Monday, June 21, 2010

August 6, 2008 Reflection on Take One Class

Note:  I wrote this post two years ago but never shared it.  I guess I was too busy with the NB process to remember this mundane detail.  I am posting it now in hopes that it may be helpful to someone considering National Board certification.

Three weeks ago I took part in a TakeOne!© session conducted by the West Virginia Center for Professional Development.  The purpose of this four-day class was to help participants sample the National Board Teaching Certification process without making the commitment to take on the full process. 

I would highly recommend this course to anyone considering National Board Certification.  The facilitators have all gone through the process and successfully achieved certification.  They are extremely committed to helping other teachers achieve this goal.  One of my facilitators has agreed to be my mentor as I embark on my journey toward certification.  I can’t imagine doing this alone, as many of our colleagues have.

One of the most valuable activities we began in the workshop was the process of “personalizing the standards.”  Each certification area has a number of standards that must be addressed throughout the certification process.  By personalizing these standards to one’s particular practice, one can gauge how well he lives up to that benchmark.  More importantly, at least in terms of the certification process, he can identify practices and evidence of these practices to use in developing his portfolio entries. 

I personalized Standards 1 and 2 during the week of the course, but once I decided to pursue certification, I abandoned this practice in favor of developing my Documented Accomplishment portfolio entry.   Having completing description and analysis for many of my accomplishments, I decided I needed to personalize Standards 7, 8 and 10 to see if my documented accomplishments truly reflected these standards.

And there I was stuck.

Standard 7 concerns Reflective Practice, which is key to all certification areas.  Reflection on practice is considered a key to professional growth.  It includes all the ways one thinks about what he does and how he can make it better, what worked and what didn’t and what he’ll do again or scrap the next time around. 

I agree that Reflective Practice is vital to any professional growth, but I had a very hard time verbalizing my reflective practice.  When trying to verbalize my thoughts a huge, reproducing multi-plane concept map immerged in my mind.  I cannot isolate one concept without disturbing the map’s interdependent nature.

Such it is with my experience with the whole National Board process; one act is dependent on preceding events and sets the stage for new action.  It’s a growth thing, a change thing. 

Maybe that’s the point.

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