Connect: Overcoming drawbacks

CONNECT

TBC

Approx. 10 minutes

Overcoming drawbacks

Think again about the drawbacks from the previous task plus some others that we’ve added to the list:

  • It’s difficult!
  • You can’t see the wood for the trees
  • It’s uncomfortable
  • Hard to remember post-lesson
  • A waste of time
  • Forced, assessed reflection 
  • Not enough time
  • Not taken seriously
  • No experience of doing it
  • No experience of teaching

TASK: How do you think you could overcome these (either in your own practice or in the practice of other teachers you know)? Spend a minute thinking about each one and then  click to reveal our suggestion below. 

It’s difficult

Practice makes perfect – so the more we reflect the better we get at doing it. We can also find out more about reflection including using different reflection cycles (see Extend).

You can’t see the wood for the trees

We can first think about the main objectives of the lesson and whether we achieved these. That is, did our learners actually manage to develop the skills we planned or improve their use of language? Starting to reflect on the main lesson objectives and whether learning took place avoids us focusing on minor issues such calling a learner by the wrong name.

It’s uncomfortable

Reflection doesn’t have to be (or shouldn’t in most situations) shared with others. Perhaps by keeping a lesson log or diary will help us to think about the progress of our lesson and our areas for development. Once we feel comfortable self-reflecting, we can progress to sharing our reflection, inviting colleagues into our classroom or asking to observe others – all of these should only be done when we feel comfortable.

Hard to remember post-lesson

Why not video or audio record our lessons to watch at a later date? This allows us to take the time to relax following the lesson and then watch or listen to a more objective version of events. Remember, before we press ‘record’, we need to ask for the permission of all those involved (i.e. our learners!).

A waste of time

The more we see the benefits of reflection, the more we are likely to do it. If we focus on the positives of reflection and how these may improve our teaching, we are more likely to interact with reflection. Also if reflection is seen as a normal part of teaching and learning, rather than an additional, optional extra, then we are more likely to do it as a matter of course.

Forced, assessed reflection

Making reflection a part of our everyday working day, rather than something that only takes place when the teacher is observed by their line manager or director, lets us see reflection as part of our everyday teaching.

Not enough time

Reflection doesn’t have to take a lot of time (such as filling in forms or keeping a formal diary) but could simply consist of being more aware of our thoughts during or following a lesson. Often reflection simply involves thinking about what we are doing or have done.

Not taken seriously

Although we may not have the influence to change how our school sees reflection, if we understand how reflection can impact not only on our teaching but that of our learners, we are more likely to see it as something we want to do.

No experience of doing it

Reflection like anything requires practice. Apart from yesterday, there is never a better time to start something new like today. Once we have started to reflect, with guidance, we are likely to do more and more of it.

No experience of teaching

Again, this is down to practise  not only practice of reflecting, but practice of teaching. The more teaching experiences we have, the more experiences we have to compare and contrast making links and seeing what works and what doesn’t.

Reflect

Do you agree with our ideas? What extra advice would you give to someone who doesn’t engage with reflection?

You can read more about overcoming barriers to reflection in this article: Reflective Practice Toolkit | Barriers to Reflection.