I was recently teaching a math lesson using addition with regrouping. During the second day of the unit, my classroom seemed to brighten as the light bulbs came on and my students were smiling with confidence. I quickly jotted a few details on a sticky note and stuck it to my reminder board. At the end of the day I reviewed my sticky notes to reflect on the fine points of the day. Reflection after teaching a lesson is vital for growth as a teacher and for your students.
Self-reflection is a process where teachers analyze how something was taught and how the lesson could be improved or changed for a better outcome.
Often times you may converse with other colleagues about how a lesson went during a formal observation or an average day. You may make comments such as, “My lesson went well today.”, “My students loved our fraction lesson.” or “I have several students still struggling with long division.” Conferring with peers is one of the many forms of self-reflection.
When thinking about reflective teaching find a method that works for you.
Stick-it Use sticky notes to identify key points during and after a lesson to allow you to look back over later in the day. Sticky notes can be placed in your lesson plan book, assignments, and activities to reflect upon from day to day and year to year.
Self-Reflection Journal Take time at the end of the day to write about your day. Make notes about the lessons taught, positive points, and areas of improvement.
Snap-it or Video– Taking pictures or a video recording can be valuable by observing yourself and students from a different perspective. You can remember meaningful moments of a lesson or engaging activities which were successful with your students.
Peer Observation– After a formal observation by administration or a peer observation, take time to discuss the positives aspects of the lesson and how to improve the teaching methods for the next time. Getting feedback and sharing ideas is a healthy form of self-reflection.
Chat– As a more informal reflective process, talk to other teacher about a lesson or topic. Your peers may be able share some ideas or materials to improve the learning outcome.
Once you have picked a self-reflection method, ask yourself these questions to analyze the lesson and your teaching methods.
- Was the instructional objective met?
- How do I know my students learned what was intended?
- Was the lesson assignment or activity an effective tool for learning the objective?
- Were my students engaged during the lesson?
- Did I alter my lesson while teaching?
- What went well in this lesson?
- What can I change to improve the lesson?
- What is my plan for reteaching and enrichment?
Keep in mind that you are a wonderful teacher and you are making a difference in many children’s lives every day. Reflection after teaching a lesson is a valuable tool to continuous growth as an educator. Think about what you can improve for a better result and celebrate your accomplishments.