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Later, they can be more motivated to engage in a more elaborate brainstorming session. These brainstorming sessions can be helpful for exchange of strategies and techniques to overcome possible challenges.

Reflections on Teaching: From Surviving to Thriving

These pairs or groups then make larger groups sharing and discussing experiences in a more comprehensive way. Teachers can then contribute to their reflective abilities and sense of efficacy by cooperation, question-answer, feedback, and reinforcement. In this way, possible confusions, moments of hesitation in the classroom, engagement of students with learning to achieve the objectives, and management of the teaching and learning process, applying practical techniques to real-life environments, and meeting specific needs of both students and teachers can lead to development and improvement of reflective abilities.

Observation sessions and immediate feedback exchange are used for reflection-on-action to reflect on the experience by discussion on classroom practice and challenges in the classroom environment. Reflective observations can also be employed for assessing and mirroring the development of the professional. Teachers, in this way, will be able to see their progress of the reflective practitioner.

The findings of these reflective observations can also be used as motivational tools for reflective feedback and idea exchange in reflective sessions of practitioner development held immediately after the observation session. These reflective feedback and idea exchange sessions provide opportunity for critical reflection and discussion on the observed sessions. The outcomes of these sessions can be marked as part of the path for the reflective development process. Reflective observations are a good way of seeing challenges and gaps which give opportunities for teachers to fulfill their role effectively.

Follow-up observations should also be scheduled until the teachers see they are on the right track.

The observation tool should cover all the criteria needed to see the real performance of the teachers depending on the performance expected from the teachers considering the expected outcomes of the curriculum. Relatively, the mean score increased sharply from Teachers can also include a few lines on their lesson plans, attendance sheets or in a separate notebook or binder for recording their insights and comments about the lesson plan, its flow, and the way students were engaged and responded.


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Continuous reflection would serve teachers as a great benefit. These reflections could then be archived to build on previous observation sessions and gain a sense of development of a reflective practitioner. These sessions could be scheduled on week days and can be held in office hours. They can also be gauged implicitly or explicitly through formal observations. Reflections could then be discussed during the post-observation feedback sessions or focus group sessions or before each formal observation and factored into the assessment.

Focus group discussions comprise interaction within a group based on prespecified topics [ 32 ], and they can contribute to reflection and sense of efficacy by its nature and features like organized discussion [ 33 ], collective activity [ 34 ], and interaction [ 35 ]. Organized discussion, collectivity, and interaction enable participants to ask questions, to get feedback, to re-evaluate and reconsider their own understandings and experience.

In the RPD cycle, the academic coordinator to discuss and comment on, from personal experience, the topic that is the reflection of classroom practice, assembles the teachers. Information on experiences is elicited in a way which allows the academic coordinator and the teachers to find out why an issue looks prominent.

Many participants can find opportunities on reflection, working on confusions, and finding solutions in a collaborative way empowering. This can lead to a sense of efficacy and autonomy by using reflective insights on teacher and student behavior within a structured group work process and collecting information for precise issues which are complicated, unknown, or disturbing. While co-planning has been noted in some fashion at all institutions, its potential has yet to be fully realized.

The core benefit of co-planning is reflection-for-action [ 13 ]. Reflection-for-action is also called flash-forward of the classroom practice. They have a discussion on these lesson plans and give feedback to each other until they have consensus that the particular lesson plan reflects the objectives and the outcomes of the particular class. Then the final draft is presented to others teaching the same course in order to be used by everybody. Using this way, teachers can plan for the entire week or a two-week period depending on the number of teachers who teach the same course. This helps everybody be on the right track as they make discussions, exchange ideas, share feedback, fill in the gaps, improve themselves, and grab an opportunity of continuous development.

Archiving these lesson plans provides another advantage in daily practice. Archived lesson plans can be used on demand when one of the teachers calls in sick, a new hire should step into the classroom immediately, or the semester begins.

Co-planning can also be measured using formal and peer observations in an implicit way, or it can be measured explicitly via some prespecified criteria, checklist, or rubric of best practice. Teachers with skills, which need to be developed in one area, could be paired with teachers boasting strong skills in that same area. They could either pair themselves up-having reviewed their reflections- or be paired by the leadership team.

Teachers can go over the lesson plan and review each item in it as well as the criteria and objectives of peer who will do the observation.

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Reflections on Teaching: From Surviving to Thriving

These criteria can be determined either previously by the teachers and the leadership team based on the objectives or by the peers who will do the observation and who will be observed based on the objectives. The peers should have the opportunity for a quick reflection session and peer dialog after the observation, and they should share their notes for future reflection.

Following peer observations can be based on these reflective outcomes and the objectives of the session which will be observed. Peer observations can also be measured implicitly or explicitly by formal observations or making use of reflective outcomes of each peer observation and post-observation discussions. Peer observations, besides being a useful form of professional development, are a tool to build a team of trust among colleagues, provide mutual support, and enrich student learning especially when the observee and the observer work together and reflect on the teaching practice held in the observed session.

Based on the components explained so far, the Reflective Practitioner Development Model can be visualized in the way below, and it can give an idea about the reflective model briefly [ 13 ]. The figure below simply gives a cycle of RPDM. These measurements are followed by the first round of necessary workshops of professional development and reflection.

Teachers could come prepared to deliver a short presentation on a problematic aspect of their teaching practices in the teaching and learning environment. Next is the observation and feedback step. The teachers are observed and motivated to reflect on the experience as soon as possible and discuss on immediate feedback on specific successful engagement with the students or confusions and problematic situations in the classroom environment. Next, focus groups session or sessions are arranged to discuss the reflections of classroom practice, and the experiences are elicited in a way which allows the teachers to find out why an issue is worthy of note.

The second round of workshops is then held to fill in the gaps and see the improvements of the teachers. Later, co-planning is held in order to reflect-for-action giving an opportunity to flash-forward the classroom environment. It also improves both the collective sense of efficacy by exchange of continuous feedback and the quality of lesson plans. Then observation and feedback sessions are organized again to give an opportunity for teachers to reflect on their practices in order to receive appropriate feedback on their teaching performance. These observations precede peer observations and feedback sessions which are held by peers who are more experienced or chosen by the observee.

The second round of focus group discussions are held again to create an environment for teachers to share their experiences by reflecting and exploring attitudes and feelings and drawing out precise issues that may be unknown, confusing, or causing pressure in the environment. The RPDM timeline is presented in the following to make this process more apparent to see [ 13 ]:. The cycle gives us the stages of reflective learning.

First a new experience or situation is encountered. For most of them, reflection and self-efficacy are new experiences when they respond to TRS and TSES scales and are given related workshops. While they are experiencing this new encounter or situation, they are motivated to reflect on their practices, and reflective observation starts to see any inconsistencies or irregularities between the experience and the understanding of the teacher. This stage is supported by observations by an outer party who can reflect and guide on the reflections of the teacher.

Reflections on Teaching: From Surviving to Thriving

The stage of abstract conceptualization starts with the focus group discussions, workshops, and co-planning. At this stage of the cycle, the teacher begins to reshape his or her ideas and the existing concepts in his or her mind are welcomed to be modified. Co-planning completes this process by working on amendments and modifications with a peer, usually a more experienced one.

Last, the active experimentation stage takes place for the teacher to see the application all the new concepts, knowledge, ideas, techniques, etc.

How to Use End-of-Year Reflection as a Teacher Evaluation

This stage is also realized with the second round of reflective observations, peer observations, and focus group discussions while the teaching is being continued. This stage fills in the gaps and completes the process of reflective practitioner development. The reflection scores of the teachers in the study gives evidence to this development the TRS mean score is Similarly, the TSES mean score of the teachers show a higher level of self-efficacy in the second round application Moreover, focus group discussion sessions fitted the objectives and the development of the model clearly.

The teachers apparently became aware of the reflective processes and more reflective with a high level of sense of efficacy. Especially the corrective action plans and the workshops which were organized periodically that are tied in with professional development resources and mentoring based on observation data and reflection were highly appreciated. That leads me to my second principle: the importance of encouraging complete student engagement and empowering students to take ownership of the class. At the beginning of the semester I lay out the purpose of the class, what the expected outcomes are, and how grades will be calculated.

As the semester goes along, I ask for feedback every month via anonymous questionnaires and adjust the class according to the needs of the students. I have learned that even when students are doing fine with the material, they appreciate the opportunity to weigh in and have their opinion heard on how the class is going. I have found that some seemingly pedantic aspects of teaching make a significant difference in the quality of student involvement.

However, we have to remember that students have many valid obligations fighting for their time. If attendance is not mandatory, sometimes students will make the choice to skip. If reading is never referred to, sometimes students will not get around to opening the book. If I want my class to be truly rewarding, I need to set high standards for attendance and study habits. My third principle is the importance of encouraging students to work together and learn from each other. I met so many of my lifelong friends and developed numerous relationships important to my career in school that I wanted to give my students every opportunity to do the same.

They learn the essential skills of networking and collaboration while also engaging with the material of the class.


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  • Of course, even with these three principles, challenges always remain. But keeping these in mind helps me strive toward the goal in my personal mission statement. I am now much more comfortable running a class and encouraging student involvement. It is a pleasure to teach when the students are engaged and interested and when they speak up, ask questions, and even make arguments. Here are my favorite specific tips from peers, students, and pedagogical experts for creating a positive learning experience for your students:.

    If you would like to receive a more detailed list of ideas for inspiring students to be enthusiastic and motivated in the classroom, please e-mail me at palmer american. This article originally appeared on Faculty Focus in All rights reserved. Here are my favorite specific tips from peers, students, and pedagogical experts for creating a positive learning experience for your students: Syllabus. Make the learning outcomes as specific and clear as possible, and relate these to the assignment and to your grading metrics.

    Spell out expected student behavior, including professionalism meet deadlines, show up on time, participate in class, etc.