After any observation, you will be given a glow and grow. This is where your observer will let you know something you rocked at during your observation and something you may need some improvement in. We ALL have room to grow as professional educators, so this is quite normal and commended. Sometimes, you are recommended to partake in a course on Teachscape. Actually locating the course can be a bit tricky! Due to this, below you will find detailed instructions on how to locate and begin taking your course if you are recommended for a Teachscape course. You may look at it from this page, or feel free to download the PDF to your computer.
Reflective teaching means looking at what you do in the classroom, thinking about why you do it, and thinking about if it works - a process of self-observation and self-evaluation.
By collecting information about what goes on in our own classroom, and by analysing and evaluating this information, we identify and explore our own practices and underlying beliefs. This may then lead to changes and improvements in our teaching.
Reflective teaching is therefore a means of professional development which begins in our classroom.
Why it is important
Many teachers already think about their teaching and talk to colleagues about it too. You might think or tell someone that "My lesson went well" or "My students didn't seem to understand" or "My students were so badly behaved today."
However, without more time spent focussing on or discussing what has happened, we may tend to jump to conclusions about why things are happening. We may only notice reactions of the louder students. Reflective teaching therefore implies a more systematic process of collecting, recording and analysing our thoughts and observations, as well as those of our students, and then going on to making changes.
• If a lesson went well we can describe it and think about why it was successful.
• If the students didn't understand a language point we introduced we need to think about what we did and why it
may have been unclear.
• If students are misbehaving - what were they doing, when and why?
Beginning the Process of Reflection
You may begin a process of reflection in response to a particular problem that has arisen with one or your classes, or simply as a way of finding out more about your teaching. You may decide to focus on a particular class of students, or to look at a feature of your teaching - for example how you deal with incidents of misbehavior or how you can encourage your students to speak more in class.
Here are some different ways to use reflective practice:
Invite a colleague to come into your class to collect information about your lesson. This may be with a simple observation task or through note taking. This will relate back to the area you have identified to reflect upon. For example, you might ask your colleague to focus on which students contribute most in the lesson, what different patterns of interaction occur or how you deal with errors.
Video or audio recordings of lessons can provide very useful information for reflection. You may do things in class you are not aware of or there may be things happening in the class that as the teacher you do not normally see.
You can also ask your students what they think about what goes on in the classroom. Their opinions and perceptions can add a different and valuable perspective. This can be done with simple questionnaires or learning diaries for example.
What to do next
Once you have some information recorded about what goes on in your classroom, what do you do?
Reflective teaching is a cyclical process, because once you start to implement changes, then the reflective and evaluative cycle begins again.
As a result of your reflection you may decide to do something in a different way, or you may just decide that what you are doing is the best way. And that is what professional development is all about.
Feel free to comment and share feedback as it is intended to support all teachers in their gains for growth and knowledge. Click on the actual blog title to leave comments and feedback.