Reflective teaching: Improving everyday as an educator

Reflective teaching is a way to improve our skills and help our students. It means looking at and assessing our own teaching methods and results. We can learn from students, colleagues, and experiences, but we must reflect on what we learned and how to apply it.

Join this EDU Blog on the topic of reflective teaching. We will explore what it means, its usefulness, and how to do it. So read on to discover how reflective teaching can help you develop your critical thinking and problem-solving skills!

What is reflective teaching?

Reflective teaching is a way of thinking about and analyzing our own teaching practice. It involves asking ourselves questions such as:

  • What did the students learn, and how do I know?

  • What challenges or difficulties did I encounter, and how did I overcome them?

  • What feedback did I receive from the students, colleagues, or supervisors, and how did I use it to improve my practice?

  • What are my strengths and areas for improvement as an educator?

  • What are some of the assumptions or beliefs that guide my teaching decisions?

  • How does my teaching align with the curriculum standards and expectations?

  • How does my teaching reflect my values and philosophy of education?

By reflecting on these questions, we can better understand our teaching practice. Thus we will be able to identify our successes and challenges, and plan for future actions and changes.

Check out our worksheet on reflective teaching

Why is reflective teaching important?

Reflective teaching is important because it can help us:

  • Improve our professional knowledge and skills by learning from our own experiences and evidence.

  • Enhance our student learning outcomes by adapting our instruction to their needs, interests, and abilities.

  • Develop our critical thinking and problem-solving skills by analyzing and evaluating our own practice.

  • Increase our confidence and self-efficacy by recognizing our achievements and strengths.

  • Promote our collaboration and communication with other educators by sharing our reflections and insights.

  • Support our well-being and resilience by coping with stress and challenges.

How can reflective teaching be applied in the classroom?

There are many ways to apply reflective teaching in the classroom. Some of the common methods are:

  • Keeping a reflective journal or diary where we record our thoughts, feelings, observations, questions, and insights about our teaching practice.

  • Conducting a self-assessment or peer observation where we collect data on our own or each other’s teaching practice. Using tools such as checklists, rubrics, surveys, or video recordings.

  • Participating in a professional learning community or network where we discuss and share our reflections with other educators who have similar goals or interests.

  • Seeking feedback from students, colleagues, or supervisors using methods such as questionnaires, interviews, focus groups, or portfolios.

  • Engaging in action research or inquiry where we identify a problem or question related to our teaching practice, collect and analyze data, implement an action plan, and evaluate the results.

Advantages and disadvantages of reflective teaching

Like any other approach, reflective teaching has its advantages and disadvantages. Some of the benefits are:

  • It empowers us to take charge of our own professional learning and development.

  • It enables us to tailor our instruction to our classroom’s specific context and situation.

  • It encourages us to be creative and innovative in our teaching practice.

  • It fosters a culture of continuous improvement and excellence in education.

Some of the disadvantages are:

  • It can be emotionally demanding and stressful to confront our weaknesses and failures

  • It can be challenging to find reliable and valid sources of data and evidence to support our reflections

  • It can be influenced by our biases and assumptions that may limit our perspective

Enhance your teaching career today with reflective teaching

Reflective teaching is a valuable process that can help us improve everyday as educators. By reflecting on our teaching practice, we can learn from our experiences. We can also adapt to our student’s needs, enhancing their learning outcomes. Last but not least, it helps us develop our professional skills, collaborate, and cope with challenges.

Reflective teaching is not a one-time event but an ongoing cycle that requires commitment, effort, and support. As John Dewey (1933) said: “We do not learn from experience…we learn from reflecting on experience.”

Let’s join EDU Passport’s reflective teaching community! EDU Passport is a great place to connect with other educators who are passionate about reflective teaching. We offer regular events and resources to support your reflective teaching journey.

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