In the spirit of posting, as well as the fact that my TESL juniors are going to start their first day of practicum this coming Monday, I'd like to write a non-news and practicum-based post, hoping it will be useful for the girls and also anyone who will be going to practicum as well. I wish to share what I experienced, and i hope it benefits anybody who needs some tips.
Basically, during practicum every teacher trainee has to keep and update a huge and heavy record book which contains all your lesson plans. After each lesson, you must write a reflection in your record book. Below are some tips and guidelines for writing your post-lesson reflection:
When to Write
This is important. Unless you have a class, meeting or other important activities, write your reflection immediately after your class has ended. Find a nice and quite place to do this, but of course you could do this in the staff room. I found the canteen at my school the most peaceful place to write a reflection (but of course during lesson hours, if you were to do this during break when students run amok while filling their tummies, it definitely wouldn't work!), though I only went there for this purpose once or twice, which I regret. It's good to have some peace and quiet to mull over things. Most importantly, you need to write while the memory is still fresh in your mind.
What to Write
Your reflection does not have to be too long. If it is, then it's fine but make it focused, don't ramble on and on about unnecessary things. Don't make it too short either. Your main focus is on:
- the weaknesses of your plan- perhaps how something you planned didn't work, or how you forgot to include something in your plan
- the mistakes that occurred in your lesson
- strategies on making improvement for future lessons
By focusing on these areas, you will have a clear view of what to write and it will also benefit you in planning your future lessons. You may also write about positive things that you noticed about the lesson, but I like to focus on the mistakes because it helps me a lot and I don't want to write a 3-page article instead of a simple reflection! Besides, you can write a longer reflection and include it in your porfolio (find time to do this if you can, and you don't have to write by hand, you can always type it!).
Typing vs. Writing by Hand
My first reflections were typed because i didn't particularly like my handwriting and I also did not follow my the tip, hoho (I waited until I got home to write the reflections! Bad idea.) However, it is better to just write the reflections since you need to do it right away. Trust me!
To sum this post up, here is a sample of one of my own reflections, taken from my practicum record book. It is not that good, but since it includes some feedback from my lecturer on it I think it suffices for a sample.
UPDATE: I no longer have my practicum record book as one of my lecturers borrowed it and I don;t think I'll be going back to my IPG in the near future to retrieve it. However, if anybody reading this would like to share their reflections, please feel free to do so. Remember, we all learn from one another!