Monday, January 13, 2014

How can you make self reflection part of your day? Like this...

I have written previous posts about the important role that self reflection plays in improving one’s own teaching practice.  I have given examples of questions that when contemplated thoughtfully might inspire action or lead to new ways of thinking (Reflective Questions for Consideration and Reflective Questions: Summer Edition). The focus of this entry however is on the process itself.   Self reflection can take on many shapes and forms but in order to truly make an impact, it has to happen consistently.  Here are 10 examples of self reflective practices I have seen teachers use.

  • Collaborative planning times or grade level meetings often end in what feels like a blink of an eye. Keeping the first or last 5 minutes sacred to capture a thought will add up to meaningful reflection over time.

  • Having a formal or informal reflection buddy offers many benefits. A professional relationship based on a mutual commitment to improving practice will have implications beyond the two participants.

  • In addition to modeling a lifelong learning skill, involving students in the reflection process provides you with more information when making future instructional decisions.

  • Twitter gives educators the opportunity to create a record of reflections 140 characters at a time.  Furthermore you will receive support and resources from other professionals who have had similar experiences.

  • A reflection jar placed on your desk is always there when you need it.  For more information on this strategy, visit

  • This blog is an example of a self reflective practice that only a year ago I wouldn't have even considered.  You might even want to try something like taking the Self Initiated Blogging Challenge.

  • Take advantage of whatever evaluation protocols your district has. Most models include self reflection as part of the process but even if they don't, make it part of your own.

  • Many teachers shudder at the idea of recording themselves teaching, but it is perhaps the most effective way to analyze what you and how you do it. 

  • Capture meaningful moments, student work, lessons, and ideas by taking quick pictures.  Go through them weekly and bring yourself back to that place and time.   

  • Ask a colleague to observe your classroom and follow it up with a frank discussion about the visit.  For more on this read Reasons to Observe a Colleague.

1 comment:

Carroll Garland said...

Love the last 5 minutes of sacred reflection time whether the classroom or colleagues collaborating! So often it's beat the clock and then nothing sticks. CarrollGarland