How good is the mirror?

MindLab Activity 1 “Critically evaluate your reflective practice”

Examine my current understanding of reflective practice

I completed a MindLab survey to look at my reflective practice. My initial belief’s were that:

  • critical reflection means criticising your own practice, disagree. A consistent response compared with others doing the same survey.
  • critical reflection means criticising your colleagues practice, disagree. Also a consistent response.
  • critical reflection means challenging the existing assumptions and being informed by reliable sources, agree. Another consistent response.
  • critical reflection does not mean you have to read relevant sources, agree. Weakly inconsistent as others tended to disagree, but not significantly like for the other questions.

The survey questions were derived from the work by Finlay (2008).

My reaction to this part of the survey was to assess myself as being much the same as other teachers.

Examine what my current reflective practice is.

The second part of the survey revealed: How often do you reflect on your practice at the following levels?

  • rapid reflection, frequently. A consistent response compared with others doing the same survey.
  • repair, sometimes. A less consistent response compared with others.
  • review, sometimes. Also a less consistent response.
  • research, never. Definitely inconsistent.
  • retheorising and reformulating, never. Also, definitely inconsistent.

A the time of doing the survey it was not clear to me as to what the different practices actually meant. But, reading on in the course it was made clear in the work done by Zeichner and Liston (1996) and with this understanding I would have answered the survey a bit differently. This put me at ease as I was feeling initially anxious that some of my responses were inconsistent.

Examine the ways I put reflection into action

The final part of the survey asked: How often do you reflect on your practice in the following ways?

  • I reflect on my own, frequently. A consistent response compared with others doing the same survey.
  • I talk with my colleagues, sometimes. Also a consistent response compared with others.
  • I write my reflections in my diary, never. A weakly consistent response as the others have wider range of responses.
  • I write my reflections in a blog and share with others, never. A strong consistent response.
  • I tweet my reflections and ask for others’ opinions, never. A strong consistent response.

I do not maintain a diary, but then I do maintain an appraisal OneNote to keep a record of my student feedback with comments.

My most valued current practice for reflection comes from a four question student survey. I ask:

  • What is your teacher doing that is helping me with my learning?
  • What would you like your teacher to do differently to help your learning?
  • What should I be doing differently to improve my learning?
  • Is there anything I should know about, concerning your learning?

The responses are collated and ranked by frequency of similar response. Then, I write a comment to respond to the comments and challenge myself as to what I would like to change in my teaching in the classroom in the future. This is shared with a colleague to help me have some accountability.

The practice of reflective journaling has been well described in a video by SkillsHullUni. The aspects I am challenged to consider for the future are to include more intentional comments about my thoughts, feelings and be more truly reflective. To include: why (did I do it that way?), how (to change in the future), implications (so what? How does that help me?). In addition, to expand this model of critical reflection to other areas of my teaching practice e.g. leadership. As far as embracing the use of a Blog or Tweeting, this would be a new experience that will need for me to overcome my feelings of insecurity in trying these out. MindLab is certainly extending me into these areas.

There are two models of critical reflection that I would like to investigate, so as to provide a more scaffolded approach. ‘Gibb’s (1988) six basic stages of the cycle of reflection’ applied to behavioural management as promoted by Restorative Schools (2009) which focus on accountability, healing & needs. ‘Teaching as inquiry’ Ministry of Education (2009) is the other model which I would like to apply to a classroom to further enhance 21st century style digital collaboration .

The mirror analogy is pertinent and vain, as we can’t see how to improve ourselves if we don’t spend intentional time to look at ourselves.

References

Finlay L. (2008). Reflecting on reflective practice.  Retrieved from http://www.open.ac.uk/opencetl/sites/www.open.ac.uk.opencetl/files/files/ecms/web-content/Finlay-(2008)-Reflecting-on-reflective-practice-PBPL-paper-52.pdf

Gibbs, G (1988, p48) Learning by doing: a guide to teaching and learning methods. Oxford: Further Education Unit, Oxford Polytechnic.

Hall and Simeral (2017). The cycle of reflective teaching. Retrieved from https://www.teachthought.com/pedagogy/the-cycle-of-reflective-teaching/

Ministry of Education (2016) Teaching as inquiry. Retrieved from http://nzcurriculum.tki.org.nz/Teaching-as-inquiry

Restorative schools (2009). Restorative practice. Retrieved from http://www.restorativeschools.org.nz/restorative-practice

SkillsHullUni. (2014). Reflective writing . Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QoI67VeE3ds

Zeichner, K. M. and Liston, D. P. (1996) Reflective Teaching: An Introduction. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.
Creative Commons Licensecreative common attribution licence

 

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