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John Pallister :: Blog :: Recursion, reflecting on reflections

September 28, 2008

 Recursion does not come by me very often, and then three examples present themselves in as many weeks. An Examination board that asks teachers to assess portfolio work against given criteria; then asks for predicted grades for each student. If the predictions, nationally, are lower that the actual grades based on the assessment against criteria, the grades are adjusted downwards. While reflecting on how this ‘spiral‘ was disadvantaging students, I began to reflect on my professional performance and what I had done to result in my students  achieving one grade lower than they should have. In an attempt to break-out of a negative reflective loop, I set about tidying out my study. I came across the Year Book produced by the previous Year 13. The first two pages were covered in the handwritten personal comments from the students. All comments were positive, supportive and helped to interject some positivity in to my reflections. I decided that the reflections and thinking of others are significant to the reflections of the individual and can in turn, support their learning. My thinking drifted on to ePortfolios. I found myself regretting that I had not kept my ePortfolio up-to-date and had I included all of the positive feedback from ‘old’ students, I  would have been able  use it to counter my negative thinking and to support and encourage some positive thinking.  Reflecting on negative thinking can be a recursive process. It highlighted something that all teachers know but that needs to be emphasised when we work with learners who are using ePortfolios. We need to take great care and must try to encourage learners to include some positivity in their reflections. We need to encourage them to recognise their strengths and reinforce the positives.  Nothing really new, but if we are encouraging peer reviews, they will need some training.  Well, quite a lot of training plus sensitivity! Then I followed a really good discussion on the Becta Research List. It started about Interactive whiteboards, I yawned at first, then they got into the good stuff. Only as good as the operator; only interactive, in most cases, with the teacher. Lots about 1 to many interactions.  Being a bit of an ePortfolio enthusiast, I found myself wondering why they were not grasping the nettle and were not discussing how we might  harness the potential of the ePortfolio process to support learning; to support 1:1 interaction; to support Personalised learning. So I ended up on the personal learning environment bit again and got in to a loop! A PLE – the environment in which an individual learns. The learning bit – plan, do review/reflect, in an environment that engages the learner. The  environment – any situation that is planned or that presents itself, that provides learning opportunities. Learning opportunities – any opportunities that provides the learner with the … to engage in the learning process. The learning process - plan something, get on and do it, review and reflect on what happened.  Another loop to sort out! 

Overview for Keywords: e-portfolio, eportfolio, PLEs, recursion, reflection

Blogs with Keywords: e-portfolio, eportfolio, PLEs, recursion, reflection

Posted by John Pallister


  1. Thank you for this John; people who support and assess portfolios really need to inhabit the process themselves and need support and development them/ourselves. Not the least because of the tendency from time to time to get locked into negative cycles. It seems to me that the assessment and support of eportfolios requires more "training" than even the keping of them. And, we so often neglect this dimension.

    George RobertsGeorge Roberts on Monday, 29 September 2008, 22:10 BST # |

  2. Hi George – as I see it, to integrate and harness the ePortfolio process is the big challenge.  We will have no chance of doing either unless we can convince, in the first case, the teachers that the process is important, that it has value. Having done that they need to be supported as they develop the skills that they will need to support their learners.  My thinking about ePortfolios goes all over the place at the moment.  I see the potential; I see that they are ‘do-able’ and then get frustrated when nothing much is happening in UK schools. Some teachers recognise the potential of the ePortfolio process http://groups.google.co.uk/group/eportfolios-and-plts/browse_thread/thread/524e80e2d2ab0098/d610933d3a727775?hl=en&lnk=gst&q=reflection#d610933d3a727775  Teachers need their own ePortfolio  http://groups.google.co.uk/group/eportfolios-and-plts/browse_thread/thread/380c552c5d5dcec4/3272ad930d96b5ec?hl=en&lnk=gst&q=teachers#3272ad930d96b5ec  

    Teacher need to develop/sharpen-up  a new set of skills if they are effectively support learners who are using ePortfolios  http://eduspaces.net/jpallister/weblog/154629.html


    MOSEP made a bit of  start then got a bit lost http://wikieducator.org/MOSEP:_UK_One_Day_Introduction_-_Session_1



    John PallisterJohn Pallister on Tuesday, 30 September 2008, 20:43 BST # |

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