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Do You Reflect?
Self reflection is a necessary activity that all teachers should do after each days' lessons. This is not just for new teachers but for everyone. I found throughout my years of experience that if I spent 30 minutes at the end of a day to record my reflections in a notebook each day (like a journal) I not only would remember what was good and what needed improvement but I also had a location to go back and look the following year to help me improve upon what I was doing each year. The following is a paper about reflective journals:
Do you, as a teacher, use one for your own learning?
Do you have your students do a reflection piece every day in your classroom?
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I think reflection is necessary as well. I find that I do reflect, but I don't normally write the reflections down. I believe this would be a wonderful next step. I think it is important for students to reflect on what they have learned as well. When they talk about their learning or think through it, I believe it helps them better understand it. Thank you for your post!
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I like the idea of writing in a journal. I always think I will remember something, or randomly jot down notes and later lose them. While writing everyday might not happen for me, I think getting my thoughts and reflections down a few times a week would be really helpful.
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I am not as dedicated as you as far as reflecting every day on paper (in the car on the 30 min drive home, maybe...). I did take notes at the end of each unit of what worked and what didn't and I made students help me with that by having one of my bellringer questions for every unit as, "What did you like and learn from this unit? What confused you and should be taught differently next time? Do you have any suggestions on how this could be taught better?" then I used their responses as part of my unit reflections.
I also found that students would frequently tell me they "didn't learn anything!" unless I had them fill out some sort of guided prompts to remind them of what we did in class (maybe it is because they have so many classes to remember?). So I had a question page with a list of science skills and processes and I would have them fill out with partners.
When did you use inferences?
When did you make hypothesis?
When did you make a procedure for an experiment or test?
When did you....
Then I would ask them what they learned and they had much more to tell!!!
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Hi Adah and Tina,
This is so relevant to teaching today. Thank you for starting this discussion thread. I created a collection a while back that contains several articles and book chapters on this topic. It is called: Teachers as Researchers & Reflective Educators
Having just returned from an ASTE (Association of Science Teacher Educators), it was marvelous to see so many educators conducting personal research on teaching and learning. I am interested in promoting a culture within my preservice teacher courses that encourages not only the types of reflective teaching that you have both discussed earlier, but also to open up opportunities for my future teachers to engage in active research.
I think some of the formative assessments that we are using in our classrooms would be utilized even more if time were taken to reflect on what went well and what didn't go so well after each lesson/ instructional day. At the very least, "exit tickets" help a teacher to reflect on his/her students' learning and understanding of the day's topic so that the next day's lesson can be based on information gathered the day before. How are others are using the reflective process to inform their practice and improve their students' learning?
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Since I began Flipping my biology classes this year, I have found that watching yourself on video is a fantastic way of starting the self-reflection process. I encourage you to record a lesson or 2 even if you dont want to flip the classroom.
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As a student teacher, I do write reflections and they help me to realize the good things in my teaching, my mistakes, and areas for improvement. I heard that video recording during teaching is a great way to reflect, I have not tried it yet, but I will.
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What a great idea to record yourself and use the video to reflect. I'm been looking into the benefits of flipping classrooms from the students' perspective, but hadn't considered how it can help teachers in self-evaluation.
To help me reflect, I've added a reflection section to the bottom of my lesson planning chart. This section gives me some space to jot down a few notes about things that worked, didn't work, questions that came up, student feedback, etc. When I first started teaching, I was sure that I'd remember my lessons from year to year, but in reality, I realized that it's difficult for me to remember the details of lessons. By adding the reflections to my lesson plans, I am able to improve my lessons and refine my presentations from year to year.
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I do not reflect in detail as you do, but would love to eventually incorporate that within my day. I do mentally reflect and review the good and the bad in my head but being able to review the improvements on paper does make the difference!
Thanks for the great idea!!!
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I am in my student teaching year, and we have been required to do reflections. At first, I was weary about the assignment, but then I realized that the reflections help me learn and grow as an educator. To be honest, I do not reflect on paper every day, but I do at least once a week. I love the idea of spending 30 minutes at the end of the day (before I go home) to reflect in a journal on my teaching and how the day went. I also like the idea of having the students reflect on their learning. I feel this is important not only as a teacher, but as a person. Reflecting on my actions allows me to grow as a person as well as an educator.
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I too am a student teacher and like you, I was hesitant on reflecting every day after each lesson. I learned that the best teachers are the reflective practitioners because you leave room for improvement and growth. I think having a reflective journal seems like a great idea because it keeps you organized on what can be improved for next time. I may even try keeping one in a digital format for practical reasons!
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I've had several conversations with students about the retake process. All of them have said, that they don't really work at learning anything, because they can always retake a test. They all say, "I take the test, see whats on it...fail it, then go study that stuff enough to pass, and then retake it."
Our valedictorian and salutatorian last year refused to take AP chemistry because they knew the teacher wouldn't let them retake tests which meant they might not get an A, and might lower their chance of being the valedictorian, etc. The students work the system and only take classes with teachers that will let them retake.
It's just so hard to see the value in it, when so many game the system.
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I am also a Student Teacher. After each lesson, we are asked to reflect on how the lesson went. At the beginning of the semester, I would reflect each day and post it into a Word document. I admit I have slacked off and need to begin reflecting again. However, at the end of each school day, I mentally reflect on how the day went. I find successful areas and areas of improvement. Reflecting has allowed me to see how the progress I have made.
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I am also a student teacher and we are asked to reflect on a lot of our assignments, but mostly after our lessons where we sit with our advisor after their observation of the lesson. I find it helpful to have someone point out the positives and negatives of my lessons, but as a teacher, I won't have someone there constantly helping me to figure out the wrongs and rights of a lesson. Hopefully I will take everything I have practiced about reflection practices and use it daily to improve my teaching techniques.
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I am a student teacher as well. Like my fellow NSTA members said, taking the time to reflect has been really helpful. For student teaching, we write a reflection for every lesson that we teach and sometimes for assignments that we do in our courses as well. At first, it was hard for me. I thought it was tedious and time consuming. However, I quickly realized later that taking the time to reflect really helped me identify my weaknesses and strengths so that I could continue doing what I did well and work on improving what I struggled with. In addition, it also helped me to think about my students' learning styles, learning preferences, which part of the lesson went well/not so well, and etc. I will continue to take time to reflect. I am positively that I will do so mentally daily, but I would really need to try to do it on paper.
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The idea of videoing yourself teaching and subsequently watching it is a great idea. It is definitely something I want to do as a student teacher. There are so many involuntary things we may be doing (physically) that come across or are being interpreted by our students in certain ways. Listening to our voice inflection, enthusiasm level, etc are just as important as listening to ourselves dispense content.
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I am currently student teaching and in my classroom, my teacher requires the students to write in their journal something they have learned, something they liked about school and why they think they deserve the behavioral card that they earned at the end of the day. The students have to give an example why they deserve the recognition they get at the end of the day. I think it is important for everyone to reflect, but I think it helps the students notice that they make their own decisions and are responsible for their actions, and it helps them be proud of themselves when they do something right.
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