Resource 1: Action-reflection cycle

Background information / subject knowledge for teacher

The diagram shows the following steps in the action-reflection cycle:

  • Plan an activity.
  • Act by putting the plan into practice, and observe how it goes.
  • Record what you observe.
  • Reflect on what happened.
  • Revise your plan, or make a new plan.
  • Put the revised or new plan into action, and observe again.
  • Record and reflect again.
  • And so on, and so on …

Everything you do as a teacher can become part of an action-reflection cycle. Record your thoughts and ideas; writing ideas and thoughts down can help.

For example, Mr Abeeku wanted his class to try some shared reading activities (reading where the pupils read to each other and help each other).

Plan an activity – Mr Abeeku planned to divide his class into groups of five and to make sure that each group had some reading material. They were then to take it in turns in their groups to read out loud to each other. They would help each other when they got stuck and only ask him for help if they were really struggling. He would get on with some marking while they did this.

Act by putting the plan into practice – Mr Abeeku tried this in a single lesson one morning.

Record what you observe – The groups were the right size, but he observed that it took a long time for them to understand what they had to do, and they kept asking him for instructions. However, when they did understand, it seemed to work very well with most of the groups. He saw that two boys and one girl were too shy to read.

Reflect – He decided that the activity was a good one but that he needed to organise it better. He thought that there were at least three pupils who needed some more help from him with their reading. There were some words that were new to the whole class.

Revise your plan, or make a new plan – Next time, he would write simple instructions on the board so that they did not have to keep asking him for help. He decided not to use the time to mark but to go around listening and assessing informally the skills of his pupils. He revised some of the difficult words with the whole class.

(See also Key Resource: Researching in the classroom [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .)

3. Using reflection to improve teaching

Resource 2: Research on local games in the curriculum