Critical Thinking

Personal to streamline my personal development in order

Personal
Development

“We must become the change we want to see
in the world .” — Mahatma Gandhi

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“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only
through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition
inspired, and success achieved.” — Helen Keller

I personally deemed this module  invaluable 
and  of utmost importance.   Unlike the other  modules , this one is about me as a person , it is about
the  plain and unvarnished truth of my
own character and myself . This module gave me an unprecedented opportunity to
probe deeply into my inner self to 
discern  and work on my weaknesses and capitalize on my
strengths so as to cultivate strong personal development skills which hopefully
,  will launch me to new heights both at
the personal and professional levels .

This personal development training  almost 
impacted every aspect of my life and made me ponder on every single  experience to get rid of  negative thoughts that pull me down  . My self-awareness of  my personal
struggles, triumphs, confusions, longings, digressions and  mistakes .  Discerning my own reality , the  hallmarks of my life , my character ,  my feelings , my strengths , my
weaknesses  . Only by confronting my deepest truths 
and  by dispelling my lifelong
fictions,  I can  walk an authentic path and truly know
who  I am . To this end , personal
development is not a choice , it is rather a must if I want to streamline my
personal development in order to  
maximize my potential ,achieve my aims 
and as a matter of fact have a more fulfilling , and better quality of
life .

 Beyond a shadow of  a doubt 
growing personally  will improve
my career as a future inspector  . Becoming 
the conscious creator of my life will definitely make me  enjoy 
a fulfilling career that honours my unique traits and that makes me
motivated , energized and enthusiastic , hoping to achieve inspiring goals with
disciplined daily habits , and consciously embrace my extraordinary
professional journey . In the center of this
journey lie two things : positivity and openness to learn. Without these two,
any effort  will certainly go  down in vain.

Interestingly enough ,
this is an area that needs conscious investment of time, effort and practice to
continually learn and developmy knowledge , skills and attitudes.  Before 
I get started and embark upon my professional journey in which I am
inclined to make a difference in the daily practices of teachers ,  I should be prepared to understand and master
new things, to learn to be open ,  and to
stay positive whatever the situations I come across or face  . I know it will not be an easy journey
, it will definitely  take me out of my
comfort zone . I am consciously aware that this journey is worth the time and
effort.   Seeking new experiences and
learning new skills will  open the door
to growth and innovation. The graph below summarizes the most important steps
of this journey .

Trying to 
develop myself will certainly have tremendous benefits in connection
with my career as a future inspector . Hopefully , this personal
development  will help me set   definite goals and work hard to achieve my full potential . I am cognizant
that I should be  responsible for my
personal development before shouldering the weighty  responsibility of  developing teachers . It goes without saying
that I cannot hope to change others if I do not start by improving myself . If
I come across difficult situations self -development  techniques that I developed throughout this
year and I will continue to develop , will certainly help me  face and
handle different situations with utmost panache and candor, and finally
mitigate risks and solve problems . 

 A
conscious and conscientious personal development is the key to improving myself
to grow personally and professionally enhancing my quality of life , self
discipline , talent , potential  , and my
mission performance .  According to
Maslow ( 1970 ) all individuals have an inbuilt need for personal development
which ranges from satisfying our  basic
physiological needs  to a higher  a process called self-actualization . Every
person without exception  has limitless
room for growth . Only when one need is met , can a higher one be developed .
At the bottom of the hierarchy we find the basic physiological needs , and at
the top there is the need for self-actualization as shown by the graph below :

 

Self –actualization  which comes at the top of the pyramid refers
to the desire that everybody has “to become everything that they are capable of
becoming . In plain terms , self-actualization refers to self-fulfillment and
the need to reach full potential . As the pyramid shows , the people who reach
this stage are very few .

There is no debate that striving to  develop ourselves continuously is something
natural . Growth is the law of life .The self is not a static entity .It is
being continuously shaped and constructed . According to Henry Newman , life is
a wonderful opportunity , if we do not seize it we can easily waste it . If we
do not endeavour  to develop ourselves ,
our unique talents will always remain hidden and  unexplored . Our success as future
inspectors  depends  largely on personal effectiveness . A
productive and fruitful life arises out of striving to develop ourselves ,
sowing the seeds of success and reaping the harvest . Our life is our  garden,
what  we sow is what we  will reap. 
We have to seed  it with hope,
positive energy, good manners, and creativity. 
We have to irrigate it with faith, hard work, and good company if we
want to succeed and accomplish our mission. Professional development
involves developing ourselves  in
our  role to entirely understand the job
we  do and how we  can improve. It involves enhancing the
necessary skills to carry out our role as effectively as possible and is
something that will continue throughout your working life. With changes to our
working lives happening every day,  it is
important to develop your skillset to remain effective in our career
ensuring  that our knowledge and
understanding of our area of expertise is always at the highest possible level.
It is the acquisition of skills and knowledge for career advancement, but it
also includes an element of personal development.

To prime ourselves we must
fine-tune ourselves .Self-development is vital not just to realize one full
potential but also to implement one’s personal mission in life . Fulfillment of
mission is the result of constant striving . Self- development begins  with assuming responsibility , the ultimate
responsibility for our lives lies in our hands .Therefore we must be proactive
, we should not sit around waiting for things to happen , seizing every
opportunity that comes in our way .This above all requires inner strength and
tenacity of purpose. When things go wrong we should not focus much on why they
happened , but rather on how we can overcome these pitfalls . Putting the blame
on others will not help and takes nowhere .We must look at them positively
.Mahatma Ghandi told his followers that whatever may be taken from them , no
one can take their self-respect away .

 Although  I am someone who does not accept defeat
easily and who will fight to improve a situation, either personal or
professional, this year’s experience was unprecedented notably in terms of
self-doubt  that made me  even question my whole training and undermined
my  own confidence . I needed help to
overcome my self-doubt, and go back 
to  a positive frame of mind and I
was lucky . This module of sophrology and self-development  made me regain faith in my ability to work on
myself  to become a  better 
one  in all areas of my life . I
learned  to use the  mind/body connection to focus my attention on
the present moment and visualize a more positive future.  During this module we tried different  simple   exercises 
involving basic movements, such as 
visualization, and  deep breath in order to achieve 
a harmony between the mind and the body 
.One exercise was  the
tense-and-release technique in which  we were required to breathe in,
tense up all our  muscles, and then
breathe out, letting everything go at the same time. The sense of release and
relief from doing this exercise  was
really tangible and made us want to repeat 
it so many times . This exercise only takes few  minutes, but the effects are long-lasting.
Ideally, we can find a few -minute break in our busy day to breathe
consciously with our eyes closed and give our brain some rest.

 

In addition to the previously mentioned tense and release technique we
tried other techniques  and exercises to develop personally 
.Some of them are listed below :

 

–     
Using my inner strengths

–     
Setting clear goals and working smarter not harder .

–     
Getting  rid of
my  negative thoughts .

–     
 looking forward
even when things fail

–     
Being 
positive  and avoiding  negativity to live in harmony with oneself
and with others .

–     
Controlling 
my  emotions , fears ,  anger , 
and joy

–     
Dealing 
with stress

–     
Being  creative
collaborative instead of imposing things as an authority .

–     
 Developing Self
discipline by pushing past once debilitating fears and concerns .

–     
Valuing ourselves , emotions , body and thoughts  by getting rid of my representations ,
judgments , prejudices  and false ideas
about others. 

 

How
is this module going to help me as a future inspector ?

There is no debate
that  self-development  is tightly connected with  professional 
development . Using the aforementioned techniques I will indeed   improve and enhance my professional   skills , and my self-discipline , talent and
potential . Studying  this module  led me 
to jumpstart my  growth  and make personal development a priority . My
firm belief is if I can do it so others can .Leading by example is much better
than imposing things  . I remember that
when I tried to convince my students to keep a portfolio and a diary , The first
question that I heard  ” sir , do you
keep a diary or a portfolio . If I told 
them no , I would never have convinced them whatever I said . I told
them that I do keep a portfolio as a teacher and I used to keep a diary when I
was their age  . Likewise as a future
inspector I cannot tell teachers to take charge of their own personal and
professional development and I do the opposite . If I want them to work
collaboratively , be creative and innovative , 
they have to see it in me .

If we do not develop
ourselves our unique and hidden talents remain unexplored , success depends on
personal effectiveness . a productive life arises out of striving . face and
handle different situations with utmost panache and candor.  Cultivating
positivity , negative thinking is remarkably destructive to the person and
those around him . During post observation conference I  told my mentor to pay attention to every word
I say .  I always try to  be positive 
by spending less time dwelling on what went wrong and more time looking
ahead to what could be done better. I should always value teachers’ efforts and
talk about the things that worked well and take them as a springboard towards
improvement .   I should distance  emotion from reaction because  it is tremendously important to avoid the
pitfall of hasty emotional reactions , taking time to pause , reflect  and weigh consequences before proceeding with
my feedback . Developing rational decision making  and 
lowering stress  and growing the
seed of self –control  . Triage my  priorities 
and fuelling equanimity . 
Throughout our  daily routines we
experience  ups and downs , twists and
bounds , we have to cultivate an equanimous state of mind  to evolve 
beyond self-limitation  and
unleash our potential , small thinking limits our ability to spark creative
thinking .

Some of the techniques
that I have already tried during the inspection, coaching and advisory
visits  post lesson observation that I
have run myself .These   techniques
proved to  have far-reaching
positive  implications in my  personal life as well as  in my professional life .Learning about
myself  helped me in many  areas of my life and my mission . Some of my
traits have been both sharpened and enhanced, such as patience, understanding
and more empathy for others. I improved my reflex and started to  slow down my thoughts . My confidence has
been brought to a new level. I am also much more relaxed and at ease with
myself,  I am able to assess situations
better and approach them with the correct attitude and get the best outcome
from them. I am less negative than I previously was. My self-doubt
disappeared and my passion to make a difference in the daily lives of
teachers  started growing . I learned to
reflect and observe myself in action  and
not to have hasty judgements .

I remember that when our trainer
, Mr. Armond Chriki , asked me and Faten to role-play  a situation in  a post- lesson observation conference
between  an inspector and a defensive
teacher  who does not acknowledge his
weaknesses .  I thought about it for a
while and I realized  I  should be more strategic especially when I
problem solve and come across difficult situations  .I look for ways to collaborate with others
and obtain their input and feedback .I think about the connections and the impact
my decisions and actions may have on others .The fundamental realization that I
had was to make the time to reflect and think before acting .  I try to be less sarcastic and more patient
in my meetings with teachers whether they are training sessions or post
observations lesson conferences  .
Another important ingredient of success I started working on and that will be
dwelt with thoroughly in the coming module 
has to with my listening skills and trying to avoid finishing other
peoples’ sentences .  Heightening my
awareness about these issues  these will
help me make more conscious choices about how I want to be in my present
mission.

Having observed , and
assessed some teachers during some classroom visits , I now recognize that this
process involves a web of issues and dilemmas for both observers and observees
. I will now look at ways in which I  can
be self-aware and better prepared for the task I am charged with .

Dilemma
1: Observer’s  experience :

Whenever an observer steps
in a classroom , he or she very seldom observes in a completely
non-judgemental  way . His or her own
view of what a classroom should look like and the proper relationships between
teachers and learners may influence his or her judgement . Awareness of our
assumptions is half the battle .When we  
observe teachers we should clear our heads from of our own preferences
and practices and try to see what the teacher is trying to do and why .I need
to remember that a lesson can be taught in different ways . I need to ask  the teacher to understand the reasons behind
a teaching decision and find out if the teacher has acted in a principled way
–or not .

Dilemma
2: Should I tell the
teacher about all the weaknesses ?

An observer  should 
be selective  when it comes to
discussing the areas for improvement in any lesson . Focusing  on three or four points in a lesson can lead
to concrete action and improvement in a teacher.  A future inspector needs to remember that
this is often more helpful to a teacher than to be confronted with all the
points that did not go well .   Negative comments on the lesson as a whole may do harm more than good , and
may  perplex  the teacher 
and leave him or her  wondering where to start when
planning the next lesson. Being trained in supervision procedures and  being observed giving feedback  by my mentor gave me  an opportunity  to become more aware of the value and impact
of the different options available  in
the post-lesson discussion (cf Freeman 1982, Gebhard 1990).

Dilemma
3: The Impact of an Observer’s Presence

The presence of the
inspector always causes distraction to both teachers and their students .This
is compounded by the stresses and strains involved  when a teacher is assessed mainly during
inspection visits.  For a  trainee teacher  it can be a  ‘make or break’ , life-changing
moment; for a seasoned  teacher self-esteem and self-worth are at
stake. To minimize  distraction and the
psychological weight of the inspector presence ,   he or she  should  sit where 
he or she can get a good view of the lesson with the least possible
distraction to teacher and students . This year 
I also I learned to get greet the teacher first , ask for the class
notebook and students’ copy books right from the beginning of the session so
that not to disturb the teacher  during
the lesson.

Reflection

 

 

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