Reflection Elements & Tools for Teachers

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  • 0:03 Reflective Practices
  • 0:45 Reflective Journaling
  • 1:41 Incident Analysis
  • 2:34 Peer-Reflection Models
  • 4:03 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

In this lesson, we'll identify and analyze various methods for using reflection as a professional development tool for teachers, including reflective journaling, incident analysis, peer observation, and critical friends groups.

Reflective Practices

As teachers dedicate themselves to becoming life-long learners, one of the ways they can improve their practice is through the use of reflective practices. Reflective journaling, incident analysis, self-assessment, and critical friends groups are methods for examining what happens in a teacher's own classroom to develop plans for growth. Reflection is the intentional consideration of professional practices as part of one's own professional development. Using reflective practices enables teachers to connect what is happening in the classroom to research, while incorporating their own emotions, reactions, and responses. Let's examine some ways that teachers use reflection as a professional development tool.

Reflective Journaling

Reflective journals are one way to engage in reflective practice. Reflective journals are formal or informal written records of learning experiences that are used by teachers as a metacognitive tool for improving practice. Metacognition is putting intentional thought into the learning process. Reflective journals may contain reflections about lesson delivery, student achievement, classroom management, content questions, or notes about remediating or enriching the curriculum for specific students. Reflective journaling can take time, but it has been proven to be an effective professional practice. Journal entries may be comprised of observations, questions, conjecture, evaluations, or analysis.

Use the following steps to create your own reflective journal:

  • Write down what happened
  • Consider your reactions, feelings, and thoughts about the lesson or event
  • Scrutinize
  • Draw conclusions
  • Develop a plan of action

Incident Analysis

Things happen. As teachers, we proactively work to try to make most experiences positive, but sometimes, that is not the case. Students, parents, or colleagues may get injured, become angry, or fail to progress. When that happens, incident analysis may be used to prevent it from happening again. Incident analysis is the formal review of an event to analyze why it happened and prevent a similar event from taking place in the future.

The steps for incident analysis are the same as reflective journaling. The only difference that is part of incident analysis is the intent. The intent is the prevention of a negative incident from occurring again. During the analysis, the teacher needs to be prepared to challenge conventions as well as their own thinking patterns. Incident analysis promotes self-awareness both personally and professionally as educators begin to understand their patterns of behavior.

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