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Learning to teach: becoming a reflective practitioner

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This is the third of four courses which comprise the course Learning to teach. Critical reflection is crucial to becoming a successful teacher. This free course, Becoming a reflective practitioner, explains what is meant by reflective practice and how to ensure that reflection leads to learning. As a beginner teacher you will encounter many contradictions and challenges in school; you will learn to teach in a particular context but will need to be able to transfer your learning to new contexts. Critical reflection will help you to do this. This free course explores the different models of critical reflection, knowledge of which will help you to structure your practice and evaluate whether you are reflecting and therefore learning effectively.

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • understand the role of reflective practice in ITE (Initial Teacher Education)
  • recognise some models of reflective practice
  • identify the difference between reflection, analysis and description
  • understand the difficulties in ensuring that reflection leads to learning and begin to develop some strategies to ensure reflection supports development.

By: The Open University

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Becoming a reflective practitioner

Introduction

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How often do you find yourself replaying in your head the events of the day or an incident in your life? Whether it is going through a conversation that happened to digest what has been said, thinking about sequences of events that led to a certain conclusion, or thinking about how you felt or reacted at a point in time. At this level, we are quite used to the idea of reflecting on our own actions.

Reflective practice is a term strongly associated with learning in professional contexts such as teaching, nursing or social work and can be thought of in a number of ways. It can be described as a learning tool, something that is going to help you to synthesise, explain, make sense of and ultimately learn from, your experiences.

It can be considered to be a professional competence, as reflected in the standards you are expected to achieve by the end of your Initial Teacher Education (ITE) course. Finally, it might be thought of as a type of dialogue or prose, a particular type of conversation or a writing style that captures your personal views and relates them to evidence you have collected from elsewhere.

Before considering the nature of reflection and the theoretical ideas that underpin it, it is worth considering why reflective practice is considered so important both within ITE and within career long learning in education.

Reflection point: Think of a situation where, through reflecting on what has happened, you have acted differently or changed your initial view of a situation.

Find out more about studying with The Open University by visiting our online prospectus [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

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