Reflecting on Professional Learning - Vignettes

As part of their everyday practice, teachers continually reflect on teaching and learning, and on school life in its broadest sense. They do this individually or collaboratively, using varying techniques, and may record these reflections in equally varying ways. In engaging with the development of Cosán, you are encouraged to reflect on your engagement in profession learning, and the impact of this on your practice. Engagement in the process is entirely voluntary for schools and teachers.

The vignettes below offer some examples to support teachers in considering how they might reflect on their professional learning and its impact on their practice, and how they might gather and/or share these reflections where appropriate.

In reading any of the vignettes below, teachers might consider:

  • The professional learning process/area in which the teacher is engaged
  • How the teacher reflects on their professional learning
  • How the teacher considers the impact of their professional learning

How the teacher gathers and/or shares their reflections.

Vignette #1

Sarah is a primary teacher and is currently teaching 3rd Class. She is also a member of the school’s Professional Support Team for Droichead. Her role as a mentor has offered a range of opportunities for professional learning. In reflecting on this experience at varying points in the year she used a What? So what? Now what? reflective frame. She recorded responses to these questions (intermittently) as part of her Cuntas Míosúil. She has also shared feedback on her learning with the other PST members, and with other mentors during NIPT shared learning sessions.

Vignette #2

Darren is teaching mathematics and physics in a post-primary school. Given the diversity in his classes he undertook independent reading on differentiation and effective inclusion strategies. He also asked the special education team to team-teach some lessons so as to model instructions and questioning for students. In reflecting on this learning experience he engaged in a series of professional conversations with the special education team. As evidence of the impact of this experience, he considered samples of student work, his classroom planning, and notes from his conversations with colleagues. With the special education team he decided to share his experience and successful differentiation strategies with the wider staff as part of a staff meeting.

Vignette #3

Louise is a post-primary English teacher who along with some other colleagues in her subject department has set up a sharing group via an online platform, to share examples of good practice, resources, reading material etc. She has reflected on this learning experience via written commentary on the platform, and through professional conversations as part of department meetings. When considering the impact of their learning, the group use samples of student work, and ongoing planning. The group have decided to share some examples of good practice and their reflections on these, with the wider staff, via the staff intranet.

Vignette #4

Brian is teaching in a special class for children with autism spectrum disorder. He has undertaken a range of professional learning programmes to support his practice. In reflecting on these experiences he uses Evernote as he already uses the app to store resources and materials from the learning opportunities. He uploads images from his practice demonstrating the impact of his learning e.g. photos of teacher-designed tasks, and accompanies these with short written or audio narratives. He uses these reflections to inform his ongoing planning, and has the option of sharing them with the principal as part of his Cuntas Míosúil.

Vignette #5

Michelle is a media teacher, currently teaching in an institute of further education. Her school has undertaken a whole-school initiative to explore a range of innovative pedagogical strategies that can work across departments. Staff members have committed to exploring one strategy with colleagues, via reading and professional conversations, and exploring how this works in practice. They reflect on this in their discussions, and also via a shared digital repository where they can upload collaborative reflections on their learning and the impact of this on practice. These reflections are visual, written or multi-media. The pedagogy groups are also allotted brief time-slots at staff meetings during the year to share their learning, and the impact of this, with the wider staff.