Teachers: Here are ten questions to ask yourself, answer, and consider as part of a self-reflection about your teaching.
Administrators: Here are ten questions to suggest that your teachers answer and consider as part of a self-reflection and teacher renewal process.
Each question also has sub-questions to help refine thinking, ideas, and practices. These are also good questions for shared reflection and group discussion. They might lead to a rethinking of teaching and learning as well as suggest thoughtful ways to set new goals, teach in different ways, assess more effectively, customize learning, and make instructional improvements during the school year.
1. What am I trying to accomplish with my students? What’s the core?
What are my short-term goals versus long-term goals?
Why are these goals important? Essential? Core?
Where do these goals come from? Are they helpful to someone living in a 21st-century world?
How do my goals connect and relate to the school’s goals? The district’s? Other teachers that I work with?
What critical skills am I trying to develop? Attitudes? Understandings? Behaviors?
Are these goals specific enough to suggest what they will look like in practice?
Do these goals suggest the ways that my students will differ at the end of my teaching them from when I began teaching them?
2. What are my beliefs about how students learn?
How “up-to-date” are my beliefs? How much are they based on research or on my own opinions and ideas? How do my beliefs influence the way I teach?
3. How do I create a positive climate for learning?
How do I build strong, positive relationships with my students? Engage and motivate all my students to learn? Inspire my students to learn and to continue their learning after they leave me?
4. What “essential” questions do I want my students to explore?
Instead of thinking about my teaching in terms of goals and objectives, how can I design core, essential questions to promote inquiry among my students? What questions should be the starting points for my teaching during the year?
5. What are the primary, core types of instructional strategies that I use regularly?
Are these effective? Are they “powerful”? Engaging? Why do I use these? Do they work? Why or why not?
6. How do I know when my students have accomplished my goals?
What are the best ways for me to determine whether my students have accomplished my goals? What types of student work will best demonstrate success? Student performances? Behaviors? Use and application of skills? Attitudes?
7. How do I get feedback from my students on how well they are doing? How do I use feedback to improve student learning?
What types of student work demonstrates progress on the part of my students? How can I provide constructive feedback so that students improve on what they do over time?
8. How do I customize and individualize learning for my students?
What can I do to help every student achieve my goals? What can I do better to make this happen?
9. What’s special and unique about my teaching?
What makes my individual style of teaching unique and special? What makes it work for me? Why do I do what I do?
10. How will I work on my teaching in order to improve what I do?
What opportunities are there for improvement? Who and what helps me to improve? What resources do I use? How do I collaborate with others?
Feel free to add additional questions, delete questions, or modify these if you so desire. And GOOD LUCK!!!Elliot
Elliott Seif is an educational consultant and author. He served for 15 years as the director of curriculum and instruction services for the Bucks County Intermediate Unit, an educational service agency in Bucks County, Penn. He was also a social studies teacher, professor of education at Temple University, and the director of the Pennsylvania Future Problem Solving Program.