Reflecting on your development as a teacher is an essential part of your professional growth Reflective practice involves critically examining your own teaching and evaluating your professional development for the purpose of improving your practice. Reflection is not an easy process, but it provides an opportunity to think deeply and make meaningful changes that can improve your teaching and impact student learning.
What is Reflective Practice?
Reflective practice is a process in which teachers take time to step back and analyze their teaching in order to identify areas for improvement. It is a way of examining their own thoughts and experiences in order to better understand their practice. Reflective practice enables teachers to gain a greater understanding of the teaching process, their own teaching style and strategies, and the environment in which they teach. It also helps them to recognize the impact they have on student learning and to identify areas to develop further.
Five Best Examples of Reflective Practice
1. Keeping a Reflective Journal: Keeping a reflective journal is an effective way to engage in reflective practice. A reflective journal can be used to document experiences in the classroom, as well as thoughts and reflections. Writing down your reflections can help to identify how you are approaching teaching and learning, what works and what doesn’t, and how your teaching can be improved.
2. Having a Mentor: Having a mentor is an invaluable experience for any teacher. A mentor provides an objective and experienced viewpoint on your teaching, provides advice and guidance, and can help to identify areas for improvement.
3. Reflective Conversations: Engaging in reflective conversations with colleagues is a great way to gain a different perspective on your teaching. Colleagues can provide peer support and give feedback on your teaching in a constructive and honest way.
4. Seeking Feedback: Seeking feedback from students and parents can provide an insightful view on how your teaching is being received. This feedback can be used to recognize the positive aspects of your teaching, as well as identify areas of improvement.
5. Reflective Reading: Taking time to read and reflect on research literature and other educational resources can help to broaden your knowledge and understanding of teaching and learning. Doing so will enable you to identify new strategies and ideas to improve your teaching.
Refuting the Examples
1. Keeping a Reflective Journal: While keeping a reflective journal can be an effective way to engage in reflective practice, it does require a lot of time and effort. A reflective journal can also be overwhelming and may not help to gain an objective view of your teaching or address any potential blind spots in your practice.
2. Having a Mentor: While having a mentor is beneficial, it can be difficult to find a mentor and there may not be enough time to devote to the relationship, leading to a lack of impact.
3. Reflective Conversations: Whilst engaging in reflective conversations can be beneficial, sometimes these conversations can be one-sided and provide little constructive feedback. It can also be difficult to initiate these conversations and build a rapport with colleagues.
4. Seeking Feedback: While seeking feedback from students and parents is important, it is necessary to ensure the questions asked are specific, relevant, and meaningful in order to gain useful feedback.
5. Reflective Reading: Taking the time to read and reflect on educational materials is beneficial, however, there is a risk of focusing too much on theory and not enough on practice. It is also important to distinguish between research evidence and opinions.