May 31, 2015 by gemmalunn
This is the summary for the 6th May #ELTchat where we discussed the how, why, when and where’s of reflective practice.
We started the chat by defining: What is a reflective practitioner?
– Someone who takes time to think about how their lessons went, what went well, what could be improved etc (@juliacphang)
– Reflective teachers are seldom satisfied with what they do (@GlenysHanson)
– Someone who enjoys reaching out in order to improve (@rmoyano5) as in inviting collaboration and reflection (@Marissa_C)
– Awareness is a big part of being a reflective practitioner, working out why things happened / are happening in the classroom (@GemL1) and not just blaming the students (@KateLloyd05)
– Reflection involves the metacognitive aspects as if you stand out of yourself to comment on your practice (@Nafooh1988)
– Being able to ask the right questions after the lesson? When something goes wrong, we usually sulk about it but the question is what do we learn from the failure (@HanaTicha) but also during the lesson too as reflection also takes place while teaching (@rmoyano5) and possibly before (@harrisonmike)
We then moved on to discuss: Can we train teachers to be reflective?
– I think reflection can be encouraged but it’s hard to teach as such. Providing tools and space to reflect helps a lot (@juliacphang) and stalling giving them feedback – let them evaluate self first (Marisa_C)
– Sometimes I think that being reflective is part of human nature but I believe it can be trained (@HanaTicha)
– By providing debates for example. Discussions in which issues are talked about and even analyzed (@rmoyano5)
– It can definitely be built into training. An opportunity to reflect after every lesson (@theteacherjames)
– Tools such as the ELC (Experiential Learning Cycle) can help (@GemL1)
We then discussed: How can teachers become better reflective practitioners?
Observe and be observed
– Go and see other people’s lessons; this helps me enormously. I relate every aspect of the observed lesson to my own teaching (@HanaTicha)
– I learned loads about teaching well from observing others, not things I wasn’t doing, but watching s/o else makes u think why? @KateLloyd05
– @Joannacre asked – How do we decide on what to look at when we observe others? Is it based on what we are not good at?
– If they have not asked u to look at specific aspects then look for things u are good at or not good at – it varies. Or use a reduced checklist of criteria – may be following what you were given or checklists u were given on the delta (@Marisa_C)
– I’ve found it useful to have observers who see what I don’t in my class (@GlenysHanson)
Either videoing a class or even just audio if you don’t have opportunity to set up a camera. Smartphone in pocket will do @harrisonmike just make sure you have consent from your school and students before doing this!
– One area that works really well for reflection is analysing your own talk: what categories of talk do you use? Mainly Management? Instructional or Eliciting talk? % important (@Marisa_C)
– @Marisa_C Watching the learners a great idea @HanaTicha wrote this great blog post about videotaping her Ss [see below for link]
– Reflection should be focused – Ts don’t have enough time to watch themselves all the time so we need Qs for reflection- a goal (@Marisa_C) therefore it’s as good idea to focus on specific areas where you want to improve (@theteacherjames)
– I found videoing classes v.useful 4 more accurate RP things r not always as they seem/u remember, or just record snippets of class and focus on different aspects – CCQs, starting a class etc (@GemL1)
What kind of feedback do we need, in order to know if we are getting better?
– Sandwich feedback works fine (positive-negative-positive) (@HanaTicha)
– We definitely need support to deal with criticism in all its forms and use it constructively (@ITLegge)
– Feedback from students, other teachers and when possible watching ourselves (recordings) (@joannacre)
– Self feedback – notes in reflective journal – feedback from others – informal observations are great. Also, getting a record down is essential then, even if only the high/lowlights – 5 bullet pts per lesson at least (@harrisonmike)
– Getting students to write in journals is a way to get feedback as well (@joannacre)
How and where can we reflect?
Social media and blogging
– Social media like twitter and facebook groups are a great way for teachers to connect and reflect (@Marisa_C)
– Twitter has made huge impact on my work and prof choices: learn something new every day (@ITLegge)
– So encouraging blogging is a good way of soliciting reflection? (@Marisa_C)
I definitely think so! You sit down and write – CPD/reflection with yourself (@joannacre)
– Blogging, writing things down, asking a colleague for opinion seeing things through a different perspective; that all helps (@HanaTicha)
– I think so-my blog is v.new but hope to use to reflect, esp as self-employed so Twitter=virtual staffroom! (@juliacphang)
– RP groups are a great way to encourage / learn about RP and help people explore their teaching more (@GemL1). These could be face-to-face or also online (@Marisa_C), also beneficial to have Teachers from different schools to offer different perspectives (the RP groups in Korea are a great example) (@GemL1).
We then touched on the importance of distance and being objective whilst reflecting
– I’ve found it useful to name my emotions to get distance from them so I can concentrate on the pedagogical reflection. Also not to think about my actions in class as “good” and “bad” – because they block me – but in more neutral terms (@GlenysHanson). Helpful to reflect in 3rd person for distance from problems and be more objective (@MarjorieRosenbe; @GemL1) – @JFanselow does a lot of good work on this aspect (@GemL1)
– Time heals all wounds. It’s good to wait a few days after a disastrous lesson and things become clear, even without reflection @HanaTicha
– Sometimes distancing yourself from the battlefield and bringing in another discipline helps a LOT (@Marisa_C)
Finally….do we always need to reflect?
– Do we need to reflect all the time? I’m not so sure. Constant analysis can possibly give feelings of burnout (@harrisonmike) but I guess we always reflect in some way after a class
(@Shaunwilden) but this doesn’t always have to be in an organised way at all (@SueAnnan)
– That’s why the 3-5 bullet point list as you go is probably best review at the end of the day (@harrisonmike)
– You have to get the balance between self-examination and resting on your laurels (@theteacherjames)
– It doesn’t need 2 always b in depth reflection could just b a few moments in class to be aware (@GemL1)
Finally I’ll finish with this apt tweet from @Marisa_C:
We learn better together and reflect better as well
Useful links / Further reading
– @HanaTicha: Observing class in retrospect
– @ZhenyaDnipro has a great blog with tips on reflection
– @JosetteLB also has a great RP blog
– @MarjorieRosenbe: On trying something new
– John Faneslow: Breaking rules book.
– My posts about transcribing and analysing your own talk