Reflective teaching is a process of self-evaluation and self-observation. It is all about looking at what you do in the classroom, thinking about why you do it, and thinking about if it works. According to the researches, it is because of the cycle of reflective teaching that the inventive relationship between the teacher and the students is growing more evident day by day. The benefits of self-reflection and an abundance of tools help teachers strengthen their reflective habits. Therefore Reflective Teaching is something one should start as a beginning of Professional Development from our classroom itself.
It is often questioned as to how they are supposed to develop the skill of self-reflection. The answer to this is that hundreds of reflective prompts and dozens of strategies are available in order to build their capacity for success in the classroom. It is often said,” The more reflective you are, the more effective you are.” Here are three steps with which we can all take to build our self-reflective tendencies.
Step 1: Stop
You might have heard someone say, “I never really stopped to think about it.” We find ourselves too deep in our routines to see beyond them. We are likely to get stuck in our daily hustle and bustle that we drown in our to-do lists and do not tend to look at the areas we can improve or work on. Being a teacher you tend to do thousands of things in a day, it’s high time that you actually stopped, take a break and observe the stock in what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and how it’s going on.
This is the doing-thinking gap.
This cycle of reflective teaching can be practiced and refined that is why it goes on. Taking a pause to know yourself and your methods in a better way is no loss. It certainly helps not only the students but it improves your quality of teaching and understanding as well.
Step 2: Practice-Repeat
In order to be a more reflective and effective educator, it is important for you to think about your work and improve yourself by working on yourself consistently. Certainly, it is not a sufficient activity but yes! It is necessary. The way you reflect about yourself or the topic which you are teaching provides a structure to this thinking strategy. Here are four chief steps that can guide you to deeper self-reflection. Practicing how to make you better is all that counts. Because, of course, practice makes a man perfect.
1. Stay Aware
There is awareness amongst the reflective practitioners about their instructional reality. This means that they hold complete knowledge about their students, their content, and the high-leverage teaching techniques that lead to higher levels of learning. Therefore, attention should be paid to everything by picking up the details and looking for opportunities to connect the three collectively.
At the end of the day it is all about the knowledge the teacher holds not only about the student, but about himself as well. The teacher should be completely aware of what he/she is capable of in the long run and how he can influence the students with his knowledge and caliber.
2. Intention Behind
The intention behind anything is the major thing behind every new idea. Under intentionality, it is important to know as to why you are doing things. As a reflective teacher, everything is selected on purpose and is planned before it is executed intentionally. At times, it is not what is done but the intention behind it that makes it a hit for everyone. Therefore, the teacher should have a clear intention of what he/she is actually performing and what will be the probable consequences of the same.
3. Assessment and Analysis
Assessment and analysis is a major tool for reflective practitioners. The results of their work are assessed by them all the time constantly. This determines the effectiveness and shortcomings of their efforts. The analysis leads to a deeper reflection of why some teaching moves and practices worked and others did not. An assessment gives complete information about where you and your methods and techniques lack. It is the complete see through in and out.
Responsiveness is the fourth major step. The responsiveness of a teacher is reflected while modifying lesson designs, providing reviews, delivering in-the-moment clarifications, and constructing intervention plans, etc. These are all instances of how teachers can be responsive to that assessment respectively. After the assessment, responsiveness to the possible changes makes the delivery of the pedagogy more smooth, efficient, and effective. The responsiveness of the teacher says it all about how she can mold things and other stuff if anything goes wrong.
Step 3: Collab and Conspire
Collaboration is a very important aspect but is complex as well. Under this aspect, the teachers the observation and analysis of the professional growth are done in a group. In this, a network of reflective practitioners is created and then the aspect of reflective teaching and its effect on their professional growth is analyzed. This can also be done by inviting a colleague to come into your class and collect information about your lesson. He might take notes with this simple observation task. This will help you to relate back to the area you have identified to reflect upon.
Reflective teaching is a means of professional development which begins in our classroom. The cycle of reflecting teaching helps you to decide to do something in a different way. Rather, it helps you to do something in the best way. However, we may tend to jump to conclusions about why things are happening without spending time focusing on or discussing what has happened. After reflective teaching, reactions of the louder students can be noticed.
Therefore conclusively, Reflective teaching implies a more systematic process of collecting, recording and analyzing our observations and thoughts, and then proceeding to make changes.
We identify and explore our own practices and underlying beliefs collecting information about what goes on in our classroom, and by analyzing and evaluating this information. This may certainly lead to changes and improvements in our teaching.