussions on student learning
- Read scholarly works related to teaching pedagogy
- Attend teaching conferences
- Share information with colleagues
- Transform learning through critical reflection from evaluations and teaching journal
- Create a teaching portfolio
Do you consider yourself a scholarly teacher? What are the techniques you use to improve your skills as an educator?
-- Nicole Pokorney, Extension educator
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