Why You Should Use Reflective Practice
What Is Reflective Practice?
Do you leave the school building thinking about how the day went? Do you ponder what may have turned a good lesson into a lousy presentation or what may have made a student act out in the way they did? If so, you are using reflexive practice. Although these are informal thoughts, if we were to act on those thoughts, they’d be an excellent starting point to using reflective practice to better our teaching strategies and to better ourselves as well.
We exercise reflective practice when we consider and analyze our students from the perspective of another. We can do this in a few different ways.
One way we can do this is by journaling after each lesson. This will help us to pinpoint the negatives and positives in the lesson. It will also help us find the areas where changes can be made.
Another way is to look at your student’s data. How are they doing in their lessons? What are their grades?
We should use reflective practice throughout our teaching career. This is not something merely to be used when we’re learning to teach or at the beginning of our careers. It should be practiced all the time.
Are There Benefits to Reflective Practice?
Reflective Practice has several benefits. When we regularly reflect on our teaching, we can help improve our professional practices. On top of this, when we participate in reflective practice, we can better adapt to the positive change that is constantly going on around us.
Not only do teaching responsibilities change from day-to-day, but students change from year-to-year. When we use reflective practice, we evaluate them, see that change and that need for a different curriculum, and update our lesson plans to reach the needs of the current students in our classroom. Reflective practice helps us to evaluate our teaching methods, finding what will keep each student engaged.
How Do You Start Using Reflective Practice?
There are several methods to reflective practice. Here are a few you can use to start learning how to use reflective practice.
One way to do reflective practice is to conduct student surveys. Ask the students to honestly report what they liked or disliked about the class and why. You can do this by merely including a few questions at the end of each test, quiz, or project. Allow the students to remain anonymous if they wish.
Understanding your students’ thoughts and feelings on the lessons helps you to better know how to tailor future lessons to your students’ needs. If the majority of your students felt unprepared for a particular quiz or test, then you know you need to dive further into that specific topic. You also know that you need to revisit your teaching techniques because something isn’t working quite right for your group of students.
I’m not only talking about you observing your fellow teachers. I’m suggesting that you ask your fellow teachers to observe you and offer feedback. Not only will you glean some new ideas from watching your peer in her playing field, but she may be able to point out some helpful tips to you while watching you in yours!
The easiest way to use reflective practice is to journal, as mentioned above. Merely write down everything you can remember about the class, the students’ reactions and behavior, and your takeaways. You’ll then be able to determine if any of your lessons need adjusted or if they were successful as is.
Regardless of how you decide to use reflective practice, be mindful of using it. It’s a vital tool to improving yourself and your teaching.