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Developing a Critical Lens in Education: Your Ultimate Guide

    Teachers work in an ever-changing world, with the education sector being forced to adjust to accommodate technological innovation and other areas of life. The main goal of teachers is to prepare students for this world, helping them to act toward each other and the environment with compassion and understanding. However, what some educators consider democratic and respectful may be seen by others as oppressive and restraining.

    developing critical lens
    developing critical lens

    Reflective teaching encourages teachers to impart skills to students to help them look at the world and education using a critical lens. It is the process of hunting assumptions and critically examining everything before accepting it as truth or knowledge. Here are some steps to help you develop a critical lens in education.

    What Makes Reflection Critical?

    It is important to reiterate that critical reflection is a process of making meaning of an experience. It is analytical, descriptive, and critical and can be articulated orally, in writing, or as artistic other words, critical expression adds depth and breadth to your experience, building a connection between course material and experience.

    A set of written prompts usually guides academic reflection. Students should respond to prompts before, during, and after their experiences. In other words, teachers are mandated to adjust prompts to match reflection. Remember, critical reflection can be integrated into any form of experiential learning activity. Remember, critical reflection is not a reading assignment.

    Neither is it an activity summary or an emotional outlet without other dimensions of experience being analyzed and described. In other words, critical reflection should be carefully designed to generate and document student learning processes before, during, and after the experience. If you need help with your assignment, work with an essay writing service.

    Importance of the Critical Lens

    So, why is critical reflection important in education? Critical reflection involves several risks and complexities, so we must understand why many professionals advocate for it. First, evidence shows that adopting a critical lens helps students make informed decisions. It also helps teachers understand what they teach and its implications for students and the wider society.  

    Critical reflection also helps teachers develop a rationale for practice. It grounds teachers’ most challenging decisions in core beliefs, values, and assumptions. Therefore, adopting a critical lens is a professional, psychological, and political requirement for practice. A critical lens helps instructors remain emotionally grounded and enlivens classrooms.

    Steps for Using Critical Lens in Education

    critical lens in education
    critical lens in education

    Critical reflection is one of the most effective ways to motivate learning. Here are some important steps to use this approach effectively.

    • Identify Student Learning Outcomes

    Academic learning outcomes imply measurable skills, knowledge, and abilities that students are expected to show after completing a course. Learning outcomes are student-centered because they describe what the student is to do. Therefore, the focus is not on what the instructor teaches but on what the student learns.

    Learning outcomes describe the skills, abilities, knowledge, and values students should demonstrate after completing a course. They are student-centered rather than teacher-centered, explaining what the students will do, not what the instructor will teach. What are learners expected to gain as a result of the educational experience? Are they expected to understand several points of view or be able to propose solutions to specific problems?

    Remember that learning outcomes are not standalone statements but relate to each other and are linked to the course title. By articulating learning outcomes to students, you set clear goals for them to attain. As a result, they will have learned what they are expected to know and gained the skills required by the end of the educational experience.

    • Design Reflection Activities to Meet the Outcomes

    Once you have established student-oriented learning outcomes, look for strategies or reflection activities to help students attain the specific outcomes. Remember, the process of critical reflection is continuous. This means the instructor should engage students in critical reflection throughout and even after the educational experience. Most importantly, the instructor should find effective ways of assessing learning and providing timely and continuous feedback.

    This article has shown that critical reflection in education is inherently ideological and morally grounded. It emerges from a concern to create environments where students can explore educational experiences more deeply. A critical lens, therefore, is the process of identifying, questioning, and evaluating deeply held assumptions about knowledge and how we look at things. When you examine things critically, you use course material and established evidence to examine biases and compare theories with present actions and experiences. Remember, critical reflection aims to change your thinking about a subject to change behavior and understanding.

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    Betina Jessen

    Betina Jessen

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