EDU 6528 Accomplished Teaching– Meta Reflection – Standard 4

Standard 4: Teacher leaders engage in analysis of teaching and collaborative practice.

“Although much of educational practice occurs in the fast lane, educators must locate a rest area to reflect on past practice and to determine adjustments for future practice” (York-Barr, Sommers, Ghere, & Montie, 2006, p. 3)

I have always felt that reflection is a key process to continual improvement in my teaching, but as the above quote describes, teaching has always felt like the “fast lane”, or maybe, the game Frogger, where the frog is desperately trying to cross the river that is full of obstacles. It seems rare that there is time to complete that critical component of accomplished teaching: reflection. Extending that reflection to include reflecting with others seemed like something that would be impossible to do.

As we began this course, we started by considering something that we wanted to change or focus on in our classroom as well as the framework by which we would be evaluating the teaching change. The Lake Washington School District uses the Danielson Framework for assessing instruction, so that is the framework that I will be referencing through the work in this course. At the beginning of this course, I decided that, based on reflection on my classroom in previous years, and area of growth I wanted to explore was introducing more student-choice assignments. This is something that I have observed being done really well in others’ classrooms, although none of them math, and I wanted to see if I could find ways to introduce it in mine as well.

After I prepared a focus and considered how I would be evaluating the instruction, the class started working on appropriate ways to collaborate and reflect upon teaching. The text, Reflective Practice to Improve Schools, started by focusing on individual collaboration, and then moved into strategies and justification for partner and group reflection. This was to prepare us for our major assignment of this course, a videotaped lesson and then partner/group reflection on the lesson using the framework that is used in our district. Based on the timing of this activity, I was unable to work a student-choice assignment into my Formal Lesson Plan, but originally planned on working with my partner to determine what I could change in order to add something that was a student-choice activity. We met as partners to discuss the lesson plans that we created, and then prepared to teach the lesson. Our partners were intentionally chosen to be teacher who were not in the same age level/content area to encourage the type of collaboration and reflection that was discussed in our course text. It is a very challenging and rewarding activity to collaborate with teachers who are in different grades and content areas; the focus of those discussions truly becomes about the framework and instructional strategies rather than things a teacher may have tried to use during the same lesson.

After I taught and video-taped the chosen lesson, I met again with my partner to use the framework and evaluate the lesson. Although my original focus was student-choice, I determined after reviewing the lesson that I needed to change my focus for my Safety Net Algebra 1 classes. Rather than focusing on student-choice opportunities, I decided I needed to brainstorm some ways to get my students focused and engaged in deeper thinking, class and small-group discussions. As a result of this reflection, I focused my efforts in my Elements of Accomplished Teaching Paper to finding current research and practice on questioning to inspire discussion, and deeper thinking.

As a result of this class, my view on Accomplished Teaching has deepened and matured. Teaching is a skill that is able to be continually improved upon. Being an accomplished teacher is more than effective lesson planning, aligning standards, and using instructional strategies. Accomplished teaching is also about formative assessments, responding to the needs of your students, and reflecting at multiple points along the way. Reflection is something that can be done independently, with a partner, or group, and can be done both synchronously or asynchronously. When you make the time, as a teacher, to collaborate with others at multiple stages of the lesson plan, and then meet together to reflect upon your successes and areas of growth, you – as the teacher – grows as well.

As I move forward as a teacher leader, I will work hard to make time in my day to collaborate throughout all processes of the lesson planning and teaching process. This is an element that I feel is best taught to others by example. By starting with my Algebra 1 content team, I will be able to work with three other teachers on the processes we practiced in this course. From there, after those three teachers have experienced the benefits of this practice, they can bring them to their other content teams (Algebra 2H, Algebra 3 with Trig, and 9^{th} grade Physical Science). From there, it can only continue to spread. Additionally, I will continue to lead the efforts to collaborate between the English and Math departments to focus on consistent writing instruction in math classrooms as well. The collaborative and reflective process that we followed during this course will be beneficial to the working inter-departmental relationships as well.

References:

Billings, L. & Roberts, T. (2014). From mindless to meaningful. *Educational Leadership, 72*(3),

60-65.

Clark, K. (2015) The Effects of the Flipped Model of Instruction on Student Engagement and

Performance in the Secondary Mathematics Classroom

*Journal of Educators Online, 12*(1), 91-115

Downs, D. (2015). Using open questions to engage pupils in mathematics. *Mathematics *

*Teaching, 247*, 41-42.

The Danielson Group (2013). *The Framework*. Retrieved from

http://www.danielsongroup.org/framework/

Goodwin, B. (2014). Get all students to speak up. *Educational Leadership, 72*(3), 82-83.

Tovani, C. (2015). Let’s switch questioning around. *Educational Leadership, 73*(1), 30-35.

Pratt, N. (2002). Mathematics as thinking. *Mathematics Teaching, 181, *34-37.

York-Barr, J., Sommers, W., Ghere, G., & Montie, J. (2006). *Reflective practice to improve*

*schools.* Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press