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How to Incorporate Positive, Minus, and Interesting Reflection into Your Teaching Routine

Updated: Mar 15


Hello EduMagicians,


This week, we have a guest post by a new friend I met on Instagram. This post is by Chloe Grantham, a fourth-year Preservice teacher from Charles Darwin University, Australia. She has been studying since 2012, mostly part-time, and is heading towards final placement. In her post, she shares the importance of reflection—no matter which stage of the teaching game you are in. 

Social media has been a positive influence in preparing me for my upcoming final placement. I have had the opportunity to network with preservice teachers and graduate teachers from all over the world, and it is impressive how we all have the same worries, nerves, excitement, and, most importantly, passion. We often find ourselves supporting and learning from each other through this passion. We adapt our practices by recommendation of others or take on board new systems as a trial and error to see if that works for your practice and your environment. 


Why Reflection?

One of the best practices I can recommend to preservice teachers at any stage of their careers is 'reflection.' 

Reflection allows us to ponder the day, the lessons planned and taught, our observations, and our entire experience. 

- Did it work? 

- Why did it work? 

- Oh wow, that was a disaster! How could I improve? 


I will reflect on my practice and see where I could improve. I often found myself writing pages and pages of reflection over one single 50-minute lesson, mostly about the negatives and what could have been better. I would never go into detail about the positives (I had a lot of positives in each lesson—as would anyone!), and I would never really think about the 'interesting' aspects. I would waste so much time typing up a massive reflection that no one would even read. 


During a practical experience in Malaysia, the Director of Education at Charles Darwin University introduced the PMI system. This is how she observed my lessons. It was simple and effective; now, all my lessons and daily reflections are similar. She wrote a few words and then verbally expanded on them. I loved it and adapted my reflective practices that day. 


Woman sitting at a desk reflecting
Reflection is key

PMI: Positive, Minus, & Interesting:

  It allows you to focus on one aspect at a time, with no need for too much detail, and it is an easy way to think, "Oh yeah ... that worked, I am going to try that again!" 


The freebie for this week is a PDF of a PMI template you can use during your next lesson reflection. Download it here. Try it out and see if it works for you. Pick the important parts of your lesson or day, and don't dwell on the little things. 


To show you, I will use an example from a lesson I taught in Malaysia on Indigenous Art. This is an insight into my reflection:


Example of PMI

Lesson: Year 6 Indigenous Art (Dot Painting) at Tenby International School, Penang, Malaysia.


Positive: 

  • Organized art supplies at the beginning of the lesson made the transition from introduction to practicing art easier

  • Students were highly engaged, and all participated

  • Students were able to create a story demonstrated through art (a part of the success criteria) 

Minus:

  • One student became frustrated with his abilities and became destructible. He decided to misbehave to be sent out of the room. The mentor teacher intervened because his behavior became uncontrollable and offensive to others. His behavior changed dramatically as he sought attention rather than getting in trouble.

Interesting:

  • Although this artwork is a foreign concept to Malaysian students, their interest in learning more was impressive. It became one of their favourite art topics that they had learned during this unit. 

  • The skill level was impressive for students who had never been introduced to indigenous art. See the pictures below. 


 You can connect with Chloe on Twitter @ChloeGrantham88 and Instagram @miss.g.88. She shares great ideas and strategies on both platforms. 


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