Reflection is what allows us to learn from our experiences: it is an assessment of where we have been and where we want to go next.”
– Kenneth Wolf
Thanks to contributor Casie Millhouse-Singh, Casie is an American gymnastics coach with over 20 years of experience in the sport as both gymnast, coach and judge. Currently, she is coaching for the Singapore American Community Action Council, better known as SACAC, gymnastics program. She is elected as Singapore Gymnastics Women’s Artistic Gymnastics Recreational Pathway Technical Leader and is also a Singapore National judge. You can follow her blog at: COACH CASIE
Reflection is the process of looking at something in order to review it. When we are in the middle of our gymnastics lessons, we have to make quick decisions, as there is no time to stop and think. When we reflect on the lessons afterwards we are able to think about the decisions we made and decide whether or not they were suitable. We can decide if we would like to make the same decisions again in the same circumstances or if there are better ways of handling it.
In other words, we should question ourselves critically in an unbiased way. Keep an open mind and avoid letting personal feelings get in the way. Try adding space for reflections in your lesson plan templates with the following questions:
- Did the children seem bored with any activity?
- Were the children actively involved and eager participants?
- Did the children seem interested in the activities?
- Did I struggle to get co-operation from the children?
- Did they finish the task much quicker than what you anticipated?
- Did they struggle to finish in the allocated time?
- Did they enjoy the activities/skills and ask for it to be repeated? Which ones?
- Did everything go as planned?
- Which activities would you not recommend in the future?
Do reflections as soon after the activity has been completed as possible so that your ideas and observations are still fresh in your mind.
Reflection is often neglected because we think it takes too much of our precious time. We may also avoid it because we feel that we have failed or not done well. We need to always balance the strengths and the weaknesses, and asked ourselves what aspects worked and what aspects did not work. In this way, we can prevent ourselves from making the same mistakes over again and improve or teaching practice.