Sunday, April 8, 2018

The Most Useful Reflection Technique

If you are like so many teachers, reflecting on your own performance seems to come naturally. A  stickie note reminder on a lesson plan, a scribbled note in a margin, or even making an entry in a formal reflection journal are just some of the ways teachers can think about and review their days. Too often, though, especially after a tough day those reflections tend to center around what went wrong.

It's only natural that this should happen. After all, negative events tend to have a stronger emotional impact on us than positive ones. We seldom replay the positive things that happen in class on the way home from school, for example. Instead, we focus on the problems and challenges that we encounter during the school day. It's all too easy to obsess about what went wrong, the irritating things that happened in class, and our subsequent stress.

As helpful as reflecting on what went wrong in class may be, thinking about what went right is even more powerful. Instead of focusing entirely on the "Maybe I should haves" a more productive way to reflect about your performance is to think about what you did well and how you can repeat that success. Here are some questions that can guide your thinking along a more positive path so that you can use your strengths and successes to build a better classroom.

1. When was I flexible enough to notice that something was not working and change it? What was the positive outcome of this action?

2. What worked in today's lesson? How can I use this in the future?

3. When were my students most engaged? What did I do to create that engagement?

4. How did I help students make connections to the material they were studying?

5. What classroom management problem did I handle better today?

6. Which students seemed to have a good day? How can I help them continue this success in the future?

7. What am I most grateful for today?

8. What progress did I make today in becoming the teacher I want to be?

9. How did I help students interact well with each other?

10. What did I do today that I can be proud of?

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