IAF Methods

Teachers Reflection

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This can be used as an opening for a Training of Trainers course or a way of reflecting on the influences on our lives.

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To be able to appreciate the positive and negative aspects of those who influenced our lives and to raise the question of how to become a more effective teacher.


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Ideal conditions: relaxed informal atmosphere.

Pre-Work Required: The facilitator needs to think through the stories they are going to use. The stories need to be accessible to the participants - something that they can identify with.

Type of Facilitator-Client Relationship: This requires some experience to actually pull off

Facilitator personality fit: Any is willing to take risks and share quite personal stories about their relationships with their teachers.



1. What are the qualities of a good teacher? What makes some teachers masters, not of knowledge but of getting people to learn?


1. Teaching is more than give good lectures. When have you been deeply affected by a teacher? (Tell a story of a teacher that deeply affected you. For example, I had an English teacher in University who insisted on treating me as his friend. We shared ideas and insights. I think I was more a colleague than a student.)- I don't think I will ever forget Dr. Commachero. What teacher has deeply effected you?

2. Some teachers seem to find ways for you to do more than you think you can. (Tell story of this kind of teacher. For example, I had a teacher in high school that taught mathematics. He was the first teacher I remember encouraging me to learn on my own. He gave me a book on conic sections, well outside the curriculum or even high school level. He believed that I could understand enough to learn from it.)

3. Sometimes a teacher knows you better than you know yourself. (Tell another story. I remember another English teacher who insisted on students doing their best. One time I turned in a paper, the next day she handed it back, and said, "You can do better than this. Return it when it is as good as you can make it.)- When has a teacher required more than you thought you could give?

4. Most teachers are not teachers but something else. (When I was in junior high school, I went to the cafe in my village. The owner taught me to play chess. Every day after school, I went to the cafe and I would watch him play. Sometimes he would let me play with him. He was a great teacher.)- When have you learned from someone that was not a teacher?

5. What are the qualities of a good teacher?

6. What is one practical thing you could do to become a better teacher?


1. I believe that great teachers are constant learners.

2. Make announcements.


Follow-Up Required: None

Usual or Expected Outcomes: Reflection on the roles our teachers have had on our lives.

Potential pitfalls: People not wanting to share personal stories

How success is evaluated: When this really works well there is a sense that something profound happened.


Source: Jon Jenkins

Derived from: This is a combination of the Basic Conversation Method and what was called Spirit Conversations by the Institute of Cultural Affairs.

History of Development: This particular conversation was developed as a part of a Training of Trainers Course.

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