The Value of Self Reflection

Posted by Kate Herbert-Smith on 25 March, 2013

Self Reflection – A powerful tool for every teacher

What if taking control of your professional development meant you understood not only what is, but also began creating what could be?

Educational Reformer John Dewy once said “We do not learn from experience...we learn from reflecting on experience.” Regularly examining what has and what hasn't worked in the classroom is a valuable tool to help you grow as a teacher, but why?

The answer is threefold:

Job Satisfaction

If you leave your career unexamined it will get stale. It’s the same of any profession, but in particular teaching because it evolves at such a rate. Todays’ classrooms are bursting with diversity, this means that as a teacher you have to cater to a broad spectrum of needs. Self reflection is essential in order to do this. It will help you to remain relevant and engaging in the ever changing world of education.

Making a difference

While following routines can help you to manage the task of teaching it can also leave you feeling powerless to really make a difference to student’s lives. Self reflection opens ideas and can free you from routine, enabling you to act in a more deliberate and intentional manner. Taking control of your own professional development means you become capable of understanding not only what is, but also working to create what could be.

Meeting Demands

What does it take to be a ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ teacher? Definitions shift, it often depends on who you speak to and whether you are looking through the Ofsted lens or your own community’s understanding of Good and Outstanding. Changes to the curriculum mean that your role as a teacher is constantly being re-defined from social mediator to learning facilitator. So how do you keep up? Through self-awareness, self-enquiry and self reflection.

One of the best things about teaching is that every school term or even half term, offers a fresh start. Before next term starts try asking yourself the following questions, examining your answers and creating a list of achievable goals that will help you to transform your teaching.

  • What are my teaching goals for the coming year?
  • Where have I struggled in the past?
  • Where have I succeeded?
  • What are my strengths?
  • How can I use them to make teaching more fun while adding to my students' learning and enjoyment?
  • What can I do to be more proactive in my continuous professional development?
  • Which lessons am I continuing to perform out of habit? How can I develop/improve them?
  • Are there any aspects of the profession that I am ignoring out of fear of change or lack of knowledge? (i.e. technology)
  • Is there someone I trust to watch me teach and offer me advice on where I can improve?

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Topics: Blog


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