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Self Evaluation through reflection

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Thus reflective teaching is a cyclic process because once you start implementing changes then the reflection and evaluation cycle begins again. You will realize that it is through your reflections that you will be able to solve most of your problems and ease you anxieties about teaching; the resultant quality graph will rise higher and higher. This whole process functions both ways as a mechanism for identifying the weaknesses and the  strengths, and this is what professional development is all about.

By this time you may already have ideas for changes to implement as a result of your reflection. You may also talk to a supportive colleague or a friend who can come up with some innovative ideas for how to do things differently, the next time you go into the lecture hall. How to make your lecture more interesting by adding activities that will enable the students to participate actively. You may decide that you need to see  more about a certain areas of the field. There are plenty of websites for teachers where they can find useful teaching methodologies and academic articles. There are also magazines and journals having articles on a wide range of topics pertaining to teaching.  On the other hand, it is quite possible that after reflecting  you may just decide  what you are doing is the best way and for the time being no changes are required.Once you have gathered all this information you may notice patterns occurring in your teaching through your observation. You may notice things that you were previously unaware of. You might see in the video that unknowingly you are fidgeting with the marker that is in your hand or your colleague might tell you are concentrating only on one particular student or you may be surprised by your student’s feedback.

You can also ask your students what they think about that which goes on in the classroom. Their opinion and feedback can add valuable perspective. This can be done by asking them to fill a simple questionnaire.

Video or audio recording of your lecture can also provide very useful information for reflection. Videos can be helpful in showing  aspects of your own behavior; where do you stand?, whom do you speak to?, what are your gestures? Or what is your body language? You may do things in the class you are not aware of or there may be things happening in the class that as a teacher you do not normally see. Audio recordings can be helpful for considering aspects like voice quality, are the words clear and audible?, how much do you talk?, how much time to you allocate to student talk?

On the contrary, peer observation can also be utilized for this purpose. Invite a colleague to come in to your class to collect information about your lecture. This may be with simple observation task or note taking.  It is important for your colleague to be honest in his note taking. This will relate back to the area you have identified to reflect upon, for example  you might ask your colleague to focus on which students concentrate most in the lesson, which different patterns of interactions occur or how you deal with errors.

Writing, in itself, can be a healing process. It can also promote change. However, there might be little change in practice unless we reflect on our experiences and try to make sense of them from a distance. Therefore, It is important that you set aside time to reflect quietly on what you have written. This means scheduling and protecting the time scheduled. This is often difficult to do, especially for us teachers who are busy at institute and often have a number of after-job commitments. It may be a good idea to write during the week and set aside a time on the weekend to reflect and note down learning as a result of the reflection.  Find a quiet, cosy corner in your room, have a mug of tea or coffee in your hand, lean back and reflect. You will wonder why you have not protected some ‘reflection time’ for yourself before!

We tend to remember experiences selectively and the closer in time to the occurrence, the less likely we are to omit or change important details to fit how we might want to remember them. You may also like to write before something occurs. Perhaps you may want to organize your classroom for some activity. Find a quiet time to write in your diary at the end of each day. If you cannot find time to do so, try to do it at least once a week.
One important aspect of reflective diary is making time to write it. When writing after the experience occurs, the sooner the
You may choose a sturdy notebook for your reflective portfolio. The advantage of this is that all of your writings will gather in one place. It will also discourage you from tearing pages apart that at the times seem better thrown out, but later might facilitate understanding.
Making teacher’s portfolios or diaries: It is a chronicle of events, thoughts and feelings as they occur. It is the easiest way and since it, purely personal, is being increasingly used to stimulate teachers’ reflections. After each lesson you may write down about had what had happened. You may also describe your reactions and feelings and those which you have observed on the part of your students. They are recorded with an intention to understand the events and learn from them.
To begin with, the process of reflection, in response to a particular problem that has arisen with one of your classes or simply as a way of finding out more about your teaching, you may decide to focus on a particular class of students or to look at a feature of your teaching, for example. how to deal with the incidents of misbehavior or how you can encourage your students to speak more in the class.  The first step is to gather information and record each and every detail of what happens in your lecture hall from start to finish. There are several different ways of doing it.

Many teachers might have already thought about their teaching wondering “ am I average, above or below average?”, talked to their colleagues about it too, sharing with them that “ my lesson went well “  or “ my students didn’t seem to understand my lecture” or “ most of the students were sleeping in my class today” . However, without more time spent focusing on or discussing what actually the reason was, they  may tend to jump to conclusions about why things are happening; they may only notice reactions of the louder students; “I think students are least interested in studies these days,” “all night they are chatting on internet that is why they are seen sleeping during my lecture.”  Reflective teaching refrains us from being judgmental and implies a more systematic process of collecting, recording and analyzing our thoughts or observations as well as those from our students and then going on to make changes. If a lesson went well we can describe it and think about it what made it successful. If the students were sleeping in the class, we need to think about what different we should be doing?. How can we make the lecture more interesting to keep the students engaged and awake?

Thus, in these challenging times when it is critical to provide support and guidance for faculty in order to facilitate career development, one potentially effective means is to promote reflective teaching; exploring our own classroom practice. Reflective teaching is a process of self-observation and self-evaluation by collecting information about what goes on in our classroom.  By analyzing this, we identify and explore our own practices and the underlying beliefs. This would lead to changes and improvements in our teaching. Reflective teaching is therefore a means to professional development which begins in our classroom.
In many aspects, this conceptualization is comparable to definition of self exploration put forth by many psychologists as a metacognitive process occurring before, during and after a situation with the purpose of developing greater understanding of both the self and the situation, so that future encounters with the situation are informed from previous encounters. Thus self-reflection enables the (One) teacher to assess one’s own abilities, reflecting upon one’s weaknesses and one’s strengths, whereby, judging whether the learner’s identified standards are met.

Stand in front of a mirror and look at your own reflection. Do you like what you see? Or could it be improved by some makeup , a shave , a new hair cut, new clothes or perhaps by reducing some inches?. By looking at your reflection you are actually concentrating on the real you, thinking of how you can modify yourself so that, next time, when you face the mirror, you find a better you. This is the concept of self- reflection.
SELF- ASSESSMENT by virtue of SELF- REFLECTION as a vital aspect of professional self-regulation.

Self- reflection signifies the basic concept of reflection (meaning- turn back or bend).
Of the various ways of faculty grooming, many researchers and educators have identified.
The traditional method of teacher-centered learning is no longer acceptable wherein the students are made to sit in the classrooms, given lectures, and made recipient of pre-packaged knowledge and then finally judged on the basis of their performance in the exams. Thus if the standard of medical education is to be raised in our country, professionalism must be taught explicitly and evaluated effectively. However, many faculty members, particularly those who are new in this field do not possess the requisite knowledge and skills to teach this content area and for this reason faculty development is the basic need for the success of any educational institution.

The recent mushrooming of a number of medical and dental colleges in Pakistan and the resulting emphasis on the teaching and evaluation of professionalism for medical and dental students has placed significant demands on the professional and educational institutions.

March 3, 2013

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