Best Teaching Practices

5 Easy Steps to More Reflective Teaching

Reflective teaching is the way to grow and develop as a teacher. Teachers should continually challenge themselves so that they become better. Teaching is one job where this is especially important. Why?

Because teaching is about the students and helping them become life-long learners. However, unless you practice this yourself, it is hard to maintain that expectation for your own students. Teaching challenges you in new ways every day and it is critical to keep raising the bar even higher. Learn and grow from your practice and your mistakes.

Here are 5 easy steps to becoming a more reflective teacher:

1. Student Feedback

Photo by Santi Vedrí on Unsplash

I think feedback is always one of the hardest things to not only ask for but accept graciously. If your class is for the students, why not ask them directly what they think is going well? It might seem scary at first to inquire in your own classroom. Don’t worry it is not bad at all.

When I was struggling to connect with my students in a private school I taught at, this was a method I used. (I knew nothing about private school and frankly, I felt like these students were too out of reach for me.) But, once I asked (and they were nice in their responses) it really turned the classroom around.

There are a few ways to get feedback from students but two that I think are easy to use are Socrative and Google Forms. Socrative is a great resource for many things and this is just one additional way to use the website. Check out my article here to learn more about Socrative in the classroom.

Google Forms are easy to set up and send out, especially if you are already using google classroom. You can also use the google form to send to parents for more feedback. I have more examples on how to use Google Forms here.

2. Blogging/Journaling

Write it down! That’s the mantra for reflective teaching. Write what went well, write what can be fixed, and write your ideas for the next attempt.

Blogging is a great way to record your thoughts. You can easily create a wordpress blog just for yourself. Think of it as an online journal. This is not the type of blog for page views and selling things. Another way to write it down is to use old fashion journaling. I’m a big fan of this for personal writing and reflecting.

Also, you can write directly on your lesson plans. Using sticky notes to put down before and after thoughts is an easy way to reflect quickly on a lesson you have taught. Try one or try them all! It can only help you become more aware of your teaching practice.

3. Record Yourself

I just tried this myself the other day. I’m not going to lie it made me cringe a little to watch myself teach. Mostly because I find it really weird to see myself on camera.

However, it was very beneficial to see how I started and introduced this lesson. I was able to gain some great insight into what I was doing well and what I needed to adjust.

Teaching is all about flexibility and adjustments. Recording yourself can go a long way into helping you become a better teacher.

4. Colleague Feedback

It is always difficult to receive critiques especially when you think you are doing everything right. Asking a fellow teacher can not only be reflective for yourself but also for them.

Recently, I watched a fifth grade ELA teacher in one of her classes. I found this illuminating in many ways. I gained some valuable strategies that I have since tried to implement into my own classroom. Moreover, I saw a few things I knew wouldn’t really work for me just because of the grade difference. 7th graders are completely different than 5th graders.

Don’t be afraid to take the plunge and ask for feedback from a colleague.

5. Reflect on Your Purpose for Teaching

As the years add on and you become a more experienced [jaded] teacher, more and more you get away from why you became a teacher in the first place. It is easy to forget that at one time you were and hopefully still are passionate about teaching.

Taking some time to write down why you wanted to teach and how you have met those goals since then can be really beneficial and restorative. Sometimes you get so caught up in meeting benchmarks, passing standardized tests, and just the general politics of teaching, it is hard to even remember why you do it in the first place.

Breathe, write, and recall. You will be amazed at the results.

Conclusion

Reflective teaching can drive your instruction to great heights. Taking time to learn and understand your weaknesses and then grow from these reflections can have a positive outcome on your effectiveness as a teacher.

Remember, you are part of this great profession that is constantly changing. Be flexible, adjust, and allow yourself room for error and growth.

Comment below and let me know your favorite ways to reflect on your teaching practices! And as always, subscribe for more tips and tricks!

This post was proofread by Grammarly

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