The SPR section 3.4.2 indicates the importance of and ways in which reflection can play a key part in the development of the prospective teacher. Reflect in one of the most important moments for your professional development in semester 1 and write a post about what you think you have learned from this critical incident and what the process of reflection is beginning to mean for you.
For me personally, throughout secondary (and to a certain extent primary school also), reflection has never really been a large focus and driving point in my education. My prime example of this would be exam/test/coursework feedback S1-S6-but the junior years especially. Like most children, we were assessed in the standard ‘high school’ way; we would learn a module or topic, on the last week of term sit a test and get the results back a couple days later. The problem here was that we never went back to the topic to cover what went wrong or what we didn’t understand and so we didn’t get time to reflect upon our weaknesses and work towards correcting them. As a year we simply took our mark as a way of dividing ourselves into those who were ‘smart’ and those who ‘weren’t’ and moved on.
I vividly remember in Higher Biology studying for a class test and the night before the test really not understanding a concept at all. I didn’t want to ask for help because I was worried I would get into trouble for not asking for help earlier and so I decided to do what so many of us are guilty for: I just left it. Luckily (or maybe not so) for me, that particular topic didn’t come up in the test and generally I did well and so I completely forgot the issue existed… until the actual exam! My nemesis of a topic reappeared and I was clueless and mentally kicking myself in the exam hall for not going over my mistake and lack of understanding. Yet again however, after sleepless nights of worry I managed to pass the exam and so the whole process of forgetting about the topic occurred once more- the Higher ship had sailed, right? Wrong. Instead, I found myself in the exact same boat when sitting my Advanced Higher Biology exam! Because it wasn’t ‘technically’ in the course notes and textbook I didn’t realise it could crop up again and so, flash forward to this day, 2 years later, I still don’t know how to use a genetic cross to predict the genotype and phenotype of an organism.
Whilst this may be a trivial-yet lengthy!- memory, it is one that now at University I can use to remind myself just how essential it is to reflect and from there improve upon my work. This is because the skills and knowledge I am currently learning will one day appear or be required in my own classroom. A classroom where young minds and their families rely on me every day to impart the best learning and teaching as possible. As practitioners, we must bridge any gaps in our knowledge or understanding to ensure our children also do not have gaps in their knowledge or miss out on vital teaching.
In terms of my own reflection of semester 1, I was a little disappointed with my peer learning group’s presentation result for the Working Together Module as I felt that our effort did not represent our final grade. After initially being upset, I decided to read the feedback sheet again once more and started to see clear areas of improvement I could work on next time and in all of my academic work. I am starting to see reflection as an essential stage in moving through my degree and also entire career- unlike the ‘reflection’ page we hurriedly and halfheartedly filled out at the end of the year at school. Being able to effectively reflect routinely is a skill that I am starting to develop and hope to continue to develop in the years to come. Without this reflection, I understand I will not be able to teach to the best of my capability throughout the years. Recently I have learnt that sometimes lessons just won’t work, even with the most organised and tried and tested lesson plans and that’s okay, providing I reflect and work towards improving upon it.