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Becoming a Reflective Teacher|
The following tips from this book are designed to assist you in applying the latest research in tangible ways in your classroom, your school or your district. Below each tip, you will find the book excerpt on which the tip is based. Click on the book title above to learn more about this resource.
Focused practice involves repeating a specific strategy with attention to improving detailed aspects of the strategy.
In a classroom, this usually means that a teacher selects a specific strategy for practice, along with a specific aspect of that strategy. There are a number of ways that a teacher might focus his or her practice: focusing on specific steps of a strategy, developing a protocol, developing fluency with a strategy, making adaptations to a strategy, or integrating several strategies to create a macrostrategy.
Marzano, R. (2012). Becoming a Reflective Teacher (p. 49). Bloomington, IN: Marzano Research Laboratory.
When fluency has been fully developed, the reflective teacher both executes the strategy or behavior and monitors its effect.
Fluency means a teacher can perform a strategy or execute a behavior with ease. A fluent teacher is skilled enough with a strategy or behavior to employ it without having to think about the steps involved. For example, a teacher who has selected the previewing strategy K-W-L might find that practicing it three times allows her to feel proficient, and then adds another three sessions to overlearn it. At this point, the teacher knows the strategy so well that she can focus her attention on monitoring students’ reactions.
Marzano, R. (2012). Becoming a Reflective Teacher (pp. 55-56). Bloomington, IN: Marzano Research Laboratory.
Observing and discussing teaching is an important element to the development of teaching expertise.
One way teachers might interact would be to view videos of other teachers. It is useful to determine what was done well by the teacher and what was not. Discussing the effective strategies demonstrated in a video segment, as well as strategies that could have or should have been employed, make almost any video segment a useful vehicle for observing and discussing teaching.
Marzano, R. (2012). Becoming a Reflective Teacher (pp. 75-77). Bloomington, IN: Marzano Research Laboratory.
Student engagement is one element of a lesson segment enacted on the spot. Reflect on this element by asking, “What do I typically do to notice when students are not engaged?”
Consider strategies such as scanning the room, monitoring levels of attention, and periodically asking students to signal their level of attention.
Marzano, R. (2012). Becoming a Reflective Teacher (pp. 28, 142). Bloomington, IN: Marzano Research Laboratory.
The goal of instructional rounds is for the observing teachers to compare their own practices to the practice of the observed teacher (the focus is not on evaluation).
Instructional rounds include several phases, and during the final phase, the participants should identify the following three elements:
1. Strategies and instructional practices they already use and that they saw others use effectively
2. Strategies and instructional practices they already use but would like to re-examine or modify based on their observations
3. Strategies or instructional practices they don’t use but will try because they saw others use them effectively.
Marzano, R. (2012). Becoming a Reflective Teacher (pp. 80–81). Bloomington, IN: Marzano Research Laboratory.
Feedback is essential to determining the success of focused practice, as it tells teachers if their efforts are actually developing expertise.
There are a number of ways to gather information about continued progress including reflection logs, video data, student survey data, and student achievement data. In a reflection log, the teacher records anecdotal comments about his/her performance with a specific strategy. Over time, the teacher will be able to review this log and determine if they have made progress.
Marzano, R. (2012). Becoming a Reflective Teacher (pp. 61–62). Bloomington, IN: Marzano Research Laboratory.