Professional Teaching Practice: Reflective Practice

Element 6: Teachers continually improve their professional knowledge and practice.

Standard: 6.1.1 Demonstrate a capacity to reflect critically on and improve teaching practice.

“Powerful education requires that teachers and principals be able to analyze and reflect on their practice. Individually and with others, they need to assess the effects of their work and to refine and improve their practice” (Vanides, 2002).

This evidence was selected to demonstrate my sound ability to self-reflect and to think critically about my teaching practices in order to elevate them to greater heights.  This is shown through my reflective journal entry and colleague teacher feedback reports. It is believed through Snowman (2009) that, “Reflective practice for self-improvement enables pre-service teachers to examine the present moment, to step back and consider the complementary and competing forces in a past situation, and to forge a path forward” (p. 588).

In my starting year of Practicum placement I delivered my first full length handwriting lesson and although my detailed explanations were clear and concise, I unfortunately had lost the students attention. I let unacceptable behavior slip by me by not enforcing rules and instructions. Once the lesson was finished, I wrote a reflection in my journal describing what had happened in the lesson, how I felt in response to the lesson and what I thought I could do better next time in regards to delivering strategies to prevent problem behaviours occurring again. I also received a constructive feedback report by my colleague teacher suggesting areas of improvement. I considered the comments relayed extensively and reexamined the teaching strategies I was to employ.

The next lesson, I ensured I stopped and waited for silence, gained the students attention before beginning, reminded students of desired behavior and used positive reinforcement. Bartlett (1990) believes that, “Teachers who explore their own teaching through critical reflection develop changes in attitudes and awareness which they believe can benefit their professional growth as teachers, as well as improve the kind of support they provide their students” (p. 209). By means of self-reflecting and implementing the advice received led to the smooth running of the lesson with no students calling out. I had gained the students attention by utilizing the learned teaching strategies, which was a positive step forward in my professional growth in classroom management.

Evidence

Journal Reflection This evidence shows my reflective practice processes through my journal reflection on delivering my first lesson. Not only do I critically evaluate myself in terms of how I felt I performed overall by describing my feelings and thoughts about the lesson management, this reflection clearly stipulates self-constructive advice on areas of improvement, which is outlined in the dot points presented.  A key emphasis here is on acknowledging that I gain the students attention before beginning the lesson, as this was an area of weakness prior.

Colleague T Report 1 This evidence was selected as it shows my colleague teacher reporting on areas of teaching skills development in which I lacked in my first lesson. In this report, my colleague teacher provides valuable criticism and opinions on class management techniques for me to absorb and certify I employ such in future lessons to improve on my lesson flow and my teaching practice.

Colleague T Report 2 This report written by my colleague teacher evidently demonstrates my high levels of teaching practice improvement by the statements made. It represents my ability to self reflect on my teaching skills and take on board constructive feedback relayed and transform the learned teaching strategies into positive areas of improvement to further progress in becoming a good teacher.

Importance of Keeping A Reflective Journal

In Day by Day, Stacey Shubitz and Ruth Ayres, creators of the popular blog Two Writing Teachers, explain the importance of keeping a reflective journal throughout professional experience and practice and discuss the value it has to help teachers assess their teaching processes to see what went right, what went wrong and most importantly, why.


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