Being a reflective practitioner
Plenary was an exciting word in the classroom...well, for teachers mostly. When we first started introducing it, the students were not interested to think back to the start of the lesson. I mean, it was only 40 minutes or so ago; they wondered why we needed to ask them what they'd learnt when we'd peppered them with questions already. When used well and done regularly, plenaries help slow our students down a bit; get them really thinking about their learning and understanding their metacognition.
Metacognition is essentially thinking about your own thinking. American psychologist, Flavell, suggested three components of metacognition.
1) Understanding of self - with self-knowledge (for example, a learner will know if studying with music or in a quiet setting suits them) 2) Understanding the task - having knowledge of the structure, level of difficulty and how to complete the task - the person would have better confidence in attempting it 3)Understanding the strategies - having the knowledge of different strategies to help learn new information or to be used in different tasks
With that in mind, reflection is not merely recalling the facts that have been taught during a lesson, but really about deeper thinking of how an individual learner has made the facts part of their mental databank. Obviously, well-phrased questions would help build reflective learners. Let's look at the 3-2-1 plenary
3 - things I've learnt - is at the lower level of learning objectives. Rev the thinking up by asking students how they've learnt these 3 things.
2 - things I'd like to know about - Get learners' noggins working by asking why they're interested in those 2 things.
1 - thing you'd like to change or do differently - The bow on the present is how would they do it and why it would be a better change
Also, how many of us as educators have actually sat down to reflect on our own teaching, make notes and then attempt change? More seasoned teachers would say it is in their heads. I challenge you to make some notes. Feel what it must be like for your students to articulate their thoughts into words.It's easier said than done. Understand that asking someone to be reflective is not a natural task; reflection strategies need to be learnt. Guide curious minds by formulating good, deep thinking questions.
End the year by taking the time to look back at your notes; don't depend on your memory alone. Good luck with your using the thinking toolkit below:
What had worked well? Why did it work?
What needs changing? How will I change it?
When do I bring change into my lesson and my classroom?
Who needs this change?
How will I measure the success of my changes?
How will I record my initiatives for change?
When will I review and reflect upon my initiatives?
Have a wonderful Christmas and see you in the new year.