I’m currently doing an International House online course in teacher training, however now is not the time to rave about it (or mention how I’m also interested in doing a couple more of their courses when I’ve finished this one).
This post is actually this week’s task, or homework if you prefer. While some of the tasks have definitely been new for me, this one is an early Christmas present – post about reflective practice.
As always I like to combine CPD and some theory with practical, helpful tips ; so here are some ideas that could come in handy at this time of year about how to squeeze reflective practice into a busy schedule.
If like me, you get to the end of the day and have to think twice to remember who and what you actually taught, it can be hard to fit in any reflective practice, although to grow as teachers we obviously need to give some time to actually thinking about what we are doing from time to time. So here are some tips to help.
- A Journal
I know you probably think you don’t have time, but it’s still the best place to keep all your ideas together, and writing is really liberating, ideas seem to flow directly to my pen without having passed through my brain! It can help to see reoccurring lines of thoughts, problems etc. Like Dumbledore’s penseive just jotting a quick note about what went well or not can be really useful when you look back on it.
I try to note something quick each day (each lesson is just too much), try writing about what went well and what you need to think about when you have time. At the end of the week look back to find common themes and go into a bit more detail.
- Mark your lessons
It is quick and useful to just give your lesson a mark at the end of the class, just write it on the plan, with a comment,. This is a quick way of taking stock and comments can include a star and a wish just as you would write on some students’ work.
My students do regular tests and often I add a couple of questions at the end, recently for example “ What was your opinion of Shakespeare’s work and how has it changed during this module?” “If you were teacher, what would you have done differently? It’s interesting to keep in touch wit students’ thoughts on the class.
- Observe/Be observed
OK, I agree this can be time-consuming for busy teachers, but try to fit in some observation, it really does lead to some reflection about where you’re going.
What about YOU? Please comment below on where you get your RP fix.
I love your idea of adding a couple of questions at the end of tests. I don’t give many tests, but I could easily do something similar with random worksheets or whatever.
This might sound odd but my reflection usually takes place during the car ride home. That’s when I sit back and think about my lessons. Sometimes it results in a new blog post or tweet. Other times it just results in making notes for a following lesson.
…and I plan most of mine in the car on the way to work!