Teaching through reflection, otherwise known as reflective teaching, is one of the core components of continuing professional development and key to becoming a skilled teacher. Teachers can evaluate what they know, how and why they do things and adapt excellence in teaching.
As one of the key components of teaching, this article will explain all it entails.
What is Reflective Teaching?
Reflective teaching is often described as a personal tool that teachers can use to, evaluate their classroom performance. It can be a private process or involve any significant person like colleagues, students, or school administrators. In other words, reflective teaching is a systematic process of collecting, recording, and analyzing a teacher’s thoughts and observations—as well as those of their students or colleagues—and going on to making changes. It is not a one-time approach to continuous professional development but a cyclical process that needs to occur as often as possible if it must be impactful.
Having discussed continuous professional development here, reflective practice in teaching is one of the most assured ways to improve your teaching career. Effective teachers are first to admit that no matter how good a lesson is, there is always room for improvement. Teaching through reflection allows teachers to be open to corrections and seek improvement. When teachers collect information about classroom activities, they can analyze, identify what worked and what did not, and find solutions.
Benefits Of Reflective Teaching
Reflective teaching practice is beneficial to both teachers and the school as a whole. Some benefits include:
- Reflective teaching facilitates continuous professional development.
- Developing a reflective culture improves schools by creating a strong foundation for continuously improving teaching and learning. It also sends the message that learning is necessary for both students and teachers.
- It creates a conducive environment for collaboration amongst teachers. Teachers can team up and develop good practices for the school.
- Teaching through reflection helps teachers stay up-to-date on new ideas and teaching techniques.
- Reflective teaching helps teachers to understand their students more—since they become learners as well—which is one of the attributes of a skilled teacher.
- Reflective teachers are more likely to develop reflective learners by encouraging them to evaluate, analyze and improve their learning. Reflection is also a part of scaffolding in education, as it helps students analyze and evaluate their journey to becoming independent learners.
- It helps educators to work hard to achieve desirable results.
Getting Started On Reflective Teaching
There are many reasons why a teacher may decide to adopt the process of teaching through reflection. It could be in response to a particular problem or finding a way to become better at their job. But whatever the case may be, it is important to know how to get started on reflective teaching. Here are some different ways to get started:
- Get a diary or journal
As a teacher who wants to adopt reflective teaching, you can get a diary or journal for documenting your experiences in school, daily or weekly. This will provide you with enough information when you want to retrospect.
- Peer Observation
You can invite your colleague(s) to come into your class, observe, collect information about each session and offer feedback. But make sure you invite someone unbiased and unsentimental if you want to get an honest review.
- Use a Video Recorder
You can also utilize a camera to record your lessons, as it will give you an unbiased vantage point of how your lesson was. However, it is best to do this without the knowledge of your students. This is to ensure that you get an honest response while teaching, not one aimed at pleasing the teacher alone.
- Ask for Feedback from Students
At the end of each class, term, or session, you can ask your students for reviews or anonymously ask for their remarks in cases where some students might be shy to voice their opinion.
Times are changing, so is the need to improve in your teaching approach. Teaching through reflection helps you get real-time feedback on your performance as a teacher—and develop excellence in teaching—which has a powerful influence on students’ achievement.