Up Your Training Game: How Reflection Will Supercharge Your Training Sessions
Teaching and training can be immensely difficult, but it can also be immensely rewarding.
When it comes to delivering a session or a training programme, it is all too easy to get hung up on the process of your students to the extent that you forget to consider your own performance.
Reflecting on your teaching is a valuable tool that will make you aware of how you are teaching and subsequently allow you to make changes that take your training sessions to a whole new level.
Reflecting regularly on your teaching and then taking action to switch up your style as a result of that reflection can really set you apart from the competition.
How to Reflect
Reflecting on your teaching sessions is so much more than asking yourself: Did that lesson go well or not?
That question is an entirely subjective one and the answer can vary when viewed through your eyes and through the eyes or your students or an observe.
To reflect effectively, you should develop a set of questions to ask yourself following each lesson you deliver. And the great thing about this is it works whether you are standing in front of a class or teaching through eLearning platforms.
Some examples of questions you can ask yourself include:
- How did the learners respond to that session?
- Did they engage in a meaningful way with the lesson?
- What worked well?
- What didn’t work well?
- How do I know what my students have learned?
- Do the class work well together?
- What could I do differently?
If you find this too difficult to do from memory after each lesson, it may be worth taking a video of your lesson. Watching it back can be really valuable as you will be able to relive the learner engagement, how the class worked together, and pick up on any habits that you may wish to adjust in the future.
You may also find it useful to ask your students to give you feedback following a lesson. The key to doing this effectively is to reassure your students that any feedback they give can be submitted anonymously. Stress to them that you are looking to grow and develop in order to support them. Then, when the feedback does arise – don’t take it too personally! Realise that your students are giving you ideas and information on how to make your sessions more engaging and productive, not just looking to criticise you.
When to Reflect
Opportunities to reflect come about at different points, so always be open to reflect on your teaching throughout the day.
To begin, you may want to take a set amount of time following each lesson to reflect. This can be in the form of a journal, or keeping notes by using the questions above.
As you become more adept at reflection it may be that you can apply it within the classroom.
For example, if an aspect of a lesson isn’t going so well, you may want to reflect on that briefly within the lesson and then consider ending the activity early or changing up your lesson plan. All of your plans should be flexible enough to accommodate changes like this within the classroom and there is absolutely nothing wrong with throwing a task out of the window by cutting it short or changing it in a certain way mid-teach.
This may feel scary, but it will actually make you a more effective teacher. Not every class is the same and different circumstances can arise which means you have to think on your feet. For this, reflection is an absolutely necessary thing to partake in to get your lessons back on track, or even have the awareness that you need to try something new.
By actively taking part in reflection, whether that be by asking feedback, through your own reflection, or being observed by peers, you can strengthen your teaching style and create more ‘good’ days than ‘bad’. Not only will you see the benefit of this, but your learners will too. And better results means happier students who are more likely to refer your services to friends and colleagues in the future.