” O, happy the soul that saw its own faults. ” – Mevlana Rumi Quotes from Rumi Daylight.
Systematic self-reflection by teachers at the end of each school year is a vitally important part of their ongoing professional development. It is self-managed and if it is approached in an honest and open-minded way it will lead to definite improvement in teaching and learning. It allows teachers to hone and fine-tune their craft by consolidating what works and improving or eliminating what does not work in their teaching. It gives teachers a chance to start over afresh at the beginning of each new school year. Note, however, that teachers can engage in meaningful self-reflection at any time of the school year in order to improve the teaching and learning experience. A thorough analysis of what worked, what failed, and why,in both cases, conduces to future success.
There are two keys to productive teacher self-reflection; namely, a list of effective questions which form the framework of the reflection, and the implementation of pedagogical changes after the reflection. These changes drive the desired improvement in teacher performance. Here is a list of typical questions for teacher self-reflection:
- How do I rate my teaching during this past year?
- Did I achieve my stated goals this year? Why? or why not?
- Did I complete the required syllabuses? Why/why not?
- In which areas was I most successful? Why?
- What was my biggest improvement? Why?
- Where did I fail? Why?
- How can I improve grades among my weaker students?
- Am I catering to the different learning styles of my students?
- Do I need to improve or update my knowledge or skills in any area of the curriculum?
- How can I improve my teaching, and student learning in my classroom?
- Is my classroom management good enough?
- How do I get parents to become more engaged in their children’s schooling?
- What did students find most difficult? Why?
- what was my biggest source of frustration? How can I change that?
- How can I decrease my stress levels while providing high quality teaching?
- What is the most important thing I learned about teaching this year?
What other questions would you add to this list?
Teachers must always set goals which foster improvements in teaching and learning. They should not teach the same unchanged lessons year after year without any self-reflection at year end or attention to varying student needs. They should seek to produce constantly improving and evolving versions of their lessons from year to year.