Using a reflective framework to reflect on and improve my practice – Jade
“Reflective practice is the ability to reflect on one's actions so as to engage in a process of continuous learning” (Schon, 1983). Schon’s (1983) reflective model framework distinguishes between “reflection in action” and “reflection on action”.
Reflection in action refers to practising critically, so in essence, reflection during lessons. For me, this involves considering a host of different aspects during a lesson;
- How are students reacting to tasks/ activities?
- Are timings appropriate and do I need to shorten or lengthen an exercise in line with student engagement?
- Do I need to support any individual students or clarify anything to the class as a whole, as they progress?
- How do I know all students are engaged?
- Do students need a break from listening to me / others talk (e.g. an energiser activity)?
- How can I ensure that all students are progressing in their learning?
- What I am going to do next and is it appropriate, given the students’ engagement so far?
- What is the key take-away that I need to emphasise – have these changed from the lesson plan given any misconceptions in class?
Reflection on action is the reflection that occurs after lessons. Again, for me, this includes reflection against a variety of aspects and compares the actual lesson against the initial lesson plan; including:
- What went well?
- How did particular students handle the lesson?
- Could I have done anything differently and what?
- How do I feel after the lesson?
- Do I need to find additional resources or research a particular example to follow up on any questions raised in class?
- How will this lesson impact the next lesson with this class; is it too soon to move onto the next topic?
- How does this feed into modifying this lesson plan for next time I teach this topic or a similar lesson?
I have been fortunate, in that my mentor is required, for safeguarding purposes, to be present in all my lessons. The 2- 3 minute informal debrief with my Mentor at the end of each lesson has been an invaluable part of my reflective process. Generally, this helps me assess if I have judged the success of the overall lesson correctly, as well as briefly discuss students to help us both continually assess their progress. Specifically, it also helps to assess my reflection in action, as I can get reassurance or advice with regards to how I could have done things differently. In our weekly mentor meetings, we also have more time to discuss and reflect on past lessons as well as plan for future lessons. This dialogue feeds into my reflection on action as in situations where something didn’t go as planned, I can put forward solutions for how to address this in the next lesson, ask questions and build in advice and suggestions from my mentor’s experience.
“If teachers don’t engage in these types of conversations, they stagnate. They need to be able to be open and honest with someone and for this to, ultimately, lead to a kind of change.” (Harris, 2019)
Schon, D. (1983) The Reflective Practitioner: How professionals think in action. London: Temple Smith
Harris, C. (2019) Every teacher needs a reflection buddy to keep them sane [online] Available from: https://www.tes.com/news/every-teacher-needs-reflection-buddy-keep-them-sane (Accessed 11 October 2019)