Jay and Johnson note that reflection is complex and ambiguous, and very difficult to teach to somebody. Reflection is not a technique – it is something that is much more complex than a rote technique. Reflection is something that I engage in, and it is a crucial part of my teaching, but, since it is difficult to quantify and difficult to teach, it is not necessarily something that would be a focus of a standard critique. Because of this, I feel that much of my teaching was not captured by the critique.
Whatever the reason for the informality of the rating, the critique of my performance was definitely informal and was not standardized. There was not a standardized rating which is often used in many American colleges and schools (Trujillo, 2008). There was not a scale of one to ten that was used to assess my performance, and there wasn’ t even a kind of guideline that was used by the observer. It was simply a review of my performance, without ticking off any kind of boxes on how I did on certain aspects of my teaching.
This was both beneficial and possibly detrimental. It was beneficial because it gave me a way to relax when the observer was present. Moreover, a checklist is limited in that it is technical and instrumental, which means that it would not stimulate as much discussion about my teaching abilities. I didn’ t have to become too self-aware that I was hitting this category or that category. That would have made my lesson more forced, and it would have led me to overthink it. At the same time, it might have been useful for the observer to be able to focus upon specific aspects of my performance, and this would have given the review a bit more structure.
One solution for this would be interactive cover sheets, which would mean that the observer can give the observer a list of criteria that the observer should be looking for. This would give the observation review more of a structure and framework. Having a rating sheet in front of them would force them to evaluate aspects of my performance that perhaps they were not even looking at, and this would have led to something that was more well-rounded with regards to my strengths and weaknesses.
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