Self Reflection for improving personal and professional competence

As a trainer for school principals and teachers I always ask this question to my audience, how many of you reflect on your practices? How many of you introspect your own strengths and weaknesses and work to improve yourself. Surprisingly just a handful says yes, the condition being availability of time. Reflecting on one’s work is key to success.



As practitioners we need to ask ourselves

  • How can we refine our practices to offer the best education possible?
  • How can we deepen our understanding of how, our children learn in a world, that is rapidly changing and progressing?

The theory of reflective practice was elucidated by Donald Schon, who emphasized on reflective practice by the practitioners.  It is more important in education settings to enable the practitioners to reach the highest state of thinking that enhances the skills of taking effective decisions to improve performances.  His ideas ignited the imaginations of many working people in the public services and have influenced practices around the world in seeking to improve these.

Teacher education colleges emphasize more on the assimilation of course content that is full of learning theories and teaching methodologies. The trainees may understand them as content but are not actually knowledgeable about the implications of content on their own practices. The trainees are neither oriented nor trained on self-reflection which is as important as any other compulsory and elective subjects.

Lead through Reflection...

Lead through Reflection…

Reflection is an important human activity in which people recapture their experience, think about it, mull over & evaluate it. It is this working with experience that is important in learning. Ancient Indian Education system describes this as Nidhi Dhyasanam (Contemplation), the third essential step in learning process, stimulating higher order thinking skills. The first two are, Sravanam (Reading/listening) and Mananam (Understanding).

Teaching is the only profession where mindsets and attitudes develop in closed classroom transactions and interactions; therefore it becomes necessary for every teacher to reflect on his personal and professional attributes and competence that has a direct bearing on the individualities of students.

Teachers feel that self reflecting doesn’t change anything because they are either listening to their governing board, management, parents or students and that their work is directly related to the expectations of the managing boards. In such a scenario teachers should step back and think deeply, in fact, reflection should be a part of all teachers’ repertoires.



There are several physical, practical and psychological barriers to self-reflection nonetheless it is a process which will aid the teaching faculty in improving their performances and help them to better their classes in many ways that will positively impact the student outcomes.

The teaching community tries to pass the buck on lack of facilities, resources and support that leads to poor attainment levels.  However, once they contemplate on the process they will surely agree that self-reflection actually

  • Expands the understanding of the teaching / learning process
  • Empowers the class teacher to take control of his class and learning process
  • Enlarges the range of teaching to make it more connective and engaging
  • Enables the implementation of learner centric teaching methods

Surely enough, teachers do not need great school buildings, ICT enabled infrastructure, well-behaved students, great parental support or heavy pay cheques to reflect.

Self reflection can happen anywhere and anytime provided the teachers have the interest, attitude and liking for self and others, that motivate them to introspect on how well they are doing?

Ms Anitha Jagathkar, Project Manager

CfBT Education Services, India

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  1. My Learning Experiences so far | Tammy's Blog

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