Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Reflection Can Improve Your Teaching

Joel of So You Can Teach? talks about how blogging helps him become a better teacher and his number one reason is for self reflection. I feel that self reflection should be a major tool in our teaching toolbox. When I was working towards my National Board Certification, this played a big part of the process and I realized this helped me become a much better teacher. Reflection made me thing about what I was doing and why was I doing it. By linking it to a standard or having a concrete reason for asking students to do something made me be more accountable. It made me really focus on having a strong reason for my actions and my students’ actions. If I couldn’t come up with a valid reason (backed up by research or data), then I shouldn’t be wasting anyone’s time doing whatever I was doing. I needed to make sure my instruction was valid and relevant. I liked to think that I was a good teacher and didn’t just do things that were considered busy work but this made me more aware of my actions. Once I got into the habit of this reflection, I noticed that it became more natural when planning my lessons. My reflection also helped me catch glitches or problems before I actually taught the lesson which again helped me become a better teacher. By being a better teacher, my students were more successful.


American Palla said...

I'm a technology instructor in an urban elementary school, and what I'm trying to "sell" or convince classroom teachers is to learn about blogs and start one of their own blogs as a way to reflect upon their teaching. What advice can you give to the baby-boomer or older teacher who is hesitant to start a blog. And how do you carve out time to keep up a blog with all the other demands of teaching and classroom management? Thanks!

loonyhiker said...

For older teachers who are hesitant, I would help them set up their blogs while I sat with them. Have them write their post in a word document so it can be cut and pasted in their blog. This is something they can do on their own. When they are ready, help them post the first couple of times. (This worked with my husband and now he blogs on his own.)

I try to make sure that I carve out 15 minutes each day to write a blog post. I actually write up my posts for my blogs on a word document and save them so I can actually have more than one post saved. Then I set a specific time to post on my blog each day and copy and paste it on the blog at that time. Most of my posts are not time sensitive so it doesn't have to be done immediately. This leaves me time in case I do have to post something quickly.