3 tips to help inspire self-reflection in teachers

How a district administrator helped his teachers collaborate and improve their practice

As the supervisor of instruction in Haddon Township School District in New Jersey, I would love to be able to give my teachers feedback every week. Feedback is a crucial factor for growth and progress, especially for teachers, who are often starved for outside input on their classroom practice. The challenge is that I have 200 teachers in my district, so offering them detailed, individual coaching on a weekly basis simply isn’t feasible. It is feasible, however, for my teachers to give each other this type of frequent feedback.

To bring this idea to life, this year I have been piloting a collaborative reflection program with a few of my teachers. Here are three key lessons that we’ve learned so far.

Pair teachers who have a common goal.

A second- and third-grade teacher are collaborating, as well as two English teachers in the high school. Each pair has a common goal or problem they wish to solve. The elementary teachers are instituting new writing and mathematics programs, so it was a natural fit to investigate the vertical articulation and make sure the level of rigor across grade levels was appropriate. The English teachers are both new to our district this year. One has prior teaching experience, while the other one is brand new to teaching, so it was beneficial to pair two people who were new and who were teaching the same thing in order to share ideas across a common curriculum.

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