Unit 3: Strategies for Self-Evaluating Instruction

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Bwestrightarrows.png Unit Objective & Purpose

Objective: Given a range of reflective teaching strategies, the participant will rate the viability of using each strategy in his/her classroom by comparing and contrasting various reflective teaching strategies.


The purpose of this unit is to provide participants with strategies for evaluating their instruction and to help the participants determine which strategies they are most comfortable with integrating into their professional practice.

Bwestreadit.png Introduction

In the previous unit, the key components of evaluating instruction were identified and you reflected on the evaluative processes that you currently embed in teaching practice. One of the difficulties of practicing reflective teaching is figuring out how to do it. In this unit, we will explore some strategies for self-evaluating your instruction. While you will want to start evaluating your instruction with one strategy, eventually you will want to try multiple strategies. Doing so will provide you with a well-rounded perspective on your instruction.

Before we delve into the strategies, it is important to identify that this process requires you to build time into your schedule to reflect. The failure to do so will minimize the effectiveness of the reflective practices and you will be less likely to follow through with your evaluation (Marzano, 2012). Also keep in mind that you will want to set a goal for your evaluation process and this may influence which strategy works best for you.

Bwestkeyidea.png Key Ideas regarding Strategies for Self-Evaluating Instruction

Read through the following strategies that you can use to self-evaluate your instruction. Think about their strengths and weaknesses and if you think the strategies would be feasible for you to implement.

Reflective Journaling

  • Summary: With reflective journaling, the instructor documents his or her experience during a class or lesson. The reflection should move beyond a summary of events and requires you to focus on your feelings and analyze interactions that stood out to you. Setting improvement goals is helpful for guiding your thinking and writing. You may want to take notes during a lesson to revisit in your journal (Richards, 1995).
  • Frequency: Journaling should be an on-going activity throughout the school year. The frequency of writing per week is up to you. It can be helpful to start slowly and focus on writing once per week.
  • Challenges/Limitations: You need to build time into your schedule to write. You also need to be aware of your own personal biases in regards to evaluating your instruction and its effectiveness.
  • Variation of Strategy: Interactive Journaling. You may find it helpful to create a dialogue about your teaching with a trusted colleague or mentor. You can respond to each other in writing or read and discuss the journals. These should remain focused on your teaching goals.

Video Record Your Instruction

  • Summary: It is impossible to remember everything that happens during a lesson. One way to capture this data is to record yourself teaching. The video will provide you with an objective view of your instruction, since it records exactly what happened during your lesson (Tripp & Rich, 2012). This allows you to reflect on your emotions, personal beliefs/biases, student interactions, instructional strategies, and content knowledge.
  • Frequency: Try recording your instruction once or twice a year. It will allow you to document improvements in your instruction, if you are attempting to make them.
  • Challenges/Limitations: It can be difficult to watch yourself teaching and evaluate your teaching critically. You may want to consider asking a trusted colleague or mentor to view the video recording and give you honest feedback. It also does not tell you how the students felt during the instruction.
  • Variation of Strategy: If you are camera shy, considering doing an audio recording. You won't have the visual feedback, but you can still listen to your intonations, questioning, and student interactions.

Portfolios

  • Summary: A portfolio is a tool for documenting your growth as an instructor. Portfolios usually contain documents that evidence the following: your teaching philosophy, teaching methods, course materials, teaching effectiveness, improvement activities, and future goals. It serves as a "living" document and evolves and changes with your growth (King, 2014).
  • Frequency: Portfolios should be continually maintained if being used for reflective purposes.
  • Challenges/Limitations: It takes time and commitment to develop and maintain a portfolio. You select what goes into the portfolio, which may be influenced by your personal bias.
  • Variation of Strategy: Consider creating an e-portfolio if an electronic format is more convenient for you.
  • Bwestrightarrows.png Review this presentation on developing a portfolio: http://www.slideshare.net/WSSU_CETL/tp-workshop-handout-1.

Peer Observation

  • Summary: Have a trusted peer/colleague/supervisor/mentor/instructional specialist attend a lesson/class and observe your instruction. They can provide you with feedback from an outside perspective. It can be helpful to inform the observer of your teaching/improvement goals before the observation (Richards, 1995).
  • Frequency: At a minimum of once a semester or as needed.
  • Challenges/Limitations: Since the observer only attends one or two class sessions, they might not understand what goes on in your classroom. They may also have limited experience and perspectives, which may hinder their observations.
  • Variation of Strategy: Consider asking a peer to view a video recording or participate in interactive journaling.
  • Bwestplaymovie.png Watch this video on peer observation in teaching practices: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-abWqXlkFY

Student Feedback

Interviews

  • Summary: Interviewing students entails asking the whole class or small groups of students about their impressions of your instruction. The benefit is that students may bring up issues that you have not anticipated. It helps to have built a rapport with students so they feel comfortable being interviewed (Angelo & Cross, 1993).
  • Frequency: It depends on your teaching. A typical rule of thumb is once or twice a semester.
  • Challenges/Limitations: Students can be biased or limited in their perspectives. They might not understand your instructional decisions.
  • Variation of Strategy: Ask a peer/colleague/mentor to interview students. The students might be more honest in their feedback.

Questionnaires

  • Summary: Questionnaires allow you to collect the entire group of student reactions about your teaching. They are anonymous, which may lead to meaningful feedback from students. You can tailor the questions to focus on the areas which you seek to improve (Angelo & Cross, 1993).
  • Frequency: Questionnaires should be used before, during, and after a course or lesson.
  • Challenges/Limitations: The questionnaire is written by the instructor and may focus on what the instructor deems important rather than what the students find important.
  • Variation of Strategy: Solicit and record informal feedback from students throughout the lesson or class from students.
  • Bwestplaymovie.png Watch this video on getting feedback from students: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLY5buOkS7c

Bwestpencil.png Activity: Compare/Contrast Strategies

Now that you have read through the different strategies you can implement to evaluate your instruction, it is time to think about which ones you might use. Download the Compare and Contrast Evaluation Strategies worksheet. You will use it to reflect on the pros and cons of each strategy for your teaching style and instructional setting. You will also rate the each strategy based on how likely you will use them to evaluate your instruction. After completing the worksheet, respond to the discussion forum prompt.

Bwestrightarrows.png Click on the link to download the Compare and Contrast Evaluation Strategies worksheet: File:Bwestcomparecontraststrategies.pdf

Required Discussion Post

Now that you have reviewed each of the strategies for evaluating your instruction, please write a post on the unit 3 discussion forum. Your post should state which strategy you would like to use for evaluating your instruction and why that strategy works for you. The instructor and/or other participants will respond to your post. You are also encouraged to respond to other participants.

Bwestrightarrows.png Click here to go to the unit 3 discussion forum.

Bwestideas.png Further Study

If you would like to continue exploring the strategies you can use to self-evaluate your instruction, then consider completing any or all of these activities.

Read this article: Lowe, G. M., Prout, P., & Murcia, K. (2013). I see, I think I wonder: An evaluation of journaling as a critical reflective practice tool for aiding teachers in challenging or confronting contexts. Australian Journal Of Teacher Education, 38(6). Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1014606.pdf.

  • This article discusses the merits of reflective journaling for assisting teachers in challenging teaching environments. It will give you more perspective on how powerful of a strategy journaling can be.

Read this article: Atkinson, D. J., & Bolt, S. (2010). Using teaching observations to reflect Upon and improve teaching practice in higher education. Journal Of The Scholarship Of Teaching And Learning, 10(3), 1-19. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ906466.pdf.

  • This article delves into the topic of peer observation as a reflective tool. While the research is situated in higher education, many of the same finding are applicable to a variety of instructional settings.

Read this article: Raelin, J. A. (2002). I don’t have time to think!” versus the art of reflective practice. Reflections, 4(1), 66-79. Retrieved from http://www.global-leader.org/Reflective%20Practice%20Article.pdf.

  • This article discusses reflective practice from a corporate perspective. There are also some different strategies discussed in the article, which are worth pondering as you move towards integrating reflective strategies into your instructional practices.

Bwestevaluate.png Unit Evaluation

Now that you have completed unit 3, fill out a unit evaluation survey. The mini-course instructor will use the survey data to make improvements to the Reflective Teaching: Evaluating Your Own Instruction mini-course.

Bwestrightarrows.png Click here to evaluate Unit 3: Strategies for Self-Evaluating Instruction

Bwestredo.png Mini-Course Navigation

Proceed to Unit 4: Developing an Evaluation Plan

Return to Mini-Course Homepage | Unit 1: What is Reflective Teaching? | Unit 2: Evaluating Instruction

Bwestfolderorange.png References

Angelo, T., & Cross, K. (1993). Classroom assessment techniques: A handbook for college teachers. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.

King, P. (2014). The reflective teaching portfolio. Retrieved from http://www.fitnyc.edu/files/pdfs/Teaching_Portfolio_Workshop_2014_00912_FIT.pdf.

Marzano, R. J. (2012). Becoming a reflective teacher. Bloomington, IN: Marzano Research Laboratory.

Richards, J. C. (1995). Towards reflective teaching. The Teacher Trainer, 59-63. Retrieved from https://www.tttjournal.co.uk/uploads/File/back_articles/Towards_Reflective_Teaching.pdf.

Tripp, T. t., & Rich, P. (2012). Using video to analyze one's own teaching. British Journal Of Educational Technology, 43(4), 678-704.