Enter most workout gyms, and you will see mirrors encasing the room. Upon initial evaluation, you may think they only serve vanity purposes, but mirrors also allow gym-goers to evaluate their form, make adjustments and improve their technique. If you lift and work out with the wrong posture, it defeats the purpose of your exercise and the time you invest in it.
Game tapes for sports teams promote the same evaluative opportunities. As a former basketball player, my game significantly improved when we were able to review not only scouting tapes of teams we were going to play but our own team film. Taking the time to review, note areas of improvement and analyze my tendencies allowed me to plan my training sessions and add additional drills that were more focused and attuned to my needs.
Blogging to Reflect
There are no mirrors or game tapes in our classrooms, so we must incorporate reflective opportunities into our workflow. This is why reflecting through blogging is such an invaluable practice. I know we are all short on time, but the moments of reflection you schedule into your weekly routine will increase your productivity in planning and designing for and with your students. This is well illustrated in a John Dewey quote, ” We don’t learn from experience. We learn from reflecting on experience.”
It is also essential that we are constantly gathering feedback from our learners. When I first started teaching, I made the mistake of only providing end of the year surveys. The information my students shared was extremely beneficial to me and my students that I would have the following year, but it did nothing for my current learners. Instead, I updated my practice so my students consistently had opportunities to share their view of the classroom and where we could grow together. This is something that can be easily done with the help of well constructed Google forms! Throughout the year if you frequently ask for feedback and input from your students, they can provide you with your own scouting reports that will help you improve, adjust, learn and grow together!
What type of feedback do you gather from your students? I would love to hear and see examples!