About JMS Reflect

Two books have inspired my thinking about teaching more than any others in recent years.  “This Much I Know…” by John Tomsett and “What If Everything You Knew About Education Was Wrong?” by David Didau.  Although they read very differently both challenge the reader to think for themselves about their teaching and reflect in one way or another on the truths they hold dear, and to question them.  Not necessarily to erase, discard or throw out all the best practice that one accumulates from years to teaching but to stop, think and … reflect.  Too little time is given to this in teaching, far too little.  Too often we are encourage to think of ourselves as masters of a profession; if not fonts of knowledge at least highly skilled practitioners who fundamentally know what we are doing.  In the modern era of targets and performance management admitting that you’re not sure what you are doing can cause not only the usual battle of wills between ego and esteem but also threaten career damage and credibility.  Predictions are supposed to be accurate, outcomes secured and no child’s needs left unmet.  None of these are unworthy aims, but they do not always leave the time and space to ask questions, of ourselves and our colleagues, to put our hands up and say “I don’t know” or to really question our own practice.  I am lucky to work in a supportive school, surrounded by colleagues who love teaching and enjoy talking and thinking about it.  But, even then, pressure, time and other demands interfere with the space and time to grow and reflect.  Since reading Didau, Tomsett and many others whose works I mention in this blog, I have developed a better understanding of what it means to be a reflective practitioner.  I’ve realised that there is a far more that I don’t know than that I do, a hell of a lot I thought I knew that I didn’t and plenty of question I never asked that I should have.  But in many ways there has never been a more exciting time to be a teacher; so much is up for discussion, research has never been more accessible and there is a lively and engaged community encouraging teachers everywhere to share, to question and to reflect.  The aim of this blog is not to direct or advocate particular strategies or approaches but to share some of the things my colleagues and I have been reflecting upon in recent months.