Reflection: More than just looking in the mirror
reflection in a mirror is an exact replica of what is in front of it. Reflection in professional practice
gives back not what it is, but what might be, an improvement on the original
" Biggs (1999).
Reflective practice, in this context, is not about just looking at myself in a mirror and accepting what I see blindly, without any question or evaluation. Rather, it is about looking at what I have learned and how I can utilise that learning in my teaching practice. In this essay, I aim to only discuss what I have been taught and to see how I have assimilated professional jargon' terms and the range of teaching tools into my consciousness; to see how I can address different styles of learning and tailor my teaching in order that I may plan, prepare for and provide for the individual learners needs as identified in any initial assessment. This essay utilises the concept of reflection-on-action' Schon (1987) that is taking a step back, look at what has gone before and pause to consider how our actions, thoughts and experiences within that situation will affect what we choose to do later. "Reflective Practice is a process of reviewing an experience from practice in order to describe, analyse and evaluate and so informs learning from practice" Reid (1993)
Reflection is a useful tool of self assessment and evaluation as it often enables you to identify areas where you feel you are performing well and highlight areas that require improvement. In recording my feelings towards each of the subjects taught, I can see where I feel my teaching practice will excel and where I will require further assistance, this of course is useful as
I can identify areas that I feel I need to discuss with my mentor and my PDT, such as classroom control techniques and how to ensure each of my learners achieve personal and group goals. Teaching is often described as a reflective occupation, the teacher is expected to look at their performance within the classroom and the institution, and well analyse the techniques they employ to ensure that they are always delivering the best standard of practice, ensuring curriculum areas are covered as well as making sure that the needs of the learners are met with each course. There are many tools of reflection, although I have found that keeping an individual learning log has acted not only as an introspective tool , but also as a starting point for identifying where I needed to do further research in order to achieve a high level of personal and professional development. As with many of the individualised learning tools, this also served to keep m y thoughts in order and allowed me to see how one weeks learning related to the next week, how the individual building blocks of knowing the tools of teaching and the styles of learning can be used in every lesson. It allowed me the opportunity to react in an emotional way to the academic information that was being laid before me and gave me a chance to cement the assimilation between what I already knew and what I was learning. The concept of logical progression is such an important idea within teaching practice It's no good teaching someone to run before you have taught them to walk. In much the same way that my learning log will enable me to reflect on what I have learned, if I use this tool with my learners, I will be able to see how they feel they are progressing and where they feel that each new topic relates to previous learning. There are of course other techniques that can be used to support a reflective approach to learning and analysis, such as self assessment, personal development plans etc. Of course, there is a difference between individual and collective reflective practice and in a course such as this; there will always be an element of collective reflection. My peers and I have often been known to discuss any learning that has taken place in lessons, referring to our own experiences in...
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