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Stephen Brookfields Four Critical Thinking Processes

Building on the insights of his highly acclaimed earlier work, The Skillful Teacher, Stephen D. Brookfield offers a very personal and accessible guide to how faculty at any level and across all disciplines can improve their teaching. Applying the principles of adult learning, Brookfield thoughtfully guides teachers through the processes of becoming critically reflective about teaching, confronting the contradictions involved in creating democratic classrooms and using critical reflection as a tool for ongoing personal and professional development.Using numerous examples, Brookfield describes what critical reflection is and why it is so important. He tells how teachers can reframe their teaching by viewing their practice through four distinctive lenses: their autobiographies as teachers and learners, their students' eyes, their colleagues' perceptions, and theoretical literature. He includes specific advice on using practical approaches to critical reflection such as teaching diaries, role model profiles, participant learning portfolios, structured critical conversation. the Critical Incident Classroom Questionnaire, the Good Practices Audit, and more. He explains how the literature of educational research and philosophy can be used as an aid to, rather than an inhibitor of, critical reflection. And he discusses how to create a campus culture that supports critically reflective teaching.

From conception to 8th grade, I lived in the tiny state of Connecticut. I lived in colonial style houses with big backyards and I knew every family in my neighborhood down to the name of their dog. Life was simple.

I then moved to a large city in the Bay Area in California. For those who may not know, the Bay Area is the cluster of cities surrounding San Francisco including San Francisco itself. Right off the bat, I had a hard time adjusting. The 8th grade was a horrible time to move since everyone were friends with each other since birth and grew up in the social bubble that is the Bay Area.

After years of adjusting, I finally got the hang of it Sophomore year of high school. I joined sports teams and clubs and I expanded my social circle. My mind really opened up to the free will of the West Coast. I began to realize how much fun it was to live in California. You could practically do anything you want (as long as you’re willing to drive in the freeway traffic). I was opened up to new practices and interests like yoga, hiking and exploration, veganism, fashion, and to discover your passion and what you were put on Earth to do.

Then my Senior year rolled around, and at the same time, California was experiencing major inflation. The average 3 bedroom 2 bath house was going for roughly $1 million dollars on the market. All around me new housing complexes were being built; houses on houses of the same exact house, just with a different color scheme. I started to see the “golden hills” of the valley around my city for what it really was; burnt and dead.

The blur of the headlights on the freeway every night I drove past it, feeling sorry for the poor parents who want to get home to their children by dinner time but their commute is an hour and a half. I started to dislike where I was. I looked forward to visiting my family back in Connecticut, where the water was clear and the grass and hills were green. That’s when I decided to do what is better for my soul; move back to Connecticut.

Of course, I didn’t choose Connecticut (CCSU to be exact) just because of looks. It boiled down to out-of-state tuition for the first year will still be cheaper than in-state tuition in California. I also preferred the social bubble that is New England. I liked being so close to other states and other populous cities rather than just being close to San Francisco. I missed having four distinct seasons and seeing snow on Christmas. I missed seeing New England Patriots fans on the daily. I missed my extended family. I missed it all.

However, after living here, I do miss California. I miss my friends, including my soul sister who I did everything with. I miss the long drives to the beach. I miss the dry heat (I don’t think anyone likes humidity). I miss the vast array of vegan and vegetarian options that was actually good. I miss the few people that had golden souls who would lay in hammocks with me and sing our favorite indie songs.

Upon further reflection, I realized that although my heart may ache for the people I left behind, I am beyond grateful and lucky to have experienced what I have. I am so different from my fellow classmates here in Connecticut, and I am grateful for that. I am happy I chose to settle down here in Connecticut, and I am happy that I can fly to California to visit whenever I want. I am happy with how my life has turned out thus far.

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