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Reflective practice and identifying your needs

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© British Council

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Reflective practice is an approach to teaching that involves critical evaluation of your actions, to better understand your strengths and areas for development as a teacher.
In other words, you look back at what you’ve done, consider carefully whether it worked or not, and if so, why. This helps you to pinpoint and develop successful practices, as well as identifying your professional development needs and finding solutions for problems.
You may be familiar with Kolb’s experiential learning cycle – reflective practice is based on this:
1. You have an experience e.g. you teach a lesson
2. You reflect on the experience You think about what went well, or not so well
3. You critically analyse the experience You identify what it was that made the lesson go well or not so well – the activity? Your instructions? Your knowledge of the subject/topic? Etc.
4. You plan future actions based on what you have learnt e.g. you try the same speaking activity with another class because it worked well, or you research language so that you know the language point better for next time, etc.
Most teachers reflect mainly on lessons, but you could reflect on other things too: a course, an interaction with a learner/parent/co-worker, an interview or conference presentation, for example.
Ways to reflect
  • Keep a learning diary of what went well or not so well in a lesson
  • Ask your learners for feedback on a lesson or activity
  • Make notes in your coursebook after each lesson
  • Talk through your lessons with another teacher
  • Ask a colleague to sit in and observe your lesson
  • Record yourself teaching (and then watch it!)
  • Use an online journal to keep your reflective practices in one place – notes, videos, documents, links
You’ll be looking more at some of these techniques this week. Whatever you choose to do, the process of reflection helps you to keep learning and developing as a teacher.
  • What reflective practices you do already?
  • Which would you like to try?
  • How have you been reflecting on your learning throughout this course? (online journal/written journal/something else)
Share your ideas below.
© British Council
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