In practice-based professions, reflective processes are deemed to be useful elements in fostering continuous learning. Reflective practice, therefore, is the process through which these professionals reflect on professional actions. Reflective practice demands that these professionals pay particular attention to specific practical values and theories critical in making everyday actions. Reflective practice is important in these professions because people learn through the experiences that they go through every day of work. According to Moon, (1999, p. 56), reflective practice is popular in education and healthcare professions. This paper will particularly focus on reflective practice as it’s applied in the education field. The wisdom here is that teachers are better placed to learn from the experiences that they go through in their interaction with learners compared to the knowledge they get from formal education.
In education specifically, reflective practices refer to the study by education professionals of their own methods of teaching and making decisions about the best approaches for their students. Bartlett says that reflective practice in teaching more or less involves ethical outcomes of approaches that teachers use on their learners. He further asserts that given the complexity of both learning and teaching, reflective practice comes in handy to bridge the gap between different approaches to teaching while merging past and present teaching experiences to improve teaching approaches (1990, p. 87). Bartlett further argues that teachers should adopt a flexible classroom culture that helps them move away from the distinct basic skills to a level where they can easily employ different strategies to suit various situations and contexts. To demonstrate the use of the reflective practice, this paper will focus on the instructional framework, lesson design, and reflective practice areas of reflective instruction practice.
Use of terms
In this paper, the terms learners and students will be used interchangeably. However, they will be applied in the same context and their meanings will be the same.
Power up Activity
The teacher will begin the lesson by assigning the students a simple task that is easily taken with little assistance from the teacher. According to Moon, (1999, p. 88), the simple task will help the students settle down and engage their attention effectively serving the management function. The activity must be posted before the commencement of the class where all students can easily see it e.g. on an overhead projector or board. The activity may include previously learn content probably two to four days before. While students tackle the simple assignment, the teacher will quietly take roll call while checking previous assignments. The teacher will then tackle the simple task together will the students after sampling some of the simple task answers and any misunderstanding will be cleared.
The teacher will relate the current lesson to the previous as well as future lessons. The teacher must do this in a way that students’ attention and interest are captured. At this level, the teacher will outline the purpose or objectives of the lesson. Glass (2009, p. 180) refers to this as the anticipatory or establishing set of the lesson.
Focusing on the Content
After capturing students’ attention and interest, the teacher will set the lesson in motion by introducing new skills and concepts according to the syllabus or course content. Block et al. (2008, p. 78) refer to it as the presentation of a content portion of the lesson where teacher modeling will take place. The teacher will try to engage students and learning activities will be directed both at the teacher and the learner. Shambaugh et al (2005, p. 59) further say that this is the phase when discovery lessons will be implemented.
This phase is closely linked to the content focus stage where the teacher will set a situation where students will put to practice the skills and concepts they have learned. The situation will enable the teacher to assess the learner’s understanding of the concepts and understanding. A critical element in this phase is monitoring and feedback where the teacher will determine whether the learners have internalized the concepts and skills well for practical application on their own. It is important to note that the teacher will do this monitoring rather pervasively.
The teacher will divide students into small groups where they will discuss and practice the newly learned concepts and skills. There is more independence at this stage and the teacher takes a backseat role while students lead their activities through group leaders. Unlike in the guided practice phase where pervasive monitoring and feedback takes place, this stage will require open monitoring and feedback.
The teacher will introduce and engage activities that will signify the wrap-up of the lesson. These activities will emphasize the skills and concepts that were learned during the lesson. The teacher will do this by reviewing important points of the lesson while at the same time engaging students on self-reflection.
Here, the teacher will introduce activities that will help students review content that was taught previously. Glass (2009, p. 214) suggests that the activities be focused on content that is two to four days old. It is important to note that teachers may also introduce a review of the current lesson content during the lesson in one of the above sections of the lesson.
Monitoring and Evaluation
The teacher will informally assess the students to determine the understanding level at any point during the lesson. Block et al. (2008, p. 65) say that monitoring should take place through practices that are devised by the teacher. It may be overt or otherwise.
The teacher will provide information to the student/s about their performance from the activities that will be provided. This feedback will help students in self-assessment so that they can determine which areas they need to improve on.
Lesson plans are more or less dictated by the scaffolding requirements. It’s important for teachers to bear in mind that some lessons will take more time than others depending on the aims of the lesson. A critical element that every teacher should bear in mind is the time that each student needs to grasp the concepts and skills he or she needs. Besides, the lesson plans should provide for the development of the cognitive skills in students especially through working in small groups.
The teacher will determine the objectives of the lesson will be. The teacher will determine the particular activities students will be engaged in to understand from the lesson’s teaching.
Setting the standards
The teacher will lay down the standards of performance he/she will expect when he will assign students evaluation activities. These standards will include the type of lesson the teacher will present and the procedures that will be followed in the class. Besides, the standards will articulate the behavior expected of the learners in the classroom. In addition, to be included in the standards are the activities the students are expected to undertake and the skill they will be required to demonstrate.
This anticipatory set is meant to induct the students and help grab their attention. It aids in helping students adapt to the right mood and frame of the mind. They may include actions statements that seek to connect the students’ experiences of the learners and the objectives of the lesson. The hook helps learners to concentrate their attention on the lesson while helping in the creation of information and flow of ideas systematically. Shambaugh et al (2005, p. 39) say that it hooks helps in the extension of understanding of the abstract ideas that will be introduced during the lesson.
This will include actual teaching in the classroom. According to Barr (2001, p.106), it included inputs, modeling, and evaluation of understanding. Inputting will involve the teacher providing the information on the key concepts and skills that will be necessary for gaining knowledge. The presentation will be done through a lecture or PowerPoint presentation. It may also involve pictures.
The teacher using the skill and concept that he will be teaching will do modeling on the other hand through demonstration. It is used to demonstrate to learners the expectations from their own individual as well as group works. Students are taken through the critical and application aspects of learning. Critical aspects may include categorization and comparisons while application techniques may include problem-solving and summarizing (Barr, 2001, p.109).
Evaluation for understanding will help teachers determine if the students had internalized what they needed to learn before proceeding to the next stage. It will also help the teacher determine if there is a need for re-teaching the concepts and skills again.
Teachers will then engage the students in questions that will evaluate their higher levels of understanding. It will help evaluate their memory networking and binding capabilities.
The teacher will employ direct supervision by assessing each student through activities and exercises to evaluate their grasp of the concepts and skills. It is recommended that the teacher provides a remedy for every individual student as will be needed. The method “praises, prompt and leaves” as suggested by Fred Jones is recommended as one of the effective strategies a teacher will use (Bond & Walker, 1985, p.203).
The teacher will introduce statements that will hint to the students that the lesson is coming to an end. That way it will help them systematically arrange the ideas they would have grasped during the lesson. It will also help them make sense out of all the information they would have accumulated. Consolidation of the ideas will aid in the formation of a coherent picture of the skill and concepts as well as their practical application.
The teacher will engage students in activities that they will do after class informs of group work, or individual works. This will help students not to forget the information they had learned. A key aim of this stage will be to de-contextualize the learning in such a way that students will be able to apply the knowledge would have gained in class in any situation as it applies.
The chart below summarizes the main activities that are involved in lesson planning..
Different elements contributed to the reflective analysis that the teacher in this course wrote in this section. It involved asking questions, what why how and if, trying to seek alternatives to already establishes ways of doing things, viewing this from a different perspective, considering the consequences of the actions both the teacher and the student took, testing new ideas as well as seeking new ways of solving problems that arose during teaching.
During class hours, the teacher could not help asking why some students still misbehaved even in the presence of the teacher. In some cases, there was open defiance and making the teacher the subject of jokes. The teacher later discovered that carrying oneself with authority mattered a lot. Students recognized authority, jokers, and troublemakers ceased their activities when the teacher exhibited authority. However, the excessive authority did intimidate some students as they displayed discomfort throughout the lesson.
When introducing a new lesson, the teacher discovered many students were getting lost especially when explaining the new concepts. After a few trial and error methods, the teacher discovered a lot more examples and introductions, using easy real-life examples helped them more in grasping the new concepts.
Many instances during teaching, many teachers discovered that little guidance was important as it helped students in learning through making mistakes. The students came up with their own methods of solving questions and the teacher’s role was reduced to correcting the mistakes they made and ensuring they did not get lost. This was common in physical sciences classes especially when the teacher discovered he felt he was not in control.
Some instances of learning were clear reminders of the shared cultural characteristics that the teacher may have with the students. The teacher realized the importance of being in possession of cultural and disciplinary conventions helped him and the students to be in accord during the language lessons.
in assessing students’ prior knowledge on new concepts, the teacher discovered that learning aims and objectives could be better achieved through unpacking and challenging students preconceived ideas before new information is presented. Besides preconceived ideas, the teacher found out that it’s important to assess the learner’s attitudes and values students to the preconceived ideas in the first place. That way the teacher easily learnt the students’ path of thinking and it was helpful in the pack a learner’s concepts in the right manner before presenting them. an important to note here is that the learners reflected earned news on the lesson helped the teacher realize what he could have done.
There were instances when the teacher insisted that students articulate their skills and concepts before the class. The assumption here was that if they did it before the class their confidence would improve. In reality, however, the teacher discovered that most students only ended becoming nervous and anxious. They would hardly express themselves especially the shy type. Instead, the teacher decided to encourage them to speak from wherever they were comfortable in class.
The experiences that the teacher was exposed to in class helped him realize how little the formal education one learns in college applies to practical teaching. The experiences that were shaped by interactions with students in class contributed to the development of new skills that greatly came in handy in handling different types of students. Additionally, the teacher came to realize the differences that exist in handling students in different disciplines. Language learners for instance are handled differently from students taking sciences. While language learners would like to engage more in oral activities, physics students preferred doing experiments with partial guidance from the teacher.
- Bartlett, L. (1990). Teacher Development through Reflective Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press pp. 202-214
- Barr, J.Y. (2001). Reflective practice to improve schools: an action guide for educators. New York: Springer
- Bond, D. K. & Walker, D. (1985). Reflection: Turning Experience into Learning. London: Kogan Page.
- Block, C.C et al. (2008). Comprehension instruction: research-based best practices – Page 160. Burlington: Sage Publishers.
- Froelich, J. (2009). Effective Lesson Design: A Basic Conceptual Outline: Using Looking at Learning to Improve School Performance.
- Glass, K. T. (2009). Lesson Design for Differentiated Instruction, Grades 4-9. New York: Routledge Publishers.
- Moon, J. (1999). Learning journals: A handbook for academics, students, and professional development. London: Kogan Page Ltd.
- Shambaugh, N.R et al (2005). Instructional design: a systematic approach for reflective practice. New York: Infobase Publishers.