After watching my video for the first time, I couldn’t count how many cringe worthy moments I had mentally listed. My voice, my facial expressions, my hand gestures and even my personal appearance were at the forefront of my reflection and for those few brief moments, I spent my time focusing only on what I perceived to be negative aspects of the lesson. I allowed myself to focus on those inconsequential distractions only once. When viewing my lesson for a second time, this time alongside my RISE partner, Anthony, I tried to disassociate myself from the video and view it purely focussing on the pedagogical elements of the lesson. I spent a lot of time focusing on areas of development and found it difficult to focus on positive aspects of the lesson, whereas Anthony was able to immediately draw attention to what worked well and the positive teaching practices which were evident. This alone is an example that the R.I.S.E experience is beneficial. Teachers tend to be their own worst critic and it was a welcome opportunity to have another colleague articulate the positive teaching practices and successes in the lesson that I wouldn’t have noticed if I were to work through the R.I.S.E cycle myself.
My lesson was an instructional guided reading session with a small group. Its focus was on unpacking the language within the text and predicting what the text is about. My partner and I agreed that there was a good understanding of curriculum knowledge. I knew the content and the learning intentions were clear and discussed with the students. Whilst the lesson was organised and well planned, it became evident that I spent too much time ‘teacher talking’. Whilst guided reading is ‘guided’ by the teacher, there needed to be more time for the students to have ‘think’ time and really engage in the questioning. More time to share with their peers and discuss with each other which may have allowed them to access learning that I was not providing them with.
We both agreed that whilst the teacher/student talk and questioning was appropriate and successful, the students were clearly only focusing on what they were saying and not actively listening to their peers. They were so eager to share their knowledge with the teacher that it almost became a competition about who could answer the questions. All students need the opportunity to consolidate their thoughts through peer discussion.
Through this discussion we decided on a goal for future development would be for students to clarify their own thinking whilst engaging in dialogue with a peer. Introducing think/pair/share strategy within instructional guided reading sessions.
To have time set aside to engage in professional dialogue with my RISE partner was incredibly rewarding and not something that is often gifted upon us as teachers we can be somewhat time poor. Anthony was able to highlight areas of development in my teaching strategies and collaboratively we were able to develop a goal to improve my teaching practices.