Personally, I find taking constructive criticism somewhat difficult. Throughout my high school years, I would tend to have the mindset to ‘give up’ if the slightest thing was wrong – a list of corrections in an essay, a failed test. The list can go on and on. It would put me off that particular area of learning, making me think I wasn’t good enough to pass or meet the grades expected of me. For the subjects I enjoyed – such as English, Music and History – those slight mistakes maybe mattered too much. The crosses on the page made me dread to even look, although they were easily fixed. For subjects I didn’t particularly like, I saw the mistakes as just me not understanding the question or the topic. Those did not bother me as much somehow. Maybe, because I realised, I wasn’t the best in that particular subject and my score wouldn’t improve drastically. However, I knew how important it was to persevere and try my best, and improve these scores – even if was only by 1%. Being reflective and asking myself ‘what can I do to better my grade? Even by a couple of marks!’, allowed me to realise that the grade was on the paper was a learning curve. It can be worked on if you can reflect on what went well and what didn’t.
I have learned throughout the Values module from last term, that it is completely normal to make mistakes. Most mistakes you can fix, you can improve on. It was made clear that this can only be done by reflecting on what had maybe gone wrong with your work. It is a human trait to make wrong decisions sometimes, and it makes us into the person we are today. But we cannot fix these mistakes without reflecting on them and asking ourselves ‘what can I do to improve this?’.
Being able to be receptive to constructive criticism and learn from it is an essential trait to have when working in the classroom. Every day is different, and this may mean that lessons do not go the way you had specifically planned them out to go – and it is important to accept that. Teaching means you are constantly developing different strategies on how to tackle certain behaviours and mishaps in the classroom. You are continuously learning about what works and what does not. By being reflective and understanding what did not go so well on that one particular day, when the moon was full and the children were noisy, we can always improve our practice and explore different strategies to enhance our methods in teaching.
I am nervous for those days that may occur when I am on placement. The truth is though, you cannot hide from these days. They will come and they may be a kick in the teeth, but it is all about learning from the errors that have happened in that lesson. I am going to accept any feedback that comes my way because I know this will help me improve for the next lesson I will take. I will reflect on what went well and what I can use again and again in the classroom. I will ask myself ‘is there any way to improve this, to take the children to the next step of learning?’. I will be able to consider different strategies if one did not go so well, and ask myself ‘why?’.
Reflection is a vital part of education – bettering your own learning, and improving your own practice will have a massive impact on the children’s education in the class.