Wednesday / May 29

Reflective Practice: An Educator’s Pathway to Learn From and Continuously Improve Teaching Practice

Reflective practice creates a rich opportunity to both plan for and also learn from experience, as teachers, teacher leaders, administrators and anyone who engages the hearts and minds of young people in schools. Reflecting forward to next teaching and learning opportunities, creates a thought space for practitioners to mindfully craft specific language and resources that support learners to engage with new content. And, equally important, for learners to describe for themselves both what they learned, what helped them to learn, and to identify strategies they might use to learn new things in a variety of content areas.

For practitioners, mindful presence during teaching enriches opportunities to mine the tacit learning that emerges from teacher-student interactions. Questions that can support reflecting back on practice might include:

  • What were some things I noticed about how students were talking to engage around the content?
  • To what extent were all students engaged in conversation?
  • What strategies did they use to learn with and from one another?
  • What were some prompts I used to elicit successful student listening, reflection and talk?
  • Given my noticings, what might be some nuanced adjustments, scaffolds and modeling I can offer to support even more equitable and successful student talk?
  • Overall, what are my impressions about how successfully our students are learning to learn, as well as learning significant content?

Responses to the questions above not only inform ways to craft future learning prompts for students, but can also be used to inform adjustments in reflective practice protocols that are used among teachers and administrators. Regardless of age, reflecting on one’s practice, with others, as well as on our own, holds the potential to reinforce a more mindful thinking space from which new, often subtle, shifts in practice emerge. Sharing such insights with colleagues plants a seed from which trust and collaborative learning grow. Remember, we are not supposed to be alone in the life-changing work of growing our next generation of grown-ups who will lead the world?

Expertise grows from understanding the varied ways in which students respond to instruction and ongoing, nuanced adjustments that increase student engagement, success, and insight that sparks a growing sense of both competence and significance in their world. This, of course, also bolsters the sense of both competence and significance within their teachers.

“Adults do not learn from experience,

they learn from processing experience”

~ Judi Arin-Krupp

Reflective Practice for Renewing Schools ~ What’s new in the 3rd edition?

  • Many new, robust examples of reflective practice in action in schools
  • New figures, tables and examples in the text that are also easily down-loaded from the Corwin web-site to ease the pathway for immediate use with colleagues.

Written by

Jennifer York-Barr received her PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her development, research and teaching has been grounded in partnerships with schools and school districts. Her early worked focused most specifically on creating classroom communities in which students with various exceptionalities were included. That work grew into a broader focus on growing school communities grounded in conversations that support ongoing reflective practice and learning. She has been honored with several college and university level teaching awards and has authored or co-authored more than 100 publications most of which are focused on instructional collaboration, inclusive schooling, teacher leadership and professional learning. Gail Ghere received her PhD from University of Minnesota in educational policy and program evaluation. She has a Masters degree in Special Education with practice experience as a related service provider. Over her career, she worked in Pre K-12 education in rural, suburban, and urban school districts. She also has served as a program evaluator for K-12 education, higher education, and private foundations. She is the co-author of several publications on collaboration, program evaluation, and paraprofessional development. Her belief in equitable outcomes and inclusive learning opportunities for students has guided her work throughout her career whether she was working directly with students, supporting adult learning or developing programs that met the needs of diverse learners. They are co-authors of Reflective Practice for Renewing Schools.

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