Knowledge

Reflections on a lesson (the Critical Incident)

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John C. Flanagan talks about a ‘critical incident’ (Flanagan, 1954) that can happen. With respect to this theory from an observation I had for my lesson, once this class had finished I had a meeting with the observer and he mentioned my teacher training was more about discussion than actual instruction.

Although I was actually teaching the subject matter to a certain level, I assumed this was myself basing the lesson more on communication and giving the students access to have thoughts and opinions on the topic mentioned by me. All the same, this was now my ‘critical incident’. My observer had mentioned something that stunned me a little while making me contemplate and reflect upon. In the class, I was raising issues and theories about teaching and talking about those elements of being a teacher with the students, but my observer was highlighting that I should be wholly teaching the students the subject matter.

Although myself completely taking over the class could be unjust to the students, I felt this observation was quite true that the students should have been given more of a solid background knowledge about the subject. I need to fully (if not more) do/complete my job and give them the whole picture. It could be the case that the students can be just speaking about the subject as they (could) do without any prior knowledge of teaching. Generally speaking, we can all talk about various topics as if we have knowledge of them.

This is why this ‘critical incident’ where my observer highlighted a factor in my teaching, I have now felt (after reflection) that I have to fully complete my task as a teacher and stand there in front of the students and truly show them what I know and how the subject of the lesson should be known. It means espousing my knowledge in ways that show the students I am a qualified, professional, and proficient teacher that clearly demonstrates the topic on a level that challenges and inform the students. Thus, the level of discussion will hopefully be raised thereafter.

(348 Words)

Flanagan, J.C. 1954. The critical incident technique. Psychological Bulletin.