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Uncle Tom's Quick Bread
The basic ingredient of this recipe is reflective writing. Developed by John
Dewey over three generations ago, reflective writing with its roots in the
scientific method has been a source of developmental nutrition for many
educators, but it can take a lot of time, which many of us do not have.
Uncle Tomís Quick Bread (UTQB) has all the ingredients of reflective writing
but preparation time is only 15 minutes. This written reflection allows us
to look at our classroom as an interested observer, lessening the emotion
and personalization inherent in our profession.
The process provides us with a simple step-by-step tool to objectively
analyze what went on, gain new insights into our teaching and initiate
Here is the four-step recipe which can be put together on the train, at
home, or in the classroom as your students write their reflective journals.
brainstorm and write in as much detail as possible what happened in your
class (9 minutes)
write what worked in your class and why (2 minutes)
write what didnít work in your class and why (2 minutes)
write what you would like to change in your next class † (2 minutes)
After writing UTQB you may want to share what happened in your class with
other teachers through peer mentoring. This can be done by posting your
writing to an e-mail group or meeting face to face to talk about your
writing. Remember that what is good for teachers is also good for students.
Iíve received over 4000 UTQB journals from university students and I am now
working with eight-year old children doing reflective drawing.
Reflection has always been one of the main ingredients in the recipe for
personal and professional development. I hope that UTQB offers you a time
efficient way to utilize reflection and move forward with your teaching.
If you have any questions or would like to share your reflective writings,
please e-mail me at [email protected]
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