Good learners make good teachers

Seonaid Chio

As teachers, our love of learning compels us to be our best. I believe that teachers should continually strive to gain new knowledge and understanding, just as they ask their students to do.  Every day we work with students is an opportunity to develop our practice, an ethos which is strongly embedded at Grimwade House.

Our emphasis is on reflective practice which is research-driven, and based on evidence that proves how effective this tool can be in the classroom. We use reflective teaching because we know it makes a difference to the way our students learn.  

Even without the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, our classrooms are quite different to how they existed 10 years ago. It’s safe to assume that in another decade, even another five years, our practice will again be different.

Building a culture that prioritises reflective teaching practice is crucial to our continued ability to keep pace with these changes. Regularly taking stock of what connects with our students, and where we could improve our approach, prompts us to question our assumptions and break our habits.

As we reflect on our practice, it is always useful to compare notes with others. Amongst my colleagues, there is very likely someone who can offer a new solution, or a new perspective on a classroom challenge. In this way, collaboration goes hand-in-hand with reflective teaching.

When students see their teachers engaging in this work of reflection, it demonstrates that feedback is a positive thing. Recently, we have built student-led feedback processes into lessons. That is, in teaching students how to write a passage, a teacher might ask ‘how could I improve this passage I have written?’. These simple conversations are a way to make thinking visible, and to show students that openly discussing how we can improve as learners is a skill that benefits us all.

The view that we can continue to learn throughout our lives opens up opportunities for all of us. The fact is, everything we do can be a learning experience, as long as we choose to view it that way.  In the story Wonder by R J Palacio, Mr Brown shared precepts with his students to encourage them to be their best. As Head of Teaching and Learning my precept for the teachers at Grimwade House is ‘I have yet to teach my best lesson’.

Seonaid Chio
Head of Teaching and Learning at Grimwade House