The reflective teacher
The most distinctive of these very good teachers is that their practice is the result of careful reflection . . . They themselves learn lessons each time they teach, evaluating what they do and using these self-critical evaluations to adjust what they do next time.
(Why Colleges Succeed, Ofsted 2004, para. 19)
What this chapter is about
Reflective practice ± what is it? Why and how should we do it? Reflection `in' and `on' action
Some models of reflective practice
Using reflection as a basis for improving learning and teaching Writing your personal development journal (PDJ)
Your individual learning plan (ILP)
What makes a good teacher in lifelong learning?
This chapter covers, at least, the following standards:
AS 4; AK 4.2; AP 4.2; AK 4.3; AP 4.3
CK 1.1; CP 1.1; CK 4.1; CP 4.1
DS 3; DK 3.1
What is reflective practice?
The LLUK Professional Standards for teachers, tutors and trainers in the lifelong learning sector state that those working in the sector should value `Reflection and evaluation of their own practice and their continuing professional development as teachers' (AS 4). In addition, their professional knowledge and understanding includes: `Ways to reflect, evaluate and use
TEACHING IN THE LIFELONG LEARNING SECTOR
research to develop own practice and to share good practice with others'. As part of their professional practice, they should: `Share good practice with others and engage in continuing professional development through reflection, evaluation and the appropriate use of research'. Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills status requires trainees to begin the practice of continuing professional development (CPD) right from the start of their training by keeping a development journal. This practice continues after completion of training; all teachers in lifelong learning are required to provide evidence of a minimum of 30 hours CPD each year in order to maintain their licence to practice.
There is one quality above all that makes a good teacher ± the ability to reflect on what, why and how we do things and to adapt and develop our practice within lifelong learning. Reflection is the key to successful learning for teachers, and for learners. As the LLUK standards make clear reflection is an underpinning value and is the key to becoming a professional teacher. A commonsense view of reflection is that it involves just thinking about things. Perhaps, thinking about the structure of the universe or why you disagreed with your partner last night could be regarded as reflection ± others might consider it nothing more than idle and self-indulgent speculation. Most of us spend time thinking about what we do and the effects we have on others, but we don't always take it a step further and reflect on our actions and make plans to do things differently.
In a professional setting, reflection is:
about linking theory and practice;
to do with learning;
about change and development ± becoming a reflective teacher.
Jenny Moon suggests:
Reflection is a form of mental processing that we use to fulfil a purpose or to achieve some anticipated outcome. It is applied to gain a better understanding of relatively complicated or unstructured ideas and is largely based on the reprocessing of knowledge, understanding and, possibly, emotions that we already possess.
(Moon 2005: 1)
THE REFLECTIVE TEACHER
From `help!' to `second nature'
The process of reflection helps us to monitor our own development from raw beginner to experienced professional. Reynolds's (1965) model of developing competence in social work suggests the stages seen in Figure 1.1. Those of you who recall learning to drive will recognise these stages. Mastering, for example, clutch control is a deliberate practice of trying, sometimes failing, trying again, becoming confident, until it eventually...
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