Sunday, November 22, 2009

Peer Observation

A reflective approach to teaching involves changes in the way teachers perceive teaching and their role in the process of teaching. Teachers who explore their own teaching through critical reflection develop changes in attitudes and awareness which they believe can benefit their professional growth as teachers, as well as improve the kind of support they provide their students. Reflective analysis of teaching is a valuable tool for self-evaluation and professional growth. Reflective teaching suggests that experience alone is insufficient for professional growth, but that experience coupled with reflection can be a powerful impetus for teacher development. Here is an approach to critical reflection.

Peer observation can provide opportunities for teachers to view each other’s teaching in order to expose them to different teaching styles and to provide opportunities for critical reflection on their own teaching. The following guidelines can be followed.

1. Each participant would both observe and be observed

Teachers would work in pairs and take turns observing each other’s classes.

2. Pre-observation orientation session

Prior to each observation, the two teachers would meet to discuss the nature of the class to be observed, the kind of material being taught, the teachers’ approach to teaching, the kinds of students in the class, typical patterns of interaction and class participation, and any problems that might be expected. The teacher being observed would also assign the observer a goal for the observation and a task to accomplish.

The task would involve collecting information about some aspect of the lesson, but would not include any evaluation of the lesson. Observation procedures or instruments to be used would be agreed upon during this session and a schedule for the observations arranged.

3. The observation

The observer would then visit his or her partner’s class and complete the observation using the procedures that both partners had agreed on.

4. Post-observation

The two teachers would meet as soon as possible after the lesson. The observer would report on the information that had been collected and discuss it with the teacher

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Reflective Teaching

Reflective TeachingTeaching requires a lot of researches, creativity, perseverance, teaching philosophies, reflection and so forth. There are still a lot of improvements needed to become an extraordinary teacher. Hence reflective teaching should be practiced by teachers to evaluate and analyze the teaching skill to achieve higher effectiveness. Pennington (1992) describes reflective teaching as “a movement in teacher education in which … teachers analyze their own practice and their underlying basis and then consider alternative means of achieving their ends. Applied to the context of teaching, reflection can be interpreted in terms of mirroring, symbolizing or representing, as well as in terms of thoughtful consideration.

How can I begin reflection?

There are three primary reflection spaces that you need to know in practicing reflective teaching. The spaces are general reflections on education, classroom reflections and self-assessment reflections. There is no one way in which a teacher should explore her own classroom practices in order to self-observe and self-evaluate. But it is important to begin by collecting information about what happens in the classroom.

What can I do next?

Having obtained information about what goes on in your lessons, the next step would be to think and analyze the information:
• What were your goals [for a particular lesson]?
• How did you intend to achieve those goals?
• What actually happened?
• How do you feel about this?
• What could you do/have done differently?

Reflective practice helps teachers to have a deeper understanding of their own teaching style, teaching philosophies and teaching identities. In addition, you will improvise your way of teaching and will also be looking forward to make it more interesting in the future. Moreover, teaching becomes connective when you practice reflective teaching. As you become sensitive with yourself and your class environment, you are not only making a connection between the outcomes for the students but also the outcome for yourselves.