Activity #2

Do you have any personal reflection strategies?  If so, what are they? (For example, reflecting on these three questions after each teaching/training session:  what worked, what didn’t, and whether or not you achieved your goals).


25 Responses to Activity #2

  1. Pingback: Activity #2 and #3 | Reflecting with every CLIC

  2. For my classes, I start by documenting the learning goals that I have for that session. We (librarians teaching legal research) design research exercises intended to achieve those goals. After the class, I try to add notes for myself about what worked and what needs improvement for next time. When I go to teach the class again, a year later, having those notes helps me to tweak the exercises to better achieve the learning goals.

  3. Angi Faiks says:

    I think that I reflect on most things most of the time (I realize that it is not always good to do too much of this, but overall it can help one continually evolve). This strategy works well for me most of the time. I am less disciplined at asking the same questions consistently and recording the answers. I think that I will try a more disciplined approach when teaching, especially as I try new things.

  4. Ginny Heinrich says:

    Generally, I approach reflection regarding teaching in two ways: a more formal approach using participant feedback of varying types (evaluations, course work, etc.) and a more informal iterative approach using personal evaluation of performance and continual tweaking of content and delivery mechanisms. That sounds pretty fancy, but what that boils down to is that I think about how an individual session or content unit is going and what I can do to improve it more or less all the time (not unlike Angi), and I also use participant-generated material to add to that feedback loop. If a student turns in an assignment and it is apparent that he or she did not clearly understand the expectations, that’s an opportunity to reflect on how I might improve my instruction in some way. 🙂

  5. Laura Secord says:

    After I complete an instruction session I make notes on my outline about what worked or didn’t, timing (which sections took longer than I expected and how long each part of the session actually lasted), where to find particular resources so I don’t have to hunt for them again, and questions or resources the faculty member or students raised or wanted covered in the session.

  6. Lyndi Finifrock says:

    I currently don’t do much reflecting after an instruction session (besides thinking “I’m glad that’s over!”). Reading this book is helping me see the importance of it.

  7. Rhonda Gilbraith says:

    I over-ruminate, but this book is helping me see the value of a more controlled and consistent approach to self-evaluation. I love the idea of answering her 3 questions and later having those thoughts to build on when I revisit and revise.

  8. Carole Cragg says:

    I think I’m really conscious of the affective signals I’m getting during class, but fail to note them in a way that I can retrieve for later use. After reading this book, I’m really challenged to do the reflecting and writing more immediately after the class instead of dropping my folder of notes, etc., running off to the next thing, then trying to remember when I prepare for the next class.

  9. Karen Dubay says:

    I don’t have too much trouble reviewing the session and maybe taking a few notes on what I want to change if I do this type of session again, but my dismay is not knowing if they truly got anything out of the session. I can reflect all I want but without evaluation from the students/learners how do I know if I reach my goals? A quiet group might really be following along and benefiting from the session or might be too polite to tell me that I’m going too fast and they are lost! I guess I need to reflect on how I can engage them with the right questions to get the feedback I need to make me a better teacher.

  10. Nancy Olson, Circulation Co-Supervisor, Bethel University Library says:

    I do not have extensive experience in teaching, however when I do teach, I key into how the class participants responses via facial expressions, body language, and not just what they say, but how they sound. Does their voice sound bored, uninterested or does it sound engaged. To some extent I rely on comments made by participants. After the class session, I go over in my mind and on paper analyzing what worked, what didn’t, what I could have done better or differently, etc.

  11. Kent Gerber says:

    I am usually my worst critic and always have a mental list of what I could have done differently after each session. Char’s goal of not wanting her audience to ever be bored is one that I share. I am very sensitive to the responses of students I teach or people that I present to but would like to be more focused on what they have learned in addition to how engaged they were. Char’s systematic method will be helpful and will make my reflections more productive and consistent.

  12. Geruth Buetow, Concordia Reference & Instruction
    I usually just do an informal review of the instruction session:
    – basics – timing, whether the participants were really engaged participants
    – review whether my information was adequate to the need – was it simple enough to understand quickly but also have quality of information; was the session enjoyable & could put the students at ease since they would have had some success with the short activities I had planned
    – I don’t do this consistently – that is – checking back with the professor to see whether he/she thought the instruction was appropriate and if the students incorporated good research resources in their projects
    – review the notes I made on the handouts or course outlines to see what I could have spent more time on, eliminated, or changed the focus.

  13. Michael Mitchell says:

    I benefit from sharing an office with colleagues. After having taught a class, I often have an opportunity to share an insight, challenge, or funny story with my office-mates. It has been a great, informal way to reflect on my instruction and get quick feedback from others, too!

  14. Like some others, I often leave a teaching opportunity with a lengthy mental list of things I would like to have done better or differently. The book and this process are good reminders that the internal assessment should be documented, be consistent, and include a balance of what worked / what needs improvement.

  15. Earleen Warner says:

    I tend to begin reflecting almost before the session is over! I am constantly thinking about how to make the time more engaging while still covering the content that the learners need to complete their research assignments. I only teach our adult learners, so it helps that I can focus on this age group alone. However, just because a class is made up of all adults does not mean that they are all the same in what they already know, in how technological savvy they are, in how motivated they are to learn the material, etc. I can teach the same material to three different groups three nights in a row and come away with different reflections from each session. It is confusing when something works for one group but not as well for another. I’m looking forward to finishing the book and attending the workshop so that I will have the tools I need to help me get better at this!

  16. My favorite evauilation tool is the simple, open-ended questions proposed ;by Stephen Brookfield.
    Even though he writes them in the context of Adult Education, I find they work well with traditional students as well. My challenge is to consistently do it when it seems I am always running out of time. I also need to have more post-session with the professor. I believe I do neglect that prortion of the feedback loop.
    I also find it is easier to “read” the students when teaching face-to-face. I enjoy the online teaching, but I find it a challenge to read the students – there is no body language – and the questions usually come so fast and furiously, that there is barely time to get them all answered in the always-too-short session.

  17. Valerie Aggerbeck says:

    I am still relatively new to the profession (4 years) so I feel like I am constantly reflecting on my teaching and trying to find ways to improve it. At St. Thomas, we conduct both informal and formal evaluations that help with personal reflection. I ask students for feedback during the semester – Do they have any questions about what we are covering? Were particular questions in an assignment unclear? I use this feedback to tailor better/clearer assignments the next time around and improve PowerPoints and other materials if possible. The students also complete formal evaluations at the end of the semester. While the feedback is often helpful, it is also sometimes distressing. Some people may have enjoyed your class – others may not. I find it very difficult to appeal to all the different types of learners at the same time.
    I also keep track of questions that come up during class and what the answer is (or where to locate the answer) so I have the information if/when the question comes up in another class.
    Finally, my colleagues and I discuss class content/assignments/etc regularly – listening to them is a great way to reflect on my own teaching and how I can improve it/try something different/etc.

  18. Kristofer Scheid (Hamline)

    After 10 plus years of teaching, my teaching style has definitely evolved. How it got from point A to point B is a kind of a tough question. A lot of it is just minor reflection after a class where something clicked or something just didn’t go quite as planned….or in the summer, thinking that I need to cut things down, or I need better examples, etc…

    I primarily work with our Graduate Education students…Teachers. I generally benefit from not only the students, but the faculty as well. I do have a basic assessment form, asking how the session went, their confidence, how was the pace, and a few open ended questions. However, after several years of using it and seeing trends appear (almost all good in the student’s eyes), I stopped using it on a regular basis. It became rather predictable. So, I know I have to adjust that assessment form, maybe adding something that could look at outcomes.

  19. Will Keillor says:

    I spend significant time reflecting on each session I do. This reflection is informal for the most part, which can have the drawback of being essentially a reflection on which activities make me feel the best, the least awkward, etc. My positive feelings have to do with the energy in the room, and the response of the students. Thinking about this is less helpful than a more structured evaluation, since two classrooms could receive the same presentation and have different energy levels.

    On the other hand, I have noticed that the most productive reflection is often the flash reflection which occurs when I am teaching the same session back to back or at least in the same week. I wonder why this is–I don’t have any time to change my content dramatically, or add activities or shuffle the order of things. I can’t actually make any major changes. The changes are all to do with understanding the relationship between myself and the people in the room, and how fostering this in a particular way can vastly improve engagement and, I believe though haven’t tested, learning.

  20. Ellie Collier, Reference & Instruction Librarian, Normandale Community College says:

    I have a minute paper that I ask students (and the teacher) fill out online at the end of each session which I typically review as soon as I get back to my desk. I’ve been on and off with setting aside more scheduled and structured time for reflection. I kept a teaching journal for a while, but currently just jot quick notes. Like some others have mentioned, I also discuss successes and failures with my colleagues.

  21. Johan Oberg says:

    I think about an instruction session after it is done – I am probably my own worst critic. If there was an element that I felt didn’t go well, I find my balance again by picking it apart and thinking about how I can do it differently next time. I also find that talking to colleagues helps with reflecting. Someone mentioned in a previous post the importance of energy and responsiveness in the classroom – these aspects are important to me because I believe that Interest and Curiousity are at the heart of learning – and I spend a good amount of time thinking about how to keep these up, how to find the right pace, encouraging questions, not being boring, pausing on concepts the terms no one knows, not pausing on concepts that everyone knows (boring), and knowing the difference.

  22. jmorf says:

    I try to make observations during a session–are the students paying attention; was there a point where the room got brighter because light-bulbs went off over their heads, questions they asked either because they needed clarification or they wanted me to cover a topic more in-depth. I also depend on feedback from the faculty members. Before I start teaching the next class, I try to discuss with the faculty members about what worked and what didn’t, especially since they were able to identify how well the students completed assignments the previous time.

  23. Shelly Grace says:

    Recently I’ve been reflecting on the logic/illogic of what works for me and what doesn’t. I used to make notes on what I wanted to cover and examples I wanted to use. I assumed demonstrating everything live in class was the best way, but it turns out talking and demonstrating and reading my notes at the same time isn’t as conducive to good instruction as I thought. So I started preparing power points and find the time I gain by not being involved with the software I can use as time to focus more on the students.

  24. Leslie Mollner says:

    I do find myself reflecting during and after I help someone with their research, teach a class, or train a student worker, etc. but I don’t really follow any specific or organized reflection plan or path – I go with the informal approach, I guess. Sometimes I forget about the years of teaching experience I have and get into a kind of panic over what is happening, or what has happened, during an instruction interaction. I find that when this happens, I am overly critical of myself and I tend to forget about the things that went well during or after the particular interaction.

    I appreciate having the chance to read Char’s book especially because I have liked learning more about the importance of reflection in the instruction process. Generally speaking, I find the USER method to be understandable and applicable to instruction issues I believe are important. Narrowing in on the content from the book that deals with the reflection process, I’m finding it makes sense to examine instruction interactions over time and to look at both the “good” and “bad” parts of the interactions to determine areas for improvement. It is also nice to be surrounded by many great colleagues who can help me learn even more about effective reflection strategies.

  25. Amy Mars says:

    I don’t have any formalized reflection strategies. I have a tendency to focus on the stuff that didn’t seem to go right immediately following a presentation…If I have practiced I am also aware of what things went according to plan and what things didn’t. For school presentations/teaching I’ve have to write reflection papers, which is somewhat helpful but often too long after the fact. I like the idea of thinking of the top three things that went wrong, right, and could be improved/tweaked. For one teaching assignment I made a survey monkey, which was super helpful because it was annonymous and enabled me to get a more honest assessment from my peers about my group’s teaching effectiveness.

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