Reflection on delivering a CPD session: one

Drafting a blog post this morning is reminding me of why I’ve been struggling with blogging this year. I start with one idea, and then several hundred words later I’ve wandered off on so many tangents I struggle to pull it back into a meaningful post.So here one of what I think will be a series of posts.Background
I am an occasional teacher on the Cambridge DTE(E)LLS course, where over the 18 months I deliver 5 sessions around CPD & reflective practice. On the first course I was given the (slightly tongue in cheek) nickname of Cathy ‘reflection’ Clarkson. I really wanted to give the trainees a good experience of the importance of being a reflective practitioner, something that I didn’t experience myself on the ITT.

This week was the last of these 5 sessions, where we review CPD activities undertaken, reference these back to their action plans and consider possible future CPD activities

Reflection using the Conscious Competencies model http://changingminds.org/explanations/learning/consciousness_competence.htm

Consciously competent: In this session I planned for the trainees to draw on their own practice, and own awareness of this, and by creating opportunities for discussion build on this and make it ‘conscious’ for them. During the session, as I was listening to the trainees & observing them undertaking the activities I was consciously making decisions about focusing discussions, drawing on points they were making & suggesting links to their practice. I really enjoy the student-centred, bottom-up, material-light approach to teaching and feedback from the trainees suggest this worked well for them.

Linking this back to an overarching aim of these sessions, to provide a positive experience of what it means to be a reflective practitioner, I feel I am becoming increasingly more conscious of how I can achieve this.

Unconsciously competent: when I planned the lesson, I hadn’t actually thought about using this model in the session. It was only through the discussions that the idea came to me to introduce this and it ended up, for me, to be a key aspect of the session. It really allowed me to keep the discussions focused and positive, and to demonstrate that each stage is equal and how I see myself as somewhere in each stage.

Consciously incompetent: the irony of doing a session with a focus on the importance of planning and justifying that planning is that it is still something that sends shivers down my spine. Had this been an observed session, my planning was thin to say the least – we ended up doing things that were not planned and then omitting things I had planned, yet I am tasked with assessing others with aspects of teaching and learning that I question is of real value to improving the experience of the students.

Unconsciously incompetent: I have never considered getting feedback from the students in any real structured way (the exception was asking for feedback after the online session, but even here I felt the way I did it didn’t really give the trainees the opportunity to be honest as I led the feedback) So, it was from my wanderings round the #fslt12 blogs that I stumbled across Brookfield’s Critical Incident Questionnaire. With a quick adaption, I gave it to the trainees and the feedback was really interesting. (post to follow)

Conclusion
I work hard to draw on my own experiences (as a reflective practitioner) in the classroom, and while I don’t like to think I present myself as an exemplar, I do think that I can act as a ‘role model’ to demonstrate and enthuse about the value of it. I try to personalise the theory for the trainees, to make this more accessible so that they gain an understanding that it is more than anecdotal and there is an evidenced- based reason for them developing their reflective skills.

It’s also never ending, and this is what I like about the Conscious Competencies model. I think it is possible to see yourself somewhere in each stage for different aspects of your teaching, and use this to inform what areas you need to consolidate and develop.

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