Using a reflective framework to reflect on and improve my practice – Richard
Throughout my teaching experience I have found that reflecting on and discussing the lessons I have taught is vital to my learning. Recently, I have been using Kolb’s Learning Cycle (1984) framework. This follows 4 steps and encourages me to draw conclusions and ideas from an experience, then assess and build on those to come up with new ideas which inform and improve my future practice.
Stage One. ‘Concrete Experience’. I recently taught a Y1 maths lesson focussing on comparing number bonds to 10 and building on the pupils’ knowledge of addition, greater than and less than symbols. I utilised the concepts and resources set out in the medium-term plans. We started with counting to 100 and worked through some examples as a group on the whiteboard. Pupils then split into ability groups and were provided with differentiated worksheets to complete. It was apparent that although some of the children had understood the concept when modelled on the whiteboard, most were unable to understand the worksheet independently. The lesson ended with very little achieved.
Stage Two. ‘Reflective Observation’. After the lesson I apologised to the class teacher as I felt the lesson had been unsuccessful, and I was very disappointed with my performance and the lack of learning by the pupils. Reflecting later, my initial thoughts were; the structure of the lesson had been unclear; I had rushed sections trying to cover too much and there was a lack of understanding of what the children should do on receiving the worksheets. However, I felt that I had modelled clearly at the start with the pupils working out examples together on the interactive whiteboard.
Stage Three, ‘Abstract Conceptualization’. As part of this step I reviewed my lesson materials and spoke with the Year 1 team who had taught the same lesson. I realised I had not been clear enough of the learning objective and success criteria for the lesson or the means by which I could achieve them. I had not taken into proper consideration the specific needs of the pupils, primarily a high level of EAL preventing many from being able to read and understand written questions without assistance. The worksheets, while created for this objective, were too complicated and at a level above the children’s ability. In discussion all the teachers agreed that the pupils’ needs meant a simplified worksheet was required.
Stage Four. ‘Active Experimentation’. I taught the same concept again the following day focussing just on number bonds, asking the children to use numicon outside to answer questions. In addition, the children could choose the level of worksheet to start on and progress as they wanted, thus building confidence through successful completion of tasks. (TS2)
The practical nature of this lesson engaged the children, and a distinct LO and success criteria provided the lesson with a better structure (TS4, Department for Education, 2011). Following this process, I have gained a better understanding of how children learn and factors that influence the effectiveness of my teaching. It helps identify barriers to learning, encouraging me to adapt and experiment with new ideas and provides me with skills to handle similar situations in the future.
Kolb, D. (1984). Experiential learning: experience as the source of learning and development.. [ebook] New Jersey: Prentice-Hall. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/235701029_Experiential_Learning_Experience_As_The_Source_Of_Learning_And_Development [Accessed 6 Oct. 2019].
Department for Education (2011). Teachers’ Standards: Guidance for school leaders, school staff and governing bodies. Crown Copyright.