How to Write a Reflective Statement
The end of the school year is approaching, the time of year where we reflect on what we’ve learned and accomplished. A school may even request a formal reflective statement about the past year’s professional development activities. While there are many types of reflective statements, we’re going to do a deep dive on student learning reflective statements.
When writing a reflective statement related to supporting student learning, you must be able to answer this question, ‘How have I supported student learning?’
Student learning is dependent on a number of factors, such as social and physical environment, curriculum, personal understanding and initiative, teacher’s skill, and style of teaching. The challenge the teacher faces is to create an environment that does not hinder, but supports the inherent ability of students to learn.
While writing a reflective statement on student learning, there are certain areas or questions that must be discussed. These areas are:
What did I do?
Consider including the following types of examples:
- Activities incorporated into lesson time
- Classroom management strategies
- New strategies to explain a difficult concept
- Positive behavior management strategies
- Activities or strategies to increase student concentration, participation, and engagement
You can also include anything else you incorporated into your classroom practice that improved student learning.
How did I assess student learning?
Describe the methods you used to assess student learning in the classroom using some of these examples:
- Observation and questioning strategies
- Paper-pencil tests (multiple choice and short answers)
- Group discussions
- Paired discussions
- Problem-solving activities
- Summary writing
- Question-answer session
What were student reactions?
Include descriptions such as:
- How the students reacted to the new activities and strategies you incorporated in the classroom. For instance, did it create a positive or negative impact?
- Reasons for their reaction
- What you can change or modify to create a positive impact
What was the impact on early assessments?
Here you describe:
- The results of student assessments
- How the outcomes of the assessment compare with previous assessments
What was the impact on other subjects?
If the strategies you employed for a particular subject made a positive impact on any other subject, write briefly about it in the reflective statement. For e.g. dividing students into groups for classroom management has proved beneficial for math class also where students learn better while working out difficult problems in groups.
How did it impact student motivation?
Write about whether your new activities and strategies have enhanced student motivation or not. You could assess motivation by:
- Test results
- Student responses
- Student participation
What are my new goals in this course?
Based on your experience with the new strategies and how they impacted student learning, you can formulate new goals based on student assessment. Formulate new goals through:
- Peer observation
- Mentoring, etc.
New goals may include:
– Incorporation of new activities and strategies
– Modification of strategies
– Change in assessment plan
Mrs. Jennifer is a third-grade science teacher and wants to record her reflective statement on how she supported student learning in the past 5 years:
My professional growth in the past five years has a lot to do with developing strategies to support student learning in the classroom. I realized early on that by knowing myself as a teacher and understanding my subject area, I create an environment that encourages my students to learn. Looking through my journal I was able to understand that the physical and social environment of a classroom is directly related to student learning. If the environment provides distractions then learning is hindered, whereas if the environment is modified then it creates an atmosphere where students are engaged and learn better. Arranging the seating in my classroom so that students could sit in groups rather than all face the front was one effort to manage the class by changing the environment. I explained to my students that though it would be difficult at first, they would enjoy sitting in groups as time went by. I explained to them the benefits of peer tutoring and collaborative learning so they could understand the importance of the change we were making. Although there were issues in the beginning, this change has proven to be a great way to engage my students, increase participation and reduce disruptive behavior.
While I was reflecting on my new arrangement, I realized my traditional lecture method may not work very well. Also, it was very difficult to get the children to listen to me for more than ten minutes at a stretch. So, I added activities as part of the lesson. My most favorite was the science activity I did with them. They were allowed to use computers and other resources to create a simple database including the animals and birds in their locality. This particular activity opened my eyes to what my students are capable of and helped me realize I needed to give them opportunities like these. During the one week that we conducted the activity, students were very excited and could hardly wait for science class! I have decided that I will incorporate more activities into my lessons. I would like to keep the interest and enthusiasm alive in my students.
Around two years ago I attended a workshop that focused on encouraging open communication between the teacher and students. I realized that this is essential for promoting student learning. Open communication leads to trust and a student needs to trust me to learn from me. If students feel I don’t actively listen to them, there is a very good chance that they will shut me out when I’m talking or they might try being disruptive. In order to promote communication in my classroom, I allotted the last 30 minutes before school ended for a time of “meeting”. Using a ‘talking stick’ students were allowed to share about their day, what they enjoyed and what issues they faced. This was a real breakthrough because a lot of issues I was unaware of came up during this time. I kept notes as students talked and later reflected on the issues and considered feasible solutions. This practice has really helped both me and my students to be open with each other and we have formed a relationship where we both respect each other.
I can say with conviction that reflective teaching has truly helped me grow professionally and I can see the impact it has had on my teaching through the performance of my students. I will continue to plan and prepare and find ways to make my classroom a place where students enjoy learning!
Although you may begin writing a reflective statement to fulfill certain state or school requirements, by the end of it you will realize how much it has helped you as a teacher. Take the time to sit down, reflect and write about all that you have accomplished in the past five years. This will help you understand how much you have grown as a teacher and how much your teaching has impacted student learning. Reflective statements have proven to be worthwhile tools to assess a teacher’s professional growth. This process paves the way for teachers to formulate new goals for the future so that they can focus on student learning, continuous improvement and their own lifelong education.
Learn more about reflective teaching practices with online continuing education from Professional Learning Board.
About the Author
Ellen Paxton is a respected expert in education and best known as the Chief Learning Officer of Professional Learning Board. As a two-time National Board Certified Teacher, Ellen has successfully published and customized online professional development courses and Learning Management Systems for 20 years to help teachers meet their state continuing education renewal credit requirements. Through ProfessionalLearningBoard.com, RenewaTeachingLicense.com, and ConnectedPD.com. Ellen has established solutions and maintained partnerships with several accredited universities, higher education institutions, teachers’ unions and state Departments of Education while setting strategic direction that makes a difference and overseeing implementation of popular online PD.