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NYC Helpline: How To: Develop as a Professional

Reflecting on Your Practice to Improve Student Achievement
Theresa London Cooper

As professionals, reflection is one of those essential habits. Teachers have so many responsibilities that it is easy to forget to stop and think about what you have already done, and without time to reflect, it becomes difficult to note what you do well and what needs refining. How does one step back to decide what requires refining? Over the years, I have practiced several methods. Student achievement is the focus that drives my reflection.

First, find a colleague or two who would like to be “critical friends.” Visit their classrooms and have them visit yours. Target a specific component of a lesson and decide on a format that will allow for objective feedback.

Second, plan together. During this time you can engage in conversations that will allow you to think about the best ways to teach lessons.

Third, provide samples of your students’ work. Use the standards to evaluate the work and plan follow-up lessons.

Lastly, develop a practical system for collecting, analyzing and using data to inform instruction and monitor student achievement. How do you reflect on your practice?

E-mail Theresa

For more on reflection, read Making a Practice of Reflection by Judy Jones.

 

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