The Models of Class Reflection and Its Role in Education

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An essential quality for a teacher is to be able to reflect on their own practice. This skill is important as it increases and improves the learner’s performance. It is an ability which enables a practitioner to reflect on action in order to encourage the process of continuous learning. It is important for a reflective practitioner to ensure that the surrounding environments of the classroom are nurturing, therefore, it must coincide with the school’s curriculum and pedagogies. The first part of this assignment will define the key terms and a discussion of the relevant models will take place. The second part of this assignment will focus on a reflection model in order to reflect on behaviour strategies used during the professional practice for all children. The third part of the assignment will critically analyse the lessons that have been learnt from that professional practice and then propose a new reflective model.

Define And Discuss The Term Critical Incident

A critical incident is a problem that occurs which is not within the ordinary routine of the teacher (Joshi, 2018). However, Trip (2012), stated that a critical incident can also be defined as a part of your professional practice that went well. Nevertheless, it has been suggested by Pui‐lan, et al, (2005), that it is important to discuss and share a critical incident in order to promote reflection and gain valuable insight into why these types of problems happen. Therefore, this will allow a practitioner to create a reasonable action that will be based upon the critical incident that has already occurred, thus, allowing teachers to respond in a more appropriate manner to situations that may happen in the future. In contrast, Shapira-Lishchinsky (2011) stated a critical incident to be an unpleasurable situation which has been experienced by a practitioner. However, a critical incident may not be an event that causes significant tension, but, a minor mishap that occurs in everyday school life (Shapira-Lishchinsky, 2011). Angelides, (2001) argued that the critical incident should be significant and meaningful, in order to reflect appropriately. When a critical incident occurs it is important to recognise the similarities that may happen in the future, without taking the relevant steps into resolving the issue this could have a detrimental effect to a teachers professional development (Shapira-Lishchinsky, 2011). Richards and Farrell (2005), suggested critical incidents to be reflected on in a formal manner. In contrast, Farrell (2008) stated reflecting on a critical incident in a formal manner consists of describing and explaining what happened. Overall, Tripp (2012), highlighted, that the descriptive phase of the reflection process to be normal, however, when analysed it then becomes a critical incident.

Define And Discuss The Term Reflective Practice

Reflecting as a teacher is a great method for noticing improvements during teacher education (Purcell, 2013). Larrivee (2004), stated there to be four different levels when reflecting, pre-reflection, surface reflection, pedagogical reflection and critical reflection. Pre-reflection is the ability to react automatically without considering alternate methods (Larrivee, 2004). Surface reflection focusses on strategies it takes to reach the end goal (Larrivee, 2004). Pedagogical reflection allows the practitioner to use their knowledge and beliefs surrounding the quality of their practice (Larrivee, 2004). Critical reflection allows the teacher to consider the morals and ethics within a classroom in order to decipher the consequences towards their students (Larrivee, 2004). In contrast, reflection is key to helping trainee teachers develop a good habit of reflective practice in order to learn from their experiences (Buster and Peterson, 2013). However, Buster and Peterson (2013) also suggest that the way a person reflects may have an impact on the outcome of the critical incident. In contrast to this, Valli (1992) stated that when individual struggles to reflect on their teaching, they may become limited to their ability to make the necessary changes in order to prevent the same situation happening in the future. Lasley (1992), outlined the importance of reflecting as a teacher, stating it to be the ability to be self-critical about classroom practice. However, Cole and Knowles (2000) suggested reflection to be a continuous process of exploring and refining the pedagogical, intellectual and ethical aspects surrounding the profession. Overall, Reagan et al. (2000) believe that reflection is a process that is an ongoing spiral whereby all elements within the reflective practice is always an interactive progression of developing and change.

Models Of Reflection

There are many different models of reflection, they each identify the attributes of what a reflective practitioner is (Thorpe, 2004). There are six main models of reflection highlighted below:

Schon (1983) Model of Reflection

Schon (1983) based his work upon the reflective practice from previous theorist Dewey (1952). Schon (1983) states his model of reflection to outline the theory of working practice that accounts for many realities that practitioners face in their day to day life (Scales, 2012). Schon (1983) states reflective practice to be knowing in action. Schon’s idea of reflection is built upon reflection in action and reflection on action (Finlay, 2008). Reflection in action allows practitioners to explore their own experiences and respond in a manner in which they happen (Schon, 1983). On the other hand, reflection on action is seen to be conscious and purposeful progress that happens in the aftermath of an event, thus, gaining valuable insights into the improvements that could be made in the future (Mejerdirk, 2016). Schon (1983) suggested that reflection in action may become outdated and said reflection on action would avoid this, as it looks back on the earlier findings in a (WORD) analytical way. This resulted in an evaluation to take place which looked back at the actions that occurred and suggested what could have happened if the events were to happen in a different way (Schon, 1983).

Kolb (1984) Model of Reflection

Kolb (1984) stated his model of reflection to be based around experimental learning, suggesting that it allows constructive thinking to take place during practice. It was then named The Experimental Learning Cycle (INSERT REF). The cycle consists of four separate parts that each discusses how you learn from your experience (Clark, 2008). However, every stage must be completed in the correct order for the learner to be successful in their training. The first part of the cycle encourages the trainee to embrace a new experience, this allows them to learn and reflect on their experience when necessary (Fig 2). The second part of the cycle recommends the learner to observe in order to reflect on the experience which then leads to the third part that then encourages the learner to think about the implications it can have on new situations that may occur during the concluding phase. Nevertheless, the trainee is then able to make links between the theory and practical aspects which revert to the theory surrounding the reflection model (Kolb, 1984).

Gibbs (1988) Model of Reflection

Gibbs (1988) suggests in his model of reflection it explains that reflective practice is where practitioners reflect on the normal way of thinking and the responses that are given in a critical situation. When reflecting on its own it is not enough, however, it is the action that is taken which provides the solution (Jasper, 2003). Similarly, Jasper (2003) also states that learning to put new knowledge and new understanding into practice allows the process of reflection to form. Gibbs (1988) Model of reflection lets reflective practitioners critically analyse then evaluate their own practice and provide the necessary steps to make improvements. Gibbs (1988) presents his reflective cycle as (Fig 1) six sections within reflection that allows the trainee teacher to describe the situation, analyse the feelings, evaluate the experience they have had and conclude, thus, creating an action plan to show what would happen if the situation was to happen again (NHS, 2006).

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Advantages Of Reflective Practice

Reflecting on critical incidents are key for continuing professional development (Atwal and Jones, 2009). Driscoll (2006) suggests reflective practice to be significant to all professionals. Similarly, Driscoll (2006) also states that being committed to reflecting, helps to improve trainees continuous development. Nevertheless, Atwal and Jones (2009) argue reflective practice to encourage self-awareness of what they are doing as trainees, thus, allowing trainees to develop their personal and professional development.

However, there are many benefits to reflection; one of which being, it enables trainees to share their thoughts with other professionals (Chapman et al, 2008). Chapman et al, (2008) argue that this also allows trainees to challenge in critical situations and improve their professional relationships with others. Another advantage to reflective practice is that it allows the practice to be criticised in order to improve the quality in their professional development. Stewart et al, (2000) state criticising while on practice will also allow developmental areas to be highlighted in order to improve their professional development. Overall, Zuzelo (2009) suggests that when a trainee reflects it enables them to understand stimulating and complex issues whilst on professional practice, therefore, this provides the trainee with the encouragement that learning is a continuous process.

Disadvantages To Reflective Practice

There are some disadvantages to reflective practice, White (2003) states that it can be seen as a response in connection to a negative situation. According to Smyth (2004), a barrier in reflective practice for trainees is that it is time consuming due to the fast-paced environment that a trainee works in. However, it is argued that some workplaces do not use reflective practice, because, of the lack of interest in reflecting on incidents (Workforce Support, 2010). Nevertheless, Workforce Support (2010) suggest that many trainees do no know how to reflect during a critical situation due to the lack of knowledge they have sustained surrounding reflective practice. Overall, White (2003) argues that many trainees are fixated and bias in that reflection can be seen as a difficulty and it could be argued that it is a learnt skill.

The model that will be discussed in this assignment is Gibbs (1988) reflective cycle. This is because Gibbs (1988) reflective cycle encourages the practitioner to think systematically about the incidents that have been experienced (Cottrell, 2003). Gibbs (1988) Reflective Cycle provides a clear structure that should be followed in very precise steps, description, analysis and evaluating the incident that has occurred, thus, encouraging the trainee to examine their practice. Ghaye and Lyllyman (2006) suggest Gibbs (1988) Reflective Cycle to be ideal for the negative experiences that a trainee may experience. In contrast, it is also emphasised that the strengths of this reflective model allow the trainee to describe the experience, how it made them feel and what action they will take in order to prevent it from happening again. Gibbs (1988) believes that taking action when a critical incident occurs enables the trainee to formulate their action plan and refer back to their experience in order to reflect and improve their practice.

My Critical Incident

My phase one teaching practice began in a Primary School in Manchester City Centre, where I was based in a year three classroom. I was learning how to teach Mathematics to a diverse, ethnic group of children whom all had English as a Second Language. In the classroom, I had two teaching assistants and the class teacher. During the early stages of my placement, I delivered small parts of the Mathematical lessons alongside my class teacher. The incident happened during the first lesson on a Monday morning. I planned the starter to deliver to the children, this linked to Teacher Standard (TS) 4 of planning and teaching well-structured lessons. The lesson was based on multiplication, specifically teaching the column method. However, whilst instructing the class of what I would like them to do, Child A began to cause disruption amongst the class by shouting out and not raising his hand to answer questions. I implemented TS7, this was addressed with a warning to Child A. I implemented the behaviour policy which stated, that every child who misbehaved would receive a warning if spoken to again their name was then written on the board under the sad face. If they were to be spoken to for the third time a tick would be marked next to their name, this would represent that the child should receive a time out in order to think about their actions. A fourth tick was placed if the child continued to misbehave and this indicated that the child was removed from the class and placed in the year five classroom. The classroom teacher then had to intervene and didn’t allow me to carry on with my lesson, she removed Child A from my classroom and he was placed into year five. I then began to question whether I did the right thing and if what I did was the correct way to go forward.


Before the situation I felt happy and excited to be delivering my first lesson, I felt as though I was fulfilling my purpose. I felt taken aback and unnerved by how I should have dealt with this incident. I was also saddened and worried that I wasn't respected as a teacher by the class, because, this incident made me feel worthless. I felt as though I had let down Child A and embarrassed at my ability to control low-level disruption. It then left me feeling worried and distressed about my upcoming lessons and how I would cope with teaching them as I began to feel anxious and nervous about implementing the behaviour policy. I felt judged by the other adults in the classroom as though I wasn't good enough to implement the correct procedures for carrying out the behaviour policy. After reflecting on the situation, it is then that I realised I could have prevented the incident from happening and decided that it was important to ensure that this incident didn't happen again.


Once the incident had happened, it was important that I spoke with the class teacher and projected my thoughts about how I felt about the incident that had occurred. She assured me that everything I did was fine and gave me tips of what I could do for future practice. The negatives that came from my experience were the way the classroom teacher handled the situation, this made me feel inadequate as a teacher and led me to question why I was on the course. The positives which came from my experience were that I was able to recognise what went wrong, which then led me to think about the things I could have done differently. Here I believe I implemented TS8 to fulfil the wider world, I felt as though I took it upon myself to improve my teaching by seeking and responding to advise and feedback from colleagues. It made me realise that I am confident in what I do and the love for teaching that I have was important in completing the course. One thing that went well during my lesson was promoting a love of learning. By implementing TS4 I believe this to be very important as it keeps the child engaged and encourages them to learn. One thing that I wish I could have changed would be how I was reluctant to accept the advice and feedback from the classroom teacher. This is because I felt upset by the way she had taken over my lesson and made me feel belittled.


My experience could have been more positive if I was more confident to implement the behaviour policy. I feel as though I wasn’t given a chance to try and use their policy myself, therefore I didn’t feel as though I was a valued member of staff. Nevertheless, the situation allowed me to take a step back and realise that the class teacher was there to support me and building a strong relationship with her was important. Jackson (1999) states that positive relationships are key to having a successful professional placement. To conclude I realised that I needed to develop some skills in order to be successful in my professional development. The first skill needed to be developed is confidence, it is important for a teacher to be confident because this will allow lessons to be effective and minimise classroom management issues. Another skill to be developed would be effective discipline skills, this is something which needs to be worked on by myself in order to become a successful teacher. This is because being able to discipline effectively allows the students to behave in a positive way.

Action Plan

To prevent the same situation from happening again in the future, I will build a strong relationship with the class teacher. This will allow me to have confidence when implementing the behaviour policy that the school has as I will not feel that I am not a valued member of staff. I will do this by talking to my class teacher more openly about my lessons, stating what went well and what I could improve on. However, if the situation was to occur again I would know the relevant steps to take to stop it from happening. Firstly, I will read the behaviour policy associated with the school and write down notes on how to implement it properly. Secondly, I will use the behaviour policy in a critical situation. Afterwards, I will begin with the first step which was a warning. Then, if the child continues to misbehave, I will first try and figure out what the reason to this might be, if this fails then I will follow through with the second step which is writing their name on the white board under the sad face. Next, I will if the behaviour isn't rectified then I will implement the next step and a tick will be written next to their name. This indicates a time out if after time out the child is still misbehaving another tick will be placed next to the child's name. This indicates removal from their class to a year five class. My aim is to not reach the final stage of their behaviour policy as I feel like this creates negativity upon the child. Instead, I will create positive reinforcement and focus on positive behaviour rather than the negative.

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