6 What do you think you learned from teaching with TESSA materials?
You should reflect on your lessons to determine what worked well, and what did not work well so as to improve your teaching, and plan better subsequent lessons. In doing this, some of the questions you could consider are:
- What challenges did I have while planning and preparing for this lesson?
- How did the pupils respond to the activities (participation, interest, excitement …)?
- What did my pupils learn and how do I know this?
- Were there differences in what they learned?
- Were the outcomes of the lesson achieved?
- What was I pleased about?
- What surprised me?
- What, if anything, was disappointing?
- What difficulties were there in teaching the topic?
- Was there enough time to do the activities?
- Were the resources used appropriate and adequate?
Now you have responded to these questions, how do you feel about the activity and the way in which you use it?
TESSA Snapshot: Preparing reflective reports
Teachers registered for a professional development course titled ‘Languages and Literacies’ were asked to prepare a reflective report on a classroom activity in which they used the beginning of a traditional story to promote speaking, listening, writing and reading. Thandi Nkosi did not really know what she was expected to prepare. She wrote a draft report in which she described how she introduced the story, what she asked pupils to do with it and what they did.
Thandi then contacted her tutor, explaining that she was not sure whether she had prepared her report correctly and asking for some feedback. When her tutor read the report, she realised that Thandi did not really understand what it means to write reflectively when reporting on a classroom activity. Before giving her some feedback, the tutor raised Thandi’s difficulties at a meeting of all staff involved in the Languages and Literacies course. The coordinator suggested that everyone at the meeting write brief notes on what they expected to find in a reflective report and then share their notes with the meeting. While each tutor read out his or her notes, the coordinator prepared a summary on the chalkboard. The group realised that they had not given the teachers sufficient guidelines for writing reflectively. They worked together to turn the summary into a set of instructions and questions that teachers could use in reporting reflectively on many classroom activities. This is what the instructions and questions looked like:
Instructions and questions for teachers to use when preparing a reflective report on a classroom activity
- Write a brief description of what you [the teacher] did and what the pupils did during the activity.
- What were you pleased about?
- What, if anything, disappointed you?
- What surprised you?
- What did the pupils learn? Were there differences in what they learned?
- What did you learn from the experience of using this activity with your pupils?
- Now that you have responded to these questions, how do you feel about the activity and the way in which you used it?