The reflective leader and practitioner carefully measures their actions and responses of the students to knowledge they have acquired. Based on this information, teachers are able to adjust their teaching to meet the needs of the students. Kinsella (2007) refers to this as knowing in action. The same principle applies to educational leadership as leaders need to adjust learned theories and mold them to the unique characteristics within their organization (Copland & Knapp, 2006).
These principles have been applied toward an educational pursuit as new theories have influenced the methods of instruction, assessment and overall design of courses as well as lesson plans. Each course has substantiated my belief that educators need to focus on individuals and then content. As the individual student has been placed at the forefront of planning sessions through the application of differentiated techniques, the targeted knowledge has been learned by my students with a greater efficiency as well as with the greater ability to apply it.
Additionally, the principles of differentiated learning propel educators toward a desire to study self-directed learning in greater depth. These theories not only aligned with educational philosophies but also permitted teachers to examine further applications. The development and understanding of differentiated instruction within the realm of self-directed learning can be applied to a variety of educational maladies as the focus on education returns to individuals and gives them responsibility for their education pursuits in creating passionate lifelong learners.
Differentiated instruction and self-directed learning require educators and educational leaders to guide individuals through the learning process (Gibbons, 2008). Such a practice defines the principles of a reflective leader as educators mold learning and leading theories to individual needs. Through the process of reflection, planning and teaching (Copland & Knapp, 2006).
Copland, M., & Knapp, M. (2006). Connecting leadership with learning: A framework for reflection, planning, and action.
Gibbons, M. (2011). Tips to journal keeping. Retrieved from www.selfdirectedlearning.com/tips.html
Kinsella, E. (2007). Embodied reflection and the epistemology of reflective practice. Journal of Philosophy of Education, 41(3), 395-409.
By Tracy Atkinson
Tracy Atkinson, mother of six, lives in the Midwest with her husband. She is a teacher, having taught elementary school to higher education, holding degrees in elementary education and a master’s in higher education. Her passion is researching, studying and investigating the attributes related to self-directed learners. She has published several titles, including Calais: The Annals of the Hidden, Lemosa: The Annals of the Hidden, Book Two, Rachel’s 8 and Securing Your Tent. She is currently working on a non-fiction text exploring the attributes of self-directed learners: The Five Characteristics of Self-directed Learners.