Mirror, mirror on the wall, how fare my classes amongst them all? We all know the value of reflection in learning. It’s a critical must. When coupled with constructive, critical feedback the process of reflection can be very powerful indeed. In my own case I have benefited from mentor feedback and personal reflection which has then resulted in a significant step change in my own teaching practice, e.g. in the case of how to focus on and respond to differentiation.
A colleague of mine, Vicky Sparkes, has recently completed her PGCE. We talked from time to time and swapped hypothetical, metaphorical notes. One thing I liked of hers in particular was something she developed as part of a reflective review for assessment of teaching, which she delivered in April 2015. I asked Vicky and she said I could blog about it, so here it is.
Figure 1: The RAISE Model: Sparkes (2014)
During Vicky’s eighth assessment of teaching (AoT) learners participated in a role-play activity in the form of a simulated multi-agency safeguarding meeting, and in order to reflect and review how things went, Vicky produced the above RAISE model, by synthesising elements of reflective models from Johns (1995), Brookfield (1995) and Rolfe (2001) to produce the above model that she felt was simple enough to implement alongside the day-to-day pressures of teaching, but that crucially prompted and incorporated reflective analysis via theoretical literature, learners and peers. The final stage ‘experimentation’ was intended to be implemented into Vicky’s continued professional development plan and fed into her application for Qualified Teacher and Learning Status.
In particular, the targets Vicky used this model to review were: further stretching and challenging high achieving learners, utilizing learner feedback to evaluate teaching and learning strategies, and, liaising with Learning Support Assistants to consider how best to support learners. The session required learners to participate in a role-play activity which is an activity that Vicky had never utilised before. She stated that she was eager to discover how learners felt about the activity and included a brief learner evaluation at the end of the session to establish their thoughts about the session and to find out how it could be improved.
Vicky was interested in focusing also on a criteria set by The Teachers’ Standards that state that teachers should ‘ reflect systematically on the effectiveness of lessons and approaches to teaching’ (Department of Education, 2013). Vicky felt that such learner-centred approaches to teaching, learning and assessment serve many purposes including building self-efficacy and to achieve this learners must experience situations which ‘reinforce the individual student’s ability to exercise some control over the learning environment’ (Stage et al. in Weimer, 2013, p:17). Vicky interpreted this as a recommendation in involving learners in evaluation processes which could therefore encourage learners to take responsibility for their own learning and may also promote cooperation in the classroom and improve collaborative learning (Weimer, 2013).
Vicky found that her own model of reflection was more effective within her own practice as it included the aspects from other models that she found to be the most useful. Furthermore, because she utilised the acronym ‘RAISE’, she felt it would be easy to remember, something crucial to reviewing something quickly. As a result Vicky was positive about continuing its use for the foreseeable future.
Vicky further refined her model as follows:
Figure 2: Sparkes’ RAISE Model of Reflective Teaching in Practice (2015)
Personally, I like any tool like the RAISE model, which provides a structure for analysis and reflection. I used Vicky’s model to produce a table with question prompts to further articulate points of reflection in a more structured format. I may well use this as the basis for my weekly teaching log in the final year of my part time PGCE starting in September:
The RAISE Table for Reflection (adapted from Sparkes, 2015):
||Provide a self-reflection of a new experience of critical incident: what happened? Where, when, who, what, how and why? To what extent was progress, success and achievement realised? What questions did the experience or incident raise? Provide context:
||Explain the significance of the experience or incident to teaching, learning and assessment: what issues or problems did the experience or incident highlight? Why was this of relevance? Who to and why? Would it be of wider relevance or just with particular reference in this instance to this class/student? Are there any other stakeholders who should be involved in this? Provide detail:
||Discuss alternative interventions in relation to literature and/or learner/peer suggestions: what would the different learning theorists suggest that might be of relevance? What do different teaching practice tools and methods bring to the table to help? What advice have trusted colleagues given? What do the students concerned have to say on the matter? Outline key ideas and discuss pro’s and con’s, advantages and disadvantages of each:
||Outline a favoured solution and target to trial: out of the alternatives you presented and discussed in stage 3, which idea did you decide to be most appropriate and why?
||Describe implementation of solution and then go back to stage one: how will you put the idea/solution into practice, who with, when, where, etc. – provide detail and context, aims and objectives:
An extensive bibliography Vicky utilised for this reflective model and her PGCE in general can be found below:
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