September 2005
Volume 9, Number 2

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Teacher Development through Exploration: Principles, Ways, and Examples

Jerry G. Gebhard
Indiana University of Pennsylvania


To truly develop as teachers, we need to be free to explore teaching, and exploration can be based on a set of principles and ways to explore. Principles can include: (1) transcending the goal of improving our teaching by aiming at seeing teaching differently, (2) taking responsibility for our own teaching while recognizing the need for others, (3) taking a non-prescriptive stance; (4) basing teaching decisions on description, (5) being nonjudgmental, (6) being reflective, (7) going beyond a problem solving attitude, and (8) exploring through different avenues, such as by trying the opposite of what we normally do. There are a variety of ways to explore our teaching.

Three ways I highly recommend and discuss and illustrate through examples include (1) self-observation, (2) observation of other teachers, and (3) talk with other teachers about what we observe in a nonjudgmental and non-prescriptive way.

Keywords: EFL, ESL, Second Language Teacher Development, Teacher Exploration, Reflective Practice, Teacher Observation

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