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8  Chapter 1 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL Think about Deb’s Reflections Deb’s reflections about her observations of Jacob’s actions help her to take his play seriously. She notes her own reactions: delight in Jacob’s lively imagination and concern about safety. If she didn’t reflect on the larger significance of this play, she might stop it because of her discomfort. Her descriptions show how she continues to think through her goals and values, attending to children’s safety while appreciating and supporting these energetic and valuable activities. She is eager to ask Jacob’s family’s to tell her what they have seen him do at home and how they handle it. The information they provide will expand her understanding of Jacob and lead to meaningful two-way information sharing between home and school. Characteristics of Reflective Teaching What sets reflective teachers apart from other teachers? What characteristics do they display? Six basic characteristics are shared by teachers who practice reflec- tive teaching: 1. Reflective teachers ask themselves questions. 2. Reflective teachers consider children’s perspectives. 3. Reflective teachers are eager to gain more perspectives. 4. Reflective teachers look for details. 5. Reflective teachers examine the environment. 6. Reflective teachers are fully engaged in their work. Reflective Teachers Ask Themselves Questions As you read in Deb’s story and her thoughts about Jacob, the heart of reflective teaching is taking time to think and respond rather than reacting without larger considerations. Reflective teachers ask themselves questions, first to reflect on their own responses to any situation and then to consider what from their own experiences and beliefs might be influencing their responses. Before reacting from this personal place, they consider whether their point of view will sup- port or detract from the children’s experience. Reflective teachers are willing to examine themselves, and they have a clear sense of what they value and the role they play in children’s lives. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL