Mirror, Mirror: The Power of Reflection

The following post has been adapted from Zoe Elder’s book Full On Learning and her philosophy on deep reflective professional development.

With Wilmslow High School’s Learning Conference just around the corner I thought it would be a great starting point to discuss why it is important to create time to reflect on, and be open to, new pedagogical practices to support both our self development as teachers and our students’ learning experience and progress.

Here are some questions posed by Zoe in her book to stimulate discussion on the vital subject of reflection and improving as a teacher:

1.  Who could you invite to come and see what you are doing with a particular group and help you assess its effectiveness? (Open classroom invitations?)

2.  Who would you like to see doing ‘their thing’ with one of their groups?

3.  What aspect of AfL/technology/group work/creative learning do you know, in your hearts of hearts, you avoid?

4.  Is there anybody in your school, or a local school, who does the above regularly and seems to be comfortable with it?

5.  What aspect of your pedagogy could you offer to others for them to come and see it in action?

6.  How would you design opportunities to stand back and observe the impact of your teaching on the quality of learning during your own lessons?

7.  What area of your subject teaching would you like to evaluate through some action research/student voice/learning walks/lesson observations?

8. When might you find time in a week to take 10 minutes out and reflect on the way in which your learners are making progress/engaging with their own learning/developing group work skills as a result of your teaching practice?

To conclude, in Zoe’s own words, ”In the frenetic world of school, time for quality self reflection can feel so precious to the extent of it being perceived as  an unrealistic luxury.  But it is essential that we find the time to reflect and develop our practice as part of our practice.  Often, we miss great practice happening in our own schools, possibly just down the corridor”.

Our mission at Wilmslow High School is to continue to create deliberate spaces of time to offer all of our teachers a chance to improve their practice through reflection.  A small step towards achieving this goal will hopefully be achieved through our in-house learning conference on Friday 19th October.

We look forward to feeding your learning appetite in a workshop near you soon!

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