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Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Sep 28 2013

Reflection on an e-Learning Initiative

Share your thoughts and ideas about the e-learning initiative you are developing.  Have you selected a topic yet, and if so, what is it and why did you choose this particular initiative?  What knowledge or skills do you bring to designing the initiative?   If you haven’t selected an initiative, what are you considering?

My initiative is based around the professional development of individual teachers in the form of recording teachers in action and having a reflection about the recording afterwards.  We already have mentors in my school who record video of the new teachers and post them on a shared hard drive.  However, the process of reflection is still relatively informal, one in which teachers have the option to watch the video and think about it.  Instead, there is a technology that has been developed by the University of Virginia called My Teaching Partner (MTP).  A brief overview of the platform can be found here:  MTP is a professional-development program that aims to improve the teacher-student relationships and instructional strategies.

In reflecting about my school’s current technology needs, I came to the idea of reflection. In Common Core’s inquiry-based teaching model, the time teachers should be reflecting on their own practices and experiences in the classroom has dramatically increased, in a much more formalized way.  I think it would help the teachers and administrators at my school if we had some sort of way to initiate a personal, yet completely informal and effective, way for teachers to reflect about their own instruction.  Much of the time, teachers are still unaware of how they look and sound in action, and it slows their growth over the years.  That is why the MTP program seems so appropriate for my school setting.  We already have a mentor teacher in place, who can go through the training necessary to become a coach for MTP.  We can also use MTP’s platform of reflection to help struggling teachers improve their practices or help veteran teachers hone their skills.

I was part of the MTP coaching cycle during my first year of teaching.  Every month, my coach would record about 20 minutes of my instruction and would send me a link to a reflection site.  In that site, he would cut out segments of the 20 min recording he had and point to specific instructional strategies that worked well, could be improved, and failed.  For each, he posed a question about my thoughts and actions during that time and how the affected the learning outcomes.  It was such an individualized and effective way to reflect that it naturally increased my self-awareness and improved my presence in the classroom.

One Response

  1. donna


    I really like your idea for your initiative, and sincerely hope this is something you will consider pursuing beyond this course. As I first started to read your idea, it wasn’t quite clear if you were thinking primarily of focusing on just new teachers. As I read on I realized that perhaps that might be a focus but you recognized a real need for veteran teachers to also engage in reflective practice about their own teaching.

    I look forward to seeing how your project comes to fruition and how you plan to integrate the concepts from this course into the current MPT program. You have a lot of freedom and flexibility with this to make it something unique and meaningful for your school setting.


    PS – I enjoyed reading your post of July 19th pondering where you might be a year from now and how you might use your life as a tool to better the world.

    You’re on a great path, just by being in a TFA program.

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