Friday, June 3, 2011

Critical self-awareness and transformative learning

Critical self-awareness is very essential to the continuous development of man in every aspect of human endeavour. In promoting peace education, it is very important for us to cultivate the idea of constant examination and reflection of our selves.
It is only by developing a sense of constant self-examination and reflection on our thoughts, words and actions that we can actually perceive any inherent flaws and initiate appropriate transformative action to effect changes.
Journaling(In form of diary keeping or Blogging), could be a good way of ensuring we keep a well documented portfolio of our activities, which we can refer to in order to measure our current levels, assess our progresses and reflect on what needs to be changed to make us better.
Teacher discussion groups will be a very effective way of developing critical self-awareness, but there must be a sincere willingness on the part of all concerned to use the discussion forum as a platform for collectively assessing one another and offering constructive suggestions on how to make improvements where needed.
Personally, I am capable of objectively examining my actions and I prefer crossexamining my actions in relation to the teaching of my religion and the effects of these actions on my interpersonal relationships.
I build inputs from spoken and sometimes unspoken feedback garnered from people with whom I interact. I also sometimes directly seek fro feedback, especially when it has to do with my relationship with my students.
For instance, it is one of my usual practices, to ask students to suggest one thing they think I could change about myself or introduce which they think could make the learning process more interesting.
I usually get lots of varied responses, some interesting, some scratchy and biting; but I really appreciate having the benefit of that mirror which grants me a glimpse into how my students perceive me. (A student once suggested that I should become more friendly, and this lead me to a personal soul search, and the truth was that I discovered I was bringing my personal worries with me into the classroom and thus seeming unfriendly !!!. That observation really helped me a lot).
Using inputs like this, combined with others from other people’s observations and body language, I am able to initiate transformations in my personality, teaching methods, or whatever part of my life needs adjustment.
One important issue here is that the teacher must be willing to be humble enough to see himself as a human being who is not perfect and thus liable to make mistakes. It is only this acceptance of being a normal human being who could make mistakes that will enable us be able to maintain an open mind to criticisms and observations from others. It is these inputs and proper reflection upon them that will help us in seeing what needs to be changed and decide on how best to about the change. By being able to see ourselves as being involved in a state of perpetual learning, we are most likely to continue making improvements on a regular basis and be more adjustable to situations.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Ibrahim,

    Yes, I think it is a good practice to get feedback from students. I often give out a survey at the end of the session that asks 3 questions: what did you like about the class? what didn't you like about the class? and what activities or content would you like to see added to the class? I think it is important for students to focus on the positive elements of their class experience and not just on their criticisms. I try to keep the focus on the class content and lessons and not put the focus on me personally. I think you are quite brave to ask students to make a comment about you personally. Maybe I will give it a try the next time I teach. However, I do think that the focus should be on the class content and activities first.


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This work by Ibrahim K. Oyekanmi ( is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.