Most students having concrete experience in cooking were able to accommodate the new learning, and developing their metacognition as explained by Haley (2020). This also was an application of the Kolb’s reflective model as well as other reflective models attached in appendix 1 (Brock & Cameron, 1999, Bergsteiner, Avery & Neumann, 2010; Svinicki & Dixon, 1987). In one of my mentoring meetings, my mentor said “the students mentioned cooking and backing as examples on chemical reactions and were able to balance equations and when they mentioned you gave them that analogy, I was very impressed. I have used it in another set”.
This shows that using life examples can improve understanding. My mentor acknowledging this and using the same example in her lesson increased my confidence. As Walkington (2005) explains, the uniqueness of a teacher is the teachers’ approach shaped by the classroom dynamics. The use of mentor and tutor feedbacks either through face – to face discussions, the e-portfolio and observation notes, has helped me to develop critical thinking and reflection about my teaching approach. Tutor feedback and discussions has resulted in recommendation of a reading list which has enhanced my learning and pedagogy as a trainee teacher.
Furthermore, the mentor and tutor meetings, lesson observations and preparation of lesson plans and lesson notes has helped me understand how my thought process is developed and therefore my metacognition, some of which maybe as a result of my experience as a lecturer and in industry. By developing this metacognitive awareness I can be able to help students under my guide to develop their metacognition as well (Veenman et al., 2006, Kuhn, 2000, Kistner, 2010), making it possible to alter my style and approach to lessons to overcome one of my initial shortcomings – pacing in my lessons. The relationship with my mentor has grown from one of animosity to total collaboration and understanding. This has helped me to develop a clear insight into pedagogy.
Reading through the models of reflective practice, by Boult’s, Gibbs, Atkins and Murphy, a summary attached in Appendix 1, my reflection has metamorphosed to encompasses all these models. As an example, in one particular Biology lesson, I had to teach the same lesson to two sets of students at different periods of the week. I applied a technique with many activities and more student led and me guiding them through active questioning to assess understanding, a technique I saw another teacher using. This worked well for the top set who loved it but when I tried on the other set, within 15 minutes of the lesson, I realised they were unable to do the activities from feedback as such I had to explain more before each activity which slowed the lesson but achieved some of the objectives in that the students learnt and we continued the same topic in the following lesson I had with this particular group.
Being in a school having a high proportion of students with various education, health and care (EHC) plan or special education needs or disabilities (SEND), makes me reflect everyday how I want these students to progress. Being pastoral in nature, I sometimes engage these students one – on – one which has seen tremendous improvement in the learning and behaviour as measured by their test score and classroom ethics. While this is acknowledged as good by my mentor, I have developed strategies that engage these students by assuring them that I am there for them. This has come through my experience as depicted in the models described, (openlearn, 2020) working with children and young people in the past when carrying out lecturing and orientation.
My interaction with my mentor and tutor in terms of reflection can briefly be summarised by the Atkins and Murphy model attached in appendix 1 – Figure 4. As a learner, I reflect critically on what I am being taught and practice. I understood very early in my training that, this is an individual journey and how I manage my learning will be based on me as such I encouraged my mentor not to hesitate to criticise my teaching style and learning which made our feedback meetings very open and sincere and we had a goal how we want to progress with the teaching practice and learning and as Schon (1983) explains “Reflective practice is a dialogue of thinking and doing through which I become more skilful” for which I am in agreement.
The most interesting aspects of my journey in teacher training have been the difference I observed in the teaching methods of teachers I have observed or collaborated with. I have come to understand that collaboration is a key component of my training and have reflected on techniques they have used and applied some Pottinger, Dyer and Akard,(2019).
I will conclude by quoting the Sutton trust Report (2015) where it is stated that “teachers should develop themselves through three main sources of feedback: teacher’s observations, surveys of students, measures of student progress”. Priya, Prasanth and Peechattu (2017) explained that reflective practice is a cyclical process. It has enabled me to develop as a teacher who can critically reflect on his decisions during and after a lesson, makes improvement and learning at all time. Mentorship, collaboration, tutor meetings has given me a greater understanding of the teaching practice and classroom dynamics.
Reflecting on the feedback received, has enabled me to react to issues raised during meetings, change my approach to teaching and classroom management, increased my pedagogical knowledge and enabled me to become an effective and confident teacher. Schon’s statements and model of reflection on and in – action stands true and I have become an effective teacher because I enquire each time about my teaching and how it impacts student’s learning. By understanding the students learning and making the appropriate adjustments has had a positive effect on students and to my progress into a skilful practitioner.