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Teach Reflect Develop: A month of reflective teaching activities

TEACH REFLECT DEVELOP

A MONTH OF REFLECTVE TEACHING ACTIVITIES

Written by Phil Wade & Anthony Gaughan

Copyright 2015 Phil Wade & Anthony Gaughan

Shakespir License Statement

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be sold. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

About the authors

 

 

Anthony Gaughan

 

I have been working as a teacher for 20 years, mostly in the UK and Germany. I am a Celta and Delta Module 2 tutor, as well as a Celta course Assessor and former coordinator of IATEFL TDSIG. I like to keep teaching simple, which is why I like Dogme. When not moonlighting on projects like this, I blog at teachertrainingunplugged.com .

 

Phil Wade

 

I have been in ELT for over 15 years and have taught, trained, coached and mentored learners. I have also been a Cert iBET teacher trainer, a Cambridge examiner and a materials and elearning creator. My current interests are related to maximising teaching efficiency in organisations. I blog about ELT ebooks at eltebooks.wordpress.com .

About the ebook

A lot of us finish our classes and commute back home, have a break, eat lunch or travel to another location to do another lesson. This ‘postlesson’ time is usually when the lesson is still fresh in our minds and we process it. We think about what we did, what went well, what didn’t go so well and maybe consider what could have been improved or what should be in the next one. These reflective activities help us make sense of what happened so we can develop as teachers.

 

This ebook contains 20 5-minute reflective ideas to help you process your last lesson or lessons. There are 20 so that you can do 1 every teaching day for a month. The 4 units focus on You (the teacher), Them (the students), the Lesson and finally the Content. You don’t have to stick to the suggested order. Keep to the schedule though, so that every teaching day you teach, reflect and develop.

 

In the last unit, there are a few deeper overview questions to help you process your month of teaching reflection and move forward.

Week 1: You

 

 

1) On a scale of 1 (failure) – 10 (success), rate how you taught the lesson.

 

-We judge things based on experience and standards which we learn from teacher training, peers and superiors but you need to establish your own standards that fit you.

 

2) If you had been observed by your CELTA/TEFL tutor, what would they have said about your teaching?

 

-Teachers develop and adapt but many still use the standards from their initial training as benchmarks. Acknowledge but update them for your situation now.

 

3) What was your personal development objective for the lesson?

 

-Not only do effective teachers have achievable lesson plan objectives but they also have ones for themselves. They might be trying something new or correcting a bad habit.

 

4) Finish the sentence in plain English: ‘my teaching style was..’

 

-This is a hard task if you are honest. Don’t just repeat buzz words; dig deep and describe your style, not your colleague’s or your tutors.

 

5) Who could have taught that lesson better than you, why and what would they have done differently?

 

-We can learn something from every teacher but we have to develop ourselves and not become carbon copies of our role models or just plod through stages in a process.

Week 2: Them

 

 

1) How did student relationships affect the lesson?

 

-Consider pair and group work, whole class activities and reflect on the general class atmosphere. Close friends can be as influential as those with conflicting personalities.

 

2) What percentage of what you taught was new to the students?

 

-Unless you teach children, your students will have encountered some/much of what you teach before. Taking this into consideration should help you become student-centred.

 

3) What is preventing each of your students from being at the next CEFR band level?

 

-Think hard and compare their level now and the next. Is it just a case of they don’t know enough, they can’t produce or are there errors pulling them down?

 

4) How engaged was each student in the lesson?

 

-Those moments when you and the students are ‘in the zone’ are often the most productive and stimulating. Figure out why it happened and why it stopped so you can recreate and improve it next time.

 

5) Who had a ‘eureka/break through’ moment?

 

-If someone did, analyse it and plan how to help the others achieve such clarity. If nobody did, figure out why. Did they this week? This month? Ever? Do they need to? Some students plod along slowly while others progress in leaps and bounds.

 

 

Week 3: The Lesson

 

 

1) Recall the lesson: where in the body do you sense it (e.g head, stomach, hands etc)?

 

-Though we are used to thinking of teaching and learning as going on “upstairs”, embodied cognition research suggests learning is distributed throughout the body.

 

2) Was there ever a sense of deja vu in the lesson? At what point?

 

-Experiencing the same thing over and over isn’t necessarily bad, but it’s worth noting so you can consider how you feel about it.

 

3) Put a soundtrack to the lesson: what is the song and genre?

 

-Unusual metaphors can connect you with hidden feelings and thoughts that you might not otherwise acknowledge.

 

4) Paint the lesson in your mind’s eye: what are the dominant colours?

 

-Colour can have a powerful impact on mood, so viewing lessons in this way may help you see how you feel about them in unexpected ways.

 

5) What are your learners thinking or saying about the lesson now?

 

-“Good” and “bad” are value judgements and therefore points of view. Shift yours by considering the huge area in between.

Week 3: The lesson

 

 

1) Recall the lesson: where in the body do you sense it (e.g head, stomach, hands etc)?

 

-Though we are used to thinking of teaching and learning as going on “upstairs”, embodied cognition research suggests learning is distributed throughout the body.

 

2) Was there ever a sense of deja vu in the lesson? At what point?

 

-Experiencing the same thing over and over isn’t necessarily bad, but it’s worth noting so you can consider how you feel about it.

 

3) Put a soundtrack to the lesson: what is the song and genre?

 

-Unusual metaphors can connect you with hidden feelings and thoughts that you might not otherwise acknowledge.

 

4) Paint the lesson in your mind’s eye: what are the dominant colours?

 

-Colour can have a powerful impact on mood, so viewing lessons in this way may help you see how you feel about them in unexpected ways.

 

5) What are your learners thinking or saying about the lesson now?

 

-“Good” and “bad” are value judgements and therefore points of view. Shift yours by considering the huge area in between.

 

Week 4: The content

 

 

1) What was the content of your lesson and why did you choose it?

 

-Were you just doing another book unit? Was it something students had requested or you believed they needed? What was your reasoning?

 

2) What percentage of what you taught was new to the students?

 

-Unless you teach children, your students will have encountered some of your content before. We need several exposures and uses of new language to remember and master it. How many do you feel your students have had and has it been enough for proficiency?

 

3) What did the students find most and least useful?

 

-Make sure you separate ‘like’ from ‘useful’. Games can be popular but have no real use in learners’ lives. Consider how the content relates to their student and future work lives.

 

4) How did you work with the content?

 

-Did you ‘deliver’, ‘teach’, ‘present’ or ‘work with’ it? Were you a ‘sage on the stage’ or a ‘guide on the side’?

 

5) If your students could plan the content of your next lesson, what do you think they’d include?

 

-Make sure to write this down and then ask them in the next lesson to compare. They won’t be the same but some negotiation could create more productive lessons in future.

 

Over to you

 

 

Now your month of reflection is over, ask yourself these questions:

 

1) What have I learned about myself, my students, my lessons and the content I delivered?

 

2) What trends can I deduce?

 

3) How can I use this information to move my teaching forward?

 

4) What major goals can I set for myself and how can I translate them into monthly and weekly goals?

 

5) Who and what can help me develop further?

 

6) How will I maintain the teach, reflect, develop cycle even when I’m very busy and stressed?

 

7) What is my motivation and how can I reward myself when I achieve something?

 

8) Is reflection in the lesson possible? If so, how can I do it?

 

9) How can I involve my students in this reflective process?

 

10) What obstacles can I predict and how will I tackle them?

 

There’s no reason to stop now, keep teaching, keep reflecting and keep developing!


Teach Reflect Develop: A month of reflective teaching activities

  • ISBN: 9781311725196
  • Author: Phil Wade
  • Published: 2015-12-29 08:20:08
  • Words: 1529
Teach Reflect Develop: A month of reflective teaching activities Teach Reflect Develop: A month of reflective teaching activities