Returning home after a particularly terrible day at school, you complain about how badly the pupils have behaved in class today. Maybe you crib a little more on how they cannot get their lessons right despite you trying so hard to make them understand the core concepts. During these moments of self-doubt, make sure that you do not go spiralling down the chasm of low confidence.
Instead, gear up for what lies ahead. Reflective teaching can be a breath of fresh air if you are struggling to strike the right chord with your students. A useful tool for self-assessment for educators, introspection bears plenty of fruits for those who put their minds to it. Here is a useful how-to guide for teachers who wish to look for areas of improvement in their teaching methods. They can thus make sure the classrooms become safe havens where students would love to stay and learn new things.
The crux of reflective teaching
Reflective teaching revolves around looking inward for answers. You would need to delve deep into your teaching methods and uncover the areas that you could improve. Reflective teaching methods help you in doing just that. This method helps in understanding what you do in the classroom and the ways that you adopt in doing those.
You get to explore your practices and analyse the underlying ideas for each through reflection. This helps you have a better grip on what you do and how you do it. Once you have that clearly chalked out in your mind, you can look for ways to improve your teaching methods by making the necessary changes. Here are some of the tools that you can use for introspecting on your teaching methods.
- Keeping a teacher journal
- Using peer-review methods
- Keeping track of lessons
- Asking for students’ feedback
Putting your pedagogy under careful scrutiny using reflective teaching tools, you will need to understand what your core strength areas are. Reflection helps in identifying the areas that need improvement. It is also necessary to check whether your ideas and beliefs about teaching methods are attuned to the everyday classroom practices. If not, you can always look for ways to bridge that gap.
Ways to become a more thoughtful educator
First of all, you will need to set up a plan for yourself that helps in evaluating your pedagogy. Here are some of the ways that you can go about analysing and evaluating your teaching methods. You can choose the ones that work best for your current scenario as well as the ones that you most comfortable trying out. Putting one’s job under scrutiny can be quite challenging indeed, and here are some ways to make it seem like a walk in the park (or around the school playground, for that matter).
Plan your assessment by type and time
You need to focus on how and when you would like to schedule the evaluation tasks for yourself. Make sure that you know how you wish to stay one step ahead to become a more thoughtful educator. Since bringing in reflecting teaching methods starts with looking inward, you should determine the way that you want to go about this at the very outset.
Take help of your teacher’s journal
Keep a teacher’s journal to pour your thoughts right after each class disperses. Maintaining this habit will help in identifying some of the biggest factors of your teaching methods. Try putting aside five to seven minutes after each class to jot down the crucial pointers about the lesson when it is still fresh in your memory. This way, you can get a term’s worth of teaching pointers to ponder over session break.
Arrange peer review sessions
Stay connected to your colleagues for they can come of immense help if you decide to go the reflective teaching way. Make your colleagues review the lessons that you take and ask for their feedback. While it is best to stick to the teaching practices that you hold dear, you can try combining them with their input for better results.
Track your progress regularly
Set a bi-annual or quarterly schedule when you pause to consider the progress that you have made in that specific term. Try to come up with new teaching techniques and activities that will keep the students engaged and make your lessons enjoyable. Tracking your progress regularly will help you in reaching the goal that reflective teaching strives to achieve.
Use technological resources
Being a teacher requires having a multi-skilled set of tools that you can adapt and use when the time is right. Put them to use by introducing new tools for learning and assessment. For example, try blending a traditional textbook concept with a classroom experiment. You can also assign do-at-home tasks that require your students to record a video on what they learned in class. Alternatively, technology can aid you in reflective teaching by helping you record your lessons for later evaluation and analysis as well.
Ask for regular feedback
Never underestimate the potential of the kids in that class you teach. They can be your biggest inspiration and lesson in life. At the end of each term, have them fill in a feedback form or arrange for an interactive feedback session with them. Ask them about how they liked your lessons and the areas that they feel could be improved. Always keep their feedback in mind when planning your lessons for the session to follow if you wish to become a thoughtful educator.
From mindfulness practices and meditation to a series of evaluative tasks, you can organise reflective teaching in your own way. Additionally, you must be ready to face a lot of constructive criticism from all ends (peers, students, and self) on the path to discovering the best way to improve your teaching methods in order to become a thoughtful educator. However, the beaming faces of your students at the end of the term are going to be totally worth it, and you know it. Good luck!
Keeping pace with the changing times, modern-day educators have turned to practising reflective teaching methods that engage more students in the classroom. From getting regular feedback to planning lessons way more efficiently, reflective teaching methods bring in remarkable changes in the classroom that make lessons more fruitful and enjoyable for the pupils and the educators.
Jennifer Lee is a blogger & academic essay help expert at MyEssayHelp.co.uk. She writes for a wide variety of topics including Digital Marketing, Health, Fitness and Technology. She enjoys helping students overcome their fears and academic weak points by sharing her vast knowledge of custom writing and expertise with them.