Essay on Self-Reflection and Peer Review

Published: 2021/11/29
Number of words: 2390

Students and authors delivered teachings in the peer group. Members of the group assumed different roles at a time, such as student role, clinical educator, and peer observer roles. This paper will discuss the impacts of peer feedback and self-reflection on improving teaching. Numerous authors have indicated that teachers do not embark on improving their teaching practices after understanding their weaknesses or after reviewing student’s analyses and ratings and unaided feedbacks on their performance in the teaching practice (Smither et al., 2005). Furthermore, unaided feedback is attributed to negative emotional aspects among the teachers characterized by defensiveness and denial, which hinder reflection (Overeem et al., 2009). Unaided feedback is also attributed to behavioral change among teachers (Sargeant et al., 2008). Behavioral change and emotional changes due to unaided feedback can be alleviated by regulating and facilitating feedback to encourage the teachers to participate in positive reflection on their teaching activities (Smither et al., 2005). Peer groups and self-assessment are the conventional methods of enhancing feedback to the teachers (Tigelaar et al., 2008).

Peer Feedback and Self-reflection on Teaching

The reflective practice incorporates professional activities, thus encouraging the generation of diverse knowledge from the general life aspects such as assumptions, beliefs, practices, and personal experiences. Other authors such as Hubball et al. (2005) and Tate et al. (2004) also incorporate this perspective in their description and meaning of reflective activity, where they define they describe this practice as critical consideration and thorough questioning of the daily activities of individuals, the effective and ineffective practices and ideas based on the professional, personal and theoretical levels. A model known as the Korythagens ALACT model, recommends a three-stage process to enhance reflection following a particular activity or event. The three stages of this process include reviewing the action performed, awareness of crucial features, and coming up with other methods of action (Korthagen & Vasalos, 2005). Developing different solutions or actions is an essential characteristic of reflection. Teachers’ reflection on their daily activities encourages them to modify the negative aspects of the operations and maintain the positive aspects noted in the events (Watts & Lawson, 2009).

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The authors’ utilized a wide range of learning materials to research and derive knowledge and ideas to link theory and various practices. The real-life situations were adopted and acted as part of the discussion in the classroom to strengthen the self-reflection element to link the two aspects, theory and practice. Various activities in the school were developed to put students in a virtual practice setting, promoting their understanding of the unknown activity settings, and employing the theory in real-world scenarios. Various professionals carry out research activities in different educational fields, which they have specialized in, thus enriching the literature that other learners rely on. The student’s reliance on the knowledge from authors influences their practice aspects, making this a complete cycle (Lubbe, 2020).

In the modern world where there is great involvement of dynamic technology, the learning and teaching context has also changed to match the technological changes. The technologies have eliminated the previous challenging designs and plans for learning and teaching in various institutions. Individuals now use technology in various instances where necessary to learn about multiple aspects someone needs. The technology also aids individuals in presenting their various ideas through modern ways, such as using videos. Even though technology plays a significant role in learning practices, the authors could not denounce the importance of using a pen and paper to enhance modern learning practices. Students are highly reliant on emerging technology, and most of their activities involve the use of technology to serve different purposes in a particular environment. High reliance on technology has affected many individuals concentration, making most of them to lose focus on the primary activities. For instance, the students multitask while in the lecture halls by using their computers and smartphones and, at the same time listening to their lecturers.

We, therefore, decided to include technology and technological devices such as smartphones in the learning process. We also scheduled the activities of the students to be short and specific to make this process effective. Kinesthetic events or pen and paper activities later followed, requiring all individuals to participate actively. Innovative assessment techniques, such as website development and the making of digital stories to enhance active learning, also indicated instances of technology incorporation in the teaching methods. Technology also promoted the development of new ideas to improve the standard practices to match the lecturer’s perspectives. Technology lets the lectures embrace other means of presenting their lectures and testing new techniques and ideas, hence elevating students’ learning capability (Lubbe, 2020).

A feedback enabling tactic made up of the self-assessment, reflection, and feedback reports enhanced critical and dialogic reflections. Boerboom et al. (2011) indicate that peer groups strengthen the reflection and aid in the development of other plans aimed at initiating changes in the learning process. The outcomes of this review are related to other outcomes generated by other authors in various studies (McLeod & Steinert, 2009), indicating that peer meetings have fewer impacts on people’s self-reflection. Self-reflection plays different roles in learning when incorporated as a component of self-study. Self-reflection enriches individual learning as well as group learning, where the individuals learn from the previous happenings and adjust accordingly depending on whether the earlier incidents had positive or negative impacts. Wilcox (2009), recommends that self-study moves and exposes individual reflections to other people around him or her in a reflex manner that enhances serious expressions between individuals in a learning group. Thus, self-study can initiate a positive learning practice whereby groups or individuals depict different behaviors and characteristics which are shared and adopted in the learning society.

Peer Observation

Peer teaching has gained popularity in undergraduate medical education hence becoming an essential aspect of this education (Ten & Durning, 2017). Individuals and societies worldwide believe that the development of people’s teaching skills should occur at the early stages of their lives.

Institutions of higher learning across the world have adopted the peer observation practice of teaching, while other institutions that have not adopted are also planning to adopt it in the future. Peer observation is an essential practice that boosts the students learning and teaching abilities in the virtual settings where they later apply the skills learned in the external environment. The increasing rate of adoption is attributed to the pressure arising from the external and internal quality assurance organizations that force the learning institutions to adopt modern and effective means of teaching (McMahon et al., 2007). The pressure and recognition of peer observation by different bodies makes this process a technique for improving and accounting for the effectiveness and quality of teaching with its primary purpose being to make the student learning process better (Bennett & Barp, 2008).

Teaching occurs in different environments. Regular peer observation is necessary to improve the aspects of teaching since one observation session is not enough. Hence, there should be several sessions of observation to make this practice effective. Individuals should, therefore, focus on embracing different methods and materials of teaching, such as online forms of teaching. The online forms of teaching act as ways of promoting peer development and promoting professional expertise (Bennett & Barp, 2008). Active involvement in critical reflection, discourse, and pedagogical theory and teamwork with colleagues are crucial for making individuals aware of excellent teaching at personal levels and to enhance improvement (Peel, 2005). Cooperation with colleagues demands an individual’s time and commitment that sometimes makes it hard for individuals to manage. However, teamwork collaborations are characterized by numerous benefits.

Luchoomun (2007) indicates that supporting teachers’ collaboration for extended periods contributes to vast positive results, including better attitudes, professional leadership interaction, and improved teaching quality. The collaborations suggest that individuals in teamwork learn together and participate in particular enterprises for some time. Collaborations involve sharing ideas and knowledge and also making practices of learning together by engaging actively in groups that can be viewed as professional learning communities. The success of these groups forms a platform where the group members exchange ideas, are equal and can exercise their free-thinking in a setting of cooperation and trust, free from threats and undermining of individuals or their thoughts (Schuck et al., 2008). Mutual responsibility and respect are essential components of long-standing perfections to practice. Joint learning responsibility is crucial for designing activities that indicate the social reality and enterprise of different individuals in a group (Aubusson et al., 2007). The likelihood of group members to achieve their learning objectives is determined by their involvement and responsibility in the group matters. Therefore, to succeed, they must sacrifice their time to participate in all activities in the groups.

It is vital to have a professional dialogue to ensure that the groups achieve their roles (Hammersley‐Fletcher & Orsmond, 2005). Discussions are crucial components in the learning process since they enhance reflection. They give various group members a chance to deliberate, critique, and explore the multiple assumptions and explanations attributed to their respective positions in the groups (Haigh, 2005). According to Allard et al. (2007), learning discussions mostly concentrate on the learners, enhancing considerable reflection through conversations. Substantial reflection, supported by discussions with an individual’s teams, is a crucial component of coaching and mentoring (Zwart et al., 2007). The concept of reflection practitioner is a known model that focuses on improving practice (Schön, 1983). Thus, reflection occurs individually or when one is with others.

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It was challenging for us to reflect on our practice and to assess the impacts of the struggle, but at the same time, it was beneficial. No one adores failure, thus reflecting on the areas of our failure and practices that enhance our development and improvement to attain excellence. This report aimed at determining the author’s reflective practice, ascertain and comprehend her practice, find and acquire knowledge and ideas from other sources, and create learning opportunities from the facts and insights obtained from sources. Reflecting on learning and teaching philosophy is a rare aspect that most educators do not poses. However, reflection is a crucial element for personal-assessment, professional, and individual growth; hence all lecturers in different higher learning institutions should adopt it.

Peer review has already been adopted for reflection and assessments since it enables individuals and their teammates to create worthwhile projects. However, sustaining peer observations requires much time. Prosperous learning communities need more time to deliberate and reflect on certain issues leading to long commitments. Such lengthy commitments may be unmaintainable unless the group members embrace working together regardless of challenges and individual notions that depict how benefits overshadow costs. Time management is a vital element of a professional learner. If institutions are going to fully embrace peer development as a norm among students, then they must allocate more time for this process.


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