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5.7 Reflective Sessions

durenmgmail-com November 9, 2021

Teachers must continually examine and evaluate their attitudes, practices, effectiveness, and accomplishments. Critical reflection enhances the teacher’s knowledge and skills, finding that it can help them deeply understand how their teaching styles improve their ability to challenge the traditional model of practice and define how they will grow as teachers.

Without reflection, a teacher could run the continual risk of making poor teaching decisions and using bad judgment or unquestioningly believing that students can always accurately interpret their actions as intended.

Without the tendency to assess their abilities, teachers may continue to plan and teach based on unexamined assumptions — and remain unaware of their biggest strengths and weaknesses. Let us have a look at how to practice reflective sessions.

Use a daily reflection tool, such as a journal. The goal of journal writing is to provide teachers with a record of the significant learning experiences that have taken place during the school day. The reflection journal also helps teachers identify which strengths and weaknesses consistently come up — enabling them to pause, review, and gain some perspective on the day’s lesson(s) and, by extension, their skills as a teacher. Moreover, using a journal to record classroom anecdotes will help when it comes time for writing report cards or assessments. No matter how involved teachers are in the students’ progress, it can still be challenging to produce specific examples related to student performance if they have not recorded them along the way.

An example of a daily reflection journal.

Peer observation. Peer observation provides a chance for instructors to view, assess, and learn from one another’s teaching, which helps expose teachers to different instructional styles and strategies, stimulating critical reflection on their classroom habits and methodologies. Teachers might be surprised at how enjoyable the process is — and how willing their colleagues are to collaborate!

Record lessons. While there are many potential insights a teacher can gain from diaries and written self-assessments, they cannot always capture the dynamic, day-to-day processes and events of classroom teaching. The teacher may not have observed many notable classroom events — or even remembered — thus exemplifying the value of diaries or self-reports with audio recordings of actual lessons.

Practice self-inquiry. Posing “what and why” questions give teachers an essential sense of perspective and power over their teaching. Here is an example of a set of questions for reflective teachers to ask, developed by Researchers Ryan & Cooper:

  • What am I doing, and why?
  • How can I better meet my students’ needs?
  • What options are available?
  • How can I encourage more involvement or learning on the part of the students?
  • Have I considered my values as a professional and my comfort level acting on those values?
  • What conscious choice can I make to make a difference?