Going to the Balcony: Two Professors Reflect and Examine Their Pedagogy
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AbstractThe purpose of this essay is twofold. First of all, we want to emphasize the value of taking time to reflect on the effectiveness of our teaching practices, especially when we sense that teaching and learning processes have become ‘stale.’ Heifetz and Linsky (2002) equate reflection with “going to the balcony from the dance floor” to view our actions from a different perspective, and this is what we attempted to do. Secondly, we want to highlight the professional and personal satisfaction that can result from collaboration with a colleague when investigating elements of the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL). To give you some background, let us describe how we evolved into this “balcony” place. We share a common history, having been elementary school principals in Illinois for many years. While leading our schools, we also completed our doctoral degrees at Illinois State University under the same advisor. We became friends through serving on the executive board of Illinois Women in Educational Leadership organization and nurtured our friendship by attending professional conferences together and conducting a joint research project. We both transitioned to teaching Educational Leadership at the university level in Illinois, but Linda moved to Alabama in 2005. Our research and collaboration on mentoring aspiring school leaders continued “across state lines” and has expanded over the last five years with additional national presentations and publications.