Reflective teaching and action research

Reflective teaching is a kind of action research, a reflective process of progressive problem solving led by teachers to understand their practice and improve the way they address issues and solve problems.  It helps teachers become aware of what’s happening in the classroom by identifying common problems and hypothesising about possible causes and solutions  and attempting to apply an action plan.

Many of our impressions about our teaching practices necessitates systematic thinking. If students seem to have problems with a certain lesson, if a certain misbehavior arises in the classroom, or simply if your teaching session was a delightful success, you need to think about the “why” of these events.

  • Why did an indisciplinary issue emerge in the classroom?
  • Why do students seem unable to grasp a lesson?
  • What made a lesson seem so successfully delivered?

These questions are part and parcel of reflective teaching.

How to start teaching reflectively?

Reflective teaching helps teachers in their professional development. It is a systematic reflection on teachers practices within the classroom. It starts with recording teachers impressions about their teaching and ends up with practical measures to deal with problem situations.

The best way to record your impressions about your teaching practices is by keeping a journal. This should include:

  • A description of what happened in the classroom.
  • Your impressions about what happened.
  • If a problem was identified, what was the probable cause?
  • What measures do you intend to take to redress the problem?

Collecting information

Before attempting to redress a problem you detected in your teaching, you may need to collect information about the problem, either by reading about it, by asking questions in forums and websites, or by asking and sharing your problem with your colleagues.

Advantages of reflective teaching

  • Reflective teaching develops the quality of teaching through continuous improvements.
  • It gives educators new opportunities to reflect on and assess their teaching.
  • It enables teachers to explore and test new ideas, methods, approaches, and materials.
  • It provides opportunity to assess how effective the new approaches were.
  • Teachers share feedback with fellow team members.
  • They make decisions about which new approaches to include in the school’s curriculum, instruction, and assessment plans.

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