Good teachers are always learning…learning from students, learning from their own trial and error, learning from peers and colleagues, learning from mentors and supervisors, and learning from academic information in their field. Good teachers continue to learn throughout their careers. This is called “life-long learning” or “ongoing professional development.”
One tool that can help teachers develop professionally is known as “reflective teaching practice.” Reflective teaching is the focus of this final module.
Module Focus: Introduction
Reflective teaching means thinking about what happens in the classroom, both in terms of the teaching itself, and in terms of the learner response. And then, trying to improve it. We can ask ourselves…
- Were the goals of the session met? Why or why not?
- What worked well? What didn’t?
- Did learners act as expected? Why or why not?
- How can class sessions be improved to provide opportunities for better learning?
#1 Viewing Points: Listen and Reflect
Video segment #1. Look in the manual for the Reflective Teaching Practice Observation Guide. Think of a class you have recently taught. Use Part A of the guide to document your personal reflection. Then, listen to what the following teachers have to say as they reflect on their current teaching practices. Look for answers to the questions…
- What beliefs and practices do they seem to have in common?
- What differences?
Use Part B of the guide to document and analyze the other teachers’ reflections.
SO I GOT MANY, MANY IDEAS, AND I TRY TO IMPROVE MY…TEACHING BY ADDING JUST A LITTLE BIT MORE BECAUSE THEY CANNOT — THEY CANNOT — HOW CAN I SAY? THEY CANNOT BE FAMILIAR WITH THE NEW STYLE.
THEY HAVE — THEY JUST WANT TO SIT STILL AND DO NOTHING, JUST LISTEN AND WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN ON THE NOTEBOOK.
SO, I SAID, “CLOSE YOUR NOTEBOOK. CLOSE YOUR NOTEBOOK. LISTEN. REPEAT.”
IT’S VERY HARD BECAUSE BEFORE THAT, I — I USED TO TEACH… AND TRANSLATE IT INTO THAI, AND THEN LET THEM DO THE EXERCISE.
EVEN — EVEN FOR THE REPETITION, I USED NEW TECHNIQUES.
SO, I CREATE A MAGNET BOARD. SO, I GOT THE IDEA. SO, I DO IT BY MY OWN — MY OWN METHOD.
BECAUSE I WANT THEM TO –TO RELAX AND ENJOY THE LESSON INSTEAD OF FOCUSING ON THE CONTENT THAT I’M GOING TO TEACH THEM. SO, WHEN THEY FEEL RELAXED AND THEY HAVE MOVEMENT, THEY HAVE LESS SERIOUS.
BECAUSE TO MAKE THE LESSON EASY, TO MAKE THE LESSON FUN AND MEANINGFUL — WHEN THEY FEEL ENJOYABLE AND WHEN THEY THINK THEY CAN DO IT. SO, THEY LOVE TO LEARN MORE.
AND THEN AFTER THAT…I ADD MORE, SOME CONTENT THAT I NEED THEM TO LEARN.
THIS IS THE WAY — SO UNEXPECTEDLY. SO THEY CANNOT EXPECT ALL. THEY CANNOT GUESS WHAT I — WHAT I’M GOING TO DO WITH THEM.
WELL, I’M REALLY TRYING TO INCORPORATE A LOT OF THE “GLAD” (Guided Language Acquisition Design ) STRATEGIES.
AND THIS FIRST YEAR I’VE BEEN ABLE TO DO THAT, WHICH IS WHERE THIS — THE SENTENCE-PATTERNING CHART — HAS COME FROM.
A LOT OF THE GLAD STRATEGIES ARE VERY INTERACTIVE FOR THE KIDS, AND IT’S THE ONLY WAY I CAN GET MY LOWER-ENGLISH — MY LOWER-ORAL-ENGLISH STUDENTS — TO SPEAK BECAUSE THEY HAVE LANGUAGE MODELS, AND THERE’S LOTS OF VISUALS FOR THEM TO REALLY CONNECT WITH. AND, THEY HAVE IT REPETITIVE, OVER AND OVER AGAIN.
AND THE OTHER THING I’M TRYING TO DO IS LOTS OF SONGS BECAUSE FROM EVERYTHING I’VE READ — THAT SONGS AND CHANTS ARE REALLY WHAT ENGAGES STUDENTS, AND THEY REALLY RETAIN IT. AMAZINGLY, SO, THAT IF I ACCIDENTALLY START A SENTENCE WITH THE FIRST THREE WORDS OF A SONG THAT THEY’VE LEARNED — I’M TALKING ABOUT SOMETHING TOTALLY DIFFERENT — THEY WILL BREAK OUT IN (SINGING) THE SONG.
IT’S ABSOLUTELY FASCINATING BECAUSE THEY DO REMEMBER IT, AND THEN THEY CAN ACTUALLY TELL ME THE CONTENT VOCABULARY. IT’S NOT JUST THEY’RE SINGING SOME RANDOM SONG. THEY’RE REALLY GETTING IT. SO, I’M TRYING TO DO THAT.
MY STRESS, OBVIOUSLY, WITH THAT IS I’M NOT A SINGER, AND SO IT’S VERY NERVE-RACKING FOR ME, BUT — BUT THEY’RE VERY ACCEPTING, SO…
I DON’T BELIEVE THAT THE TEACHER IS THE ONLY PERSON THEY CAN LEARN FROM. NO, IF THEY’RE KEPT ACTIVELY INVOLVED, WORKING TOGETHER, THEY CAN LEARN FROM EACH OTHER.
IT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME. SO…I LIKE DOING GROUP WORK. THEY ENJOY DOING GROUP WORK.
SOMETIMES IF I DON’T DO IT IN ONE CLASS, THEY ASK FOR IT. “MISS, LET’S WORK IN GROUPS.”
NOW, IT BECOMES A PROBLEM IF I’M DOING A TEST AND I REALLY WANT TO KIND OF,YOU KNOW, LOOK AT INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE. THEN IT BECOMES A PROBLEM, AND THEY SAY, “WHY DON’T WE DO IT IN GROUPS?”
BELIEVE ME, SOMETIMES, I DECIDE THAT IF THEY ARE GOING TO LEARN FROM EACH OTHER, OKAY, AND I SWITCH, AND I SAY, “FINE, THEN DO IT IN GROUPS.”
SOMETIMES I DO THAT, YOU KNOW, ON THE SPOT. I MAKE THE DECISION,”GO AHEAD AND DO IT IN GROUPS,” BECAUSE I FEEL THEY WILL LEARN FROM EACH OTHER.
Now compare Parts A and B. How do these teachers’ reflections compare to your own?
#2 Viewing Points: Listen and Reflect
Video segment #2. Look in the manual for the Reflective Teaching Practice Observation Guide. Think of a class you have recently taught. It can be the same class or a different class. Use Part C of the guide to document your personal reflection. Then, listen to what the following teachers have to say as they reflect on what they would like to be able to do in the future, and some of their ideas for helping make those ideas a reality. Look for answers to the questions…
- What hopes, dreams, and plans do they seem to have in common?
- What differences?
Use Part D of the guide to document and analyze the other teachers’ reflections.
REFLECTING IS ALWAYS A GOOD THING.
LET’S SEE. I…I’M NOT REALLY SURE. I THINK THAT THE KIDS PRETTY MUCH RESPONDED WELL TO EVERYTHING.
UM…YOU KNOW,THE ONLY THING THAT I CAN SAY THAT WOULD BE BETTER THAN ANYTHING ELSE IS TAKING THEM OUTSIDE OF THE CLASSROOM AND ACTUALLY EXPOSING THEM TO OUR WORLD. LIKE, WE DID THIS A COUPLE OF DAYS AGO WHEN WE WERE LEARNING ABOUT ROOTS. I JUST TOOK THEM OUTSIDE AND HAD THEM FIND SOME ROOTS.
SO, IN LEARNING ABOUT PLANTS TODAY, MAYBE WE COULD HAVE GONE OUT AND FOUND A FLOWER AND TALKED ABOUT ALL THE DIFFERENT PARTS: ROOTS, STEM, LEAF, AND FLOWER.
SO, ALWAYS JUST TAKING THEM OUT AND LEARNING ABOUT IT FIRSTHAND IS PROBABLY THE BEST WAY TO DO IT.
THIS YEAR, I’M GOING TO… I’M GOING TO TRY TO… TO HAVE MORE CONVERSATIONS, TO GIVE THE MORE EMPHASIS IN COMMUNICATIONS BECAUSE IT ‘S VERY DIFFICULT SOMETIMES, AND — BUT THEY — I DON’T KNOW WHY. BECAUSE ARE SOMETIMES — ARE AFRAID OF SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE.
OH, I WOULD LIKE TO HAVE MY OWN CLASSROOM, BUT IT’S VERY DIFFICULT BECAUSE — BECAUSE, SEE, IF I HAD MY CLASSROOM, I CAN HAVE A LOT OF MESSAGES ALL OVER THE — THE PLACE IN ENGLISH TO — IN ORDER THEY HAVE FEEDBACK ALL THE TIME, BUT…
SO, WE HAD TO WITH — WITH — UM… THE MATERIAL WE HAVE, AND I THINK THAT THE MAIN ASPECT IS THAT WE — IN MY CASE — THE KEY POINT IS HOW MUCH I LOVE MY WORK, MY JOB, MY CHILDREN, AND THAT ‘S THE MOST IMPORTANT.
AND THEY ARE VERY CONSCIOUS THAT THEY NEED TO LEARN, ESPECIALLY ENGLISH, BECAUSE ENGLISH IS BECOMING LIKE ESPERANTO OF THE WORLD, AND IN COSTA RICA,THIS IS A COUNTRY THAT WE — AND ALSO THE — THE — THIS IS A COUNTRY THAT’S DEVELOPING, AND IT’S OPEN TO TRADING WITH OTHER COUNTRIES, AND WE ARE IN THIS PROCESS.
AND ALSO HERE, THERE IS A TOURISTIC DESTINATION, AND PEOPLE COME HERE, AND IF THEY WANT TO HAVE A GOOD JOB, THEY ARE VERY CONSCIOUS OF THIS IF THEY WANT TO HAVE A GOOD JOB.
ALSO, WE PREPARE AN ACTIVITY TO MOTIVATE AND TO LEARN.
WE — WE TOOK SOME CUTOUTS FROM THE NEWSPAPER, PEOPLE THAT SPEAK ENGLISH FOR DIFFERENT JOBS. AND WE — WITH OTHER GROUP. NOT WITH THIS GROUP — WE’RE GOING TO WORK WITH THIS NEXT TIME, THIS GROUP NEXT TIME WITH THAT.
WE HEARD — WE WORK –THEY WORK IN GROUPS, AND THEY READ THE NEWSPAPER ADS, AND THEY STARTED GIVING THEIR IDEAS AND THEIR — THEIR OPINIONS ABOUT THIS.
BUT, THEY ARE VERY CONSCIOUS THAT THEY NEED ENGLISH IF THEY WANT TO HAVE A VERY GOOD JOB IN THE FUTURE — JOB OPPORTUNITIES IN THE FUTURE. AND MY FUTURE [ laughs ].
OH, OKAY. I WOULD LIKE TO WORK IN — HE’S GOING TO KILL ME — IN THE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION. I WOULD LIKE TO WORK THERE, BUT I LIKE TO TEACH, TOO.
WHEN I WAS AT UNIVERSITY, I SAID, “I DON’T WANT TO BECOME A TEACHER.” BUT I’M HERE. I’M A TEACHER. AND I LIKE IT…I LIKE IT…
SOME YEARS AGO, WE USED TO TAKE STUDENTS TO EXCHANGES WITH OTHER SCHOOLS, HIGH SCHOOLS IN THE UNITED STATES, MIDDLE SCHOOLS. I WOULD LIKE TO CONTINUE WITH THAT.
THAT’S A PROJECT — WE, AS A DEPARTMENT — WOULD LIKE TO CONTINUE WITH THAT. THE THINGS THAT WE ARE TRYING TO DO — SOME CONTACTS WITH PEOPLE THERE.
I WOULD LIKE TO DO THINGS LIKE THAT. BUT ALSO, I WOULD LIKE TO — TO WORK IN, I THINK, A HIGHER LEVEL, BUT I’M GETTING PREPARED FOR THAT.
I WISH THEY — THEY CAN ASK FOR THE NEW KNOWLEDGE. THEY ARE BRAVE ENOUGH TO LEARN NEW THING(S) AND TO GET MORE KNOWLEDGE. AND THEN WHEN THEY — WHEN THEY HAVE SOME PROBLEM, THEY ARE BRAVE ENOUGH TO ASK FOR HELP.
YES. THAT’S THE METHODOLOGY I TRY TO TEACH THEM. MM-HMM.
Now compare Parts C and D. How do these teachers’ reflections compare to your own?
Module Focus: Summary
The focus in Module 14 has been on reflective teaching. Teachers shared their reflections with us, and they modeled for us many of characteristics of g reflective practices: They showed us that they are…
- Caring. They care about students as individual persons, about their needs, and about their learning. They recognize both the similarities and differences of their students.
- They are enthusiastic about helping students to learn better.
- They are curious and interested in ideas that may improve classroom learning.
- They feel comfortable doing self-analysis, and they are willing to put in the effort to do it well.
- They take responsibility both for solving the problems of their own classrooms, and for their own professional and skills development
- They are open-minded. They are open to and not threatened by ideas that may conflict with personal beliefs about the different aspects of their teaching situation.
- They have the energy to implement changes indicated by the reflection process.
- They enjoy working with colleagues on program development and professional development goals.
When you look in the mirror, how many of these characteristics do you see in yourself? With practice over time, no doubt you will see even more positive changes reflected back at you.
YEAH, THEY ARE REALLY GOOD STUDENTS.
I LIKE THEM, AND I ENJOY TEACHING.
THAT’S WHY I KEEP TEACHING AND — BESIDES SUPERVISING.
See the manual for readings and more information on this and other topics related to reflective teaching.