No matter how many years you have been teaching, it is still essential to reflect on your lesson content and presentation. Sometimes it’s pretty obvious it is not working whilst you are teaching, we might feel we are stuck in a rut with content or activity choice, or we think our students are not progressing as perhaps they should be. Every teacher’s fear!
John Hattie, Professor of Education and Director of the Melbourne Education Research Institute at Melbourne University, has spent many years researching the efficacy of teaching, or Visible Learning. This is what he has to say on lesson reflection: “I never allow teachers or school leaders to visit classrooms to observe teachers; I allow them to observe only students – the reactions that students have to incidents, to teaching, to peers, to the activity.” This focus moves the discussion away from the teaching toward the effect of the teaching.
I love this approach! It takes out the fear that we may be judged for our shortfalls.
How do you do this?
- Ask your mentor, a peer or someone on leadership to come and observe your children whilst you teach. Give them clear guidelines on what you want them to look for.
- Record yourself teaching a lesson and review it by looking at the children’s on task behaviour, engagement, interest and general behaviour.
- Review your lesson yourself, ensuring you are really looking purposefully at the items listed in the point above.
You have been reviewing your lessons and have determined there are shortcomings in particular areas. Focus on one area first, such as general behaviour. Make a list of what behaviours you are seeing that you aren’t happy with. Reflect on your behavioural management techniques and try to link their behaviours to something you are or aren’t doing well. If you are stuck, ask your mentor for specific input. For example, my students are constantly calling out and interrupting my teaching. What are some techniques I could easily implement to curb that behaviour?
Focus on ONE area only at a time. It’s far too overwhelming to change too many behaviours or techniques at once. Gain confidence in your abilities with that particular area before moving on to other areas of focus.
Make sure reviewing your effect of teaching is a regular occurrence to develop your personal growth, professional growth and that of your students.