I’m a reflective person by nature. Despite being outgoing, I am also an introvert and I gain my personal energy from time spent alone, thinking about things.
As a PST, we’re often reminded about how useful a tool reflections can be, allowing us to really see how we can improve and what our strengths already are. But if you’re the kind of person who thinks a lot about what you do before you even do it, how useful can further reflection really be? How can we use it in such a way that gives us real insight into our blind spots, instead of being a general process we already constantly go through?
Today’s tutorial went some way to answering these questions for me, insofar as we were given a model for reflecting known as the “5R Model”. Snappy name. Modified from the work of Bain, Ballantyne, Packer and Mills, it looks a little somethin’ like this:
I like this. I like it a lot, because I
need a life like criteria! Even more than that, I like criteria that I can check off with a satisfying “DONE”. But let’s unpack this a bit further:
- What can you see or hear happening? Write it down – write it all down!
- What modes of communication that represent learning can you see? It is language, gesture, moving around? This is particularly relevant to drama education, where we assess on performances.
- What do you think is happening? What is working well and what is not?
- How do you feel about the situation you’re reflecting on?
- What is it about the situation that makes you feel that way?
- How do the insights I have about this situation relate to my experiences, both personally and professionally?
- How do they relate to my knowledge and skills?
- What “lens” are you viewing this situation through? From a classroom management or co-operative learning perspective? Whether you need to up skill in terms of content knowledge?
- How are your actions influencing teaching – learning effectiveness?
- How do your actions relate to theory or research surrounding the issue? Are your strategies backed up by solid practice, or are you chopping and changing from different approaches?
- How does your perspective affect the way you’re understanding the situation? Would another point of view be helpful?
- What have you learned from this observation, and how will it influence your practice?
I’ve found that much of teacher training is theoretical and insufficiently specific. I don’t just want the theory around a lesson plan, I want to know how to write a lesson plan! What exactly are the steps? The same is true for reflecting on my professional practice, starting with my upcoming 7 week practicum. What are the exact steps I should or could follow to gain useful insights into my work?
This model is great as a starting point for recording how we feel at the time, but also for encouraging us to link our experiences into the broader professional context using research and by taking the time to see if your refection could be helped by connecting with colleagues or through a wider learning network.
I’ve modified a table you can use to help structure your reflections and uploaded it here (5R Model for Reflection) for you to download at leisure! It’s not my own work, but it is referenced and I have changed some elements around so they made a little more sense to me.
Hope it helps – If you’ve struggled with turning reflections into actions I’d love to hear how you get on with this method. Happy reflecting!