Similarly, educators must continually examine their practice. Educators have and continue to make adjustments, change routines, and make accommodations for students. As teaching and learning environment and strategies change students need to be instructed in a manner that represents what they will face in the workplace. Educators have access to the powerful tool of reflection, more importantly, self-reflection. We must examine our practice, reflect, and make adjustments. Reflecting without action doesn't improve teaching and learning. The power of reflection lies in the adjustments we make from lessons learned via reflection. The Danielson (2009) article states [reflection when done well] is characterized by an intentional competence that enables [educators] to identify and replicate best practices, refine serendipitous practice, and avoid inferior practice. When educators are plugged into their practice, they constantly examine whether or not students are engaged and whether or not students not only understand the concept but are also able to justify their understanding of said concept. This requires educators to examine lessons, examine what they said during the lesson, examine others who are experiencing high success, invite others to examine them.
Like the professional basketball player, the professional educator must cultivate the power of reflection to maintain optimal performance in the classroom. Therefore reflection must become a part of one's practice on a regular basis. Start with these simple steps to foster a reflective practice:
1. Have a defined Standard of excellence
- Be clear about what you want to improve.
- What would perfection look like?
- Don't assume because you thought the lesson went well that it did.
- Look at video or listen to audio of yourself.
- What would you change?
- What well?
- Use a specific tool that can quantify your work.
- Invite a colleague to look at your lesson or look at student work using a tool
4. Have an accountability partner
- An accountability partner is invited into your practice; you call the shots.
- Be honest about changes that need to be made.
- Bounce ideas off of each other.
Danielson, L. (2009). Fostering reflection . Alexandria, VA: ASCD.