Thursday, April 16, 2015

Reflecting on What Works

In Revolutions and Encouragement, Can they Co-Exist? From  Ideas and Thoughts, Dean Shareski shares,

“have teachers reflect on what they do that works. I also suggest this needs to be shared in open, public spaces…I couple this message with the belief that the biggest change comes in the role of the teacher.”

I don’t think we spend enough time looking at what works in our classrooms. We tend to focus on what is wrong or what isn’t working. We tend to look at the negatives and not the positives. This helps teachers feel depressed and wonder if it is all worth it. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t try to correct things that we could do better or change things that may not be working but I think we should look at what is working first. Since looking at the negatives is a habit that we are trained to do at an early age, we think it is wrong or prideful or boastful to look at the positives.

I think I should look more at the positive things that are going on in my life and in the classroom. If something is working well, then I should continue to do it but I can’t do this if I’m not aware of what is going well. The only way I can do this is to reflect on what I’m doing. I have to make sure I’m aware of my actions and why I’m doing things.

If students are succeeding, I need to notice what activities are enabling this success. I need to see what teaching style I’m using and how it affects different learning styles.

I need to look at how different students work together and which ones do well together. How are their personalities? How do their learning styles mesh together?

I need to look at the specific lesson and how I introduce it. What activities do I use to reinforce the lesson?

What assessments do I use to see if the students master the skill? What kind of tests do students pass successfully?

At first, teachers may find this reflection difficult but with practice, it gets easier. But this is necessary in order to teach more effectively. If we look at teachers who are successful, I bet that we will find that they make reflecting on their teaching a regular practice.

Do you reflect on your actions? How often? Please share.


Павел Сенин said...

Hello, completely agree about reflection. How are you practically doing it? Writing in special journal about lesson plan and then about results? Recording lesson on video and then watching it? Maybe you are logging journal about each student features or what?:)

Pat Hensley said...

I like reflecting in a blog post. This can be written or embedding an audio or video clip in the post. I have my students create their own blogs and write reflections in it. Then I have everyone comment on at least 3 blog posts from their classmates. I think the conversation is as important as the reflection.