For trainee teachers such as myself it is becoming increasingly more apparent that reflecting on my teaching experiences are essential not only to gain my qualification, or for CPD's but to help improve and learn from my experiences. I would be very grateful if others could share their tips on reflective practice and the best way to keep record of this?

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Hi Laura, I too struggle with this and I am currently reading Becoming a reflexive researcher: using ourselves in research by Kim Etherington.  The author's perspective is a s a counsellor and the area of counselling and psychotherapy seems to be a particularly rich area for this kind of activity.  Kim's view is "To be reflexive we need to be aware of our personal responses and to be able to make choices about how to use them. We also need to be aware of the personal, social and cultural contexts in which we live and work and to understand how these impact on the ways we interpret our world." p.19.  So, maybe the first step is to write a very honest description of oneself and try to include the reasons for approaching teaching; the aims you have and the goals you hope to achieve.  I think one thing I have noticed in Kim Etherington's book is that reflexivity is not something one can develop overnight and the journey described in her book takes many years from first experiences of studying to a confident author with a PhD and several published works. I know the diary is the mode many people suggest using but the problem with this is that so often one is often more concerned with recording what happened accurately than with understanding why things happened the way that they did. So, as well as a diary, it would help to pick on specific types of incidents and delve into them more deeply to try to analyse why you reacted as you did to that situation.  It certainly seems that having a mentor or friend who can act as a sounding board helps.  I know many institutions offer a fancy electronic platform for recording and tracking progress but honestly, there's no need to use anything more technological than a pad and a pencil, as long as the reflective mode is there. I found an interesting page at Warwick University which you may find interesting.

Hope this helps. Regards,


Hi Jax

Your response is very interesting and have covered a good range of ways to record reflective practice.  Although in your opinion a note pad a pencil is all you need, i quite like the idea of recording via a voice recorder idea too.  Perhaps through something such as Dragon Dictate? I think upon reflection (hahaha) this may work better for me as i tend to think about my day and reflect on my taught sessions when driving home from work. Perhaps i could set up a recorder to voice my day of events whilst it is fresh in my mind and then write it up later on, allowing for a paper copy to read back over.  The gap between voice recording and diarising would also allow for further reflection i guess.  What do you think?


Many Thanks, Laura

Hi Laura, the voice recorder sounds like an a excellent idea. Just a suggestion, but bearing in mind how having a sounding board friend is meant to help reflection, I think you should give your voice recorder a pet name and make sure you explain to him/her all the background to the people and horses you are talking about. All this is going to mean you will have an entertaining and reflective journey home!

Hi Laura,

It will happen naturally.  As Jacqueline has said, it can be simply a notebook (which is with you ALL the time) and a pencil.  I have no idea how old you are, but you WILL find the most important moments will stay with you and reflection will happen at the right time.  Don't get overly worried about it.  And don't introduce other ways of doing it which are time consuming.  The idea of recording stuff, then listening, then writing it down is all very well if you have the time?  The 'prop' of a dictaphone (I can say this because I tried it for a week) is fine, but it took me so much more time and effort, in the end I got bored with my own voice and went straight back to writing stuff down...

Hi Colin

It's good to hear an opinion of someone that has tried a dictaphone too. I understand that this may be time consuming, especially when teachers have an ever increasing amount of planning and paperwork to sort through this method may become rather tedious. I am unsure as to whether I will use this method or not yet, perhaps trial and error will be the way to find my preference.

Hi Jax

I think naming a dictaphone could be rather amusing and the whole exercise could make for some entertaining listening when writing up my reflection :) A good idea though. Many thanks for your input everyone.


Hi Laura,

I agree with you entirely that reflective practice is a very valuable tool to help us improve. As our audience is normally quite varied, as can be the time of day we teach, as can be the nominal interest level of the lesson, .. the one thing we can be sure of is the target we are all trying to hit in becoming the perfect teacher .. is a moving one!!

The one constant is ourselves. Yes we all have good and bad days, yes we probably have favourite subjects or parts we like to teach, we might even have a class we really know works well and is always enjoyable to teach .. but if we prepare in a consistent way, follow a skeletal format we are comfortable with and know the subject we are going to teach, I believe instincts help us tread the right path during lessons.

How to record the success rate of any lesson again has more then one viewpoint. We will probably look at mostly areas to improve, but we should not forget to recognise what we did well and what/how really inspired our students. I make a top 10 list of the things I want to happen, in easy to read order before I start the lesson. It is in big writing, on the desk next to me as I teach .. sort of like a lesson recipe. It contains lesson aims, key points to check+reinforce learning and some key areas from last observation where I know I need to improve. A sideways glance mid-lesson keeps me on track then at the end of the lesson I make quick comments against each point. Like others I agree pen/pencil notes is an efficient way to record although later on this might become part of my ILP/learning journal. Remember though to recognise what went well just as much as what you thinks needs to be changed!!



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