Teaching is not just about imparting learning and knowledge to the students. The teachers should ensure that their students are on the same page as they are, i.e., the students should be able to grasp and relate to what is being taught to them. Reflective teaching is the core component of effective professional development and key to becoming a skilled teacher.
What is Reflective Teaching?
Reflective teaching is the process where teachers reflect on or analyze their teaching practices to observe the overall effectiveness of their instructive teachings. This process of analyzing their teaching skills helps them to look and work on their shortcomings and also lets them know whether their sessions are being enjoyed by the students. It might seem like a bit of a task in educator programs but can actually change the way educators function or perform in a classroom.
With reflective teaching, the teachers can find out what works best and what doesn’t in the classroom so that they can tailor their approach as per the need. This way, teachers can become more effective and also help students know that their educators have their best interests in mind while designing their classroom strategy. If you are a teacher, struggling for your student’s attention, try using a reflective teaching approach as it helps create a better learning and student-centric environment for your kids.
Among the different types of teaching methods, this approach helps teachers overcome their shortcomings and help in polishing their skills. Mentioned below are a few benefits associated with this type of teaching.
Benefits of Reflective Teaching for Teachers:
Teachers are benefitted from reflective teaching practices in exponential ways. This practice includes planning your new sessions, analyzing and improving your previous sessions, thereby improving your delivering techniques. The practice will also enable the teachers to develop a better understanding of their teachings. If you are looking to improve and accelerate your teaching skills, reflective teachings have a lot to offer.
1) Promotes Professional Growth
Through reflective teaching, the teachers can have an extensive inner thought process to have a better understanding of their strengths and weaknesses and help in their professional growth. Teachers can start by practicing simple reflective practices like preparing and analyzing their class sessions.
The information so extracted from analyzing the sessions can be used to adjust and modify their teaching techniques while addressing the students. They can also start by writing reflective journals, wherein they can jot down their thoughts after each session and find out the areas of improvement.
Practicing reflective teaching is not as complicated as it may seem. As an organized and responsible teacher, you may often keep track of your lessons or may prepare your lessons beforehand. Besides upskilling yourself, take a few minutes to assess yourself and your teaching content and style after your classes. Noting down the positive and negative experiences every day will help you find ways to improve your problem areas and find innovative ways to make your session interesting yet meaningful.
Teachers can enhance their innovation with reflective teaching methods. For instance: if you find that your students cannot grasp your teachings or their interest is waning, you can use web applications, online platforms, games and other such innovative teaching tools to improve your delivery and capture their interest.
3) Boost Relationship with Students:
It is important to boost individual relationships with your students to help them understand your teaching methods. As every individual learner is different and has unique needs, with reflective teaching strategies you can easily analyze your students’ performance, their needs, personality, behavior and traits.
The relationship so formed with your students will help them feel safe and comfortable, and as a result, they will enjoy your teaching sessions and won’t hesitate in getting their doubts cleared. As a teacher, you will also find it easy to connect with your students and also enjoy the whole teaching process.
4) Lively Sessions:
Every teacher’s nightmare is to teach a class with bored and unmotivated students. To avoid this experience, teachers can use some interesting reflective teaching strategies to liven up their sessions and have students actively contribute to the class.
For instance: teachers can begin their session with a refresher session wherein they can review the last sessions' teachings through a game, before actually starting a new topic. This will motivate students to actively participate in learning new things and also make your teaching session lively, engaging and interesting. At the end of every class, you can ask the students for their feedback about your class to get to know where you are lacking and work on it and make your sessions fun.
Reflection Activities for Teachers:
As reflective teaching helps teachers in self-assessment and get to know about their strengths and weaknesses. Listed below are a few reflection activities for teachers that will help them teach masterfully.
1) Give opportunities to students to speak up in your class without hesitating and respond to what they are learning in class.
2) There should be proper interaction between the teacher and student, to ensure that the students can grasp teachings without any problem.
3) See to it that the type and level of questions you are asking your students are up to their level.
If you, as a teacher, want to evolve your skills, reflective teaching is the approach you should be adapting to while teaching. Reflective teaching will help in your personal and professional development. The schools should encourage reflective teaching practices as it helps in creating a strong foundation for continuously refining teaching and learning experience. It also gives teachers an opportunity to innovate and learn new teaching techniques, which results in a more productive working environment.