This week we have a guest post by a new friend I met on Instagram. This post is by Chloe Grantham a fourth year Pre-Service teacher from Charles Darwin University, Australia. She has been studying since 2012 mostly part time and is heading towards final placement. She shares in her post the importance of reflection - no matter which stage of the teaching game you are in.
Social media has been a positive influence on preparing myself for my upcoming final placement. I have had the opportunity to network with pre-service 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. Through this passion we often find ourselves supporting and learning from each other. We adapt our own 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.
One of the best practices I can pass on and advise to preservice teachers who are at any stage of their career is 'reflection'.
Reflection allows us to ponder over 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 on a typing up a massive reflection that no one would even read.
During a practical experience in Malaysia the Director of Education of Charles Darwin University introduced the PMI system. This is how she observed my lessons. It was simple and effective and now all my lesson and daily reflections are similar. She wrote a few words then verbally expanded on it. I loved it and adapted my reflective practices that day.
PMI: Positive, Minus & Interesting: It allows you to focus on one aspect at a time, 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 that you can use during your next lesson reflection. Download it here. I encourage you to try it out. See if it works for you. Pick out the important parts of your lesson or day and don't dwell on the little things.
To show you, I will use an example during a lesson I taught in Malaysia on Indigenous Art. This is an insight to my reflection:
Lesson: Year 6 Indigenous Art (Dot Painting) at Tenby International School, Penang, Malaysia.
Organised art supplies at beginning of the lesson, made transition from introduction to practicing art easier
Students were highly engaged, all participated
Students were able to create a story demonstrated through art (apart of success criteria)
One student became frustrated with his own abilities and became destructible. He decided to misbehave in order to be sent out of the room, the mentor teacher intervened because his behaviour became uncontrollable and offensive to others. His behaviour changed dramatically as he was seeking attention rather than getting in trouble.
This artwork is a foreign concept to Malaysian students, yet, their interest to learn more was impressive. It became one of their favourite art topics that they had learnt during this unit.
The skill level was highly impressive for students who have never been introduced to indigenous art. See the pictures below.
You can connect with Chloe on Twitter: @ChloeGrantham88 and on Instagram: @miss.g.88. She has great ideas and strategies being shared on both platforms.