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Reflective Teaching

Este material considera los beneficios de la reflexión a la hora de planear las clases, con el objetivo de mejorar los métodos de enseñanza.


Reflective teaching


All teachers can benefit from becoming reflective teachers. What is most important for each of us, whether new to the profession, or those of us who have been actively engaged in teaching for many years, is to think about this activity in which we are engaged. We must think about what we wish to accomplish in the classroom, why we have chosen these goals, and how we wish to achieve them. Once we have engaged in the active process of teaching, we must regularly reflect on what is happening and has happened in our classrooms. In this way we also engage in a process called «reflection-on-action». This occurs as we think about what we are going to do, and later what we have done suggest that not only should one engage in reflection, but one should reflect with colleagues who can help us improve our teaching strategies.

Reflective teaching is a practice and an approach to teaching that allows us to become more professional and better teachers. Essentially, it involves collecting data from our own teaching. Some teachers keep a journal after class everyday. Reading those notes at a later point can make a good contribution to self-awareness and choosing different strategies. Some other teachers opt for tape recording their classes and listen to it at home, for example. Reviewing the data at later points, and using the information that they get from that process to make critical judgments about our teaching and try to improve, in a nutshell what it’s all about.

Why can't we improve as we go along? Why do we need to look back afterwards?


It is possible to some extent. Trouble is just that teaching is so complex and there is so much going on, particularly in my case, in the language classroom. There is a great deal of interaction with students. And a lot of decision-making as we go along, in spite of having planned the day lesson. It is not just the same as lecturing to students on subject matter. But it is quite helpful to record some to keep records of different kinds, whether it is an audio recording, a video recording, personal journal notes, notes from observers who have sat in on our lessons, all of these strategies allow teachers to concentrate on improving the teaching when we are not concentrating on the teaching itself.

Although approaches to reflective teaching vary, reflective teachers generally accept that their teaching practices, and the motives for those practices, should be critically questioned and continually improved. Critical reflection is not limited to teaching techniques, but includes attitudes, belief , behaviours, and perceptions. A few of the many strategies for reflection include the following:

Self-analysis through:

  • Use of teaching portfolios in which on-going efforts to update course content as well as course delivery can be documented.
  • Viewing a video recording of ones own teaching can be an eye-opening experience.
  • Use of self-assessment forms.
  • Self-assessment through filling out the same student questionnaire used to evaluate teaching at the end of each semester by students.

Shared analysis through:

  • Forming a reflective partnership or a cooperative effort between two faculty members who observe each other teach and discuss their interpretations of each other's actions and intentions.
  • Participating in a process of collegial coaching which centres on the two primary activities of observation of classroom teaching and instructional consultation.
  • Using the FLs Department at your school –if there is one– as a resource. The role of the department chair in the implementation of the annual review process is critical. Department chairs will have increased responsibilities for assisting in the creation and implementation of improvement plans for those faculty who rate unsatisfactory in any category. Efforts are being made to increase resources for department chairs in learning how to assist faculty successfully in this process.

We have outlined a few possibilities. At first sight, our proposal might read like a time consuming process, but anyway you will find it is rewarding.

  • Which of the possibilities suggested would you like to try?
  • Have you ever tried this?
  • What were the results of the experience?
  • Did your learners participate in them? How?

Bibliography

RICHARDS, J. & NUNAN, D. (1995). Second Language Teacher Education. Oxford: OUP.

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Publicado: 14 de enero de 2015

Última modificación: 25 de febrero de 2015

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