Teacher Education

Magnifying Reflective Practice for Teacher Candidates

A webinar featuring Dr. Debra Lively from Saginaw Valley State University

Dr. Debra Lively, ​​Professor of Teacher Education at Saginaw Valley State University, shares question-based techniques that push teacher candidates toward deeper reflections.

SEE FULL TRANSCRIPT

Hillary Gamblin:

Hello. Thank you for joining today’s workshop on Magnifying Reflective Practice for Student Teacher Candidates. My name is Hillary Gamblin. I’m a GoReact employee and the host of the Teacher Education Podcast. Today, I’ll be interviewing Dr. Debra Lively. Debbie, do you want to introduce yourself?

Debra Lively:

Sure. Well, I’m from Michigan. In Michigan, we’re like this, the hand state, one of the few states that you can do that with. I consider myself a practitioner because I spent almost 30 years in public ed as a teacher, classroom teacher, teacher consultant, and a home visitor. And I’ve been at the university, Saginaw Valley State University, for almost 20 years, and currently direct clinical experiences.

Debra Lively:

So I have involvement supervising and supporting students, supervisors, cooperating, and teachers and mentors. And I’ve used GoReact for about four years now and have found it to be an excellent tool to support those pre-service teachers. I’m also quite involved at the state and national level, always advocating for children with disabilities or exceptionalities. I’m a grandma, a wife, and a mom, and I’m super busy. I just keep wondering when I might slow down.

Hillary Gamblin:

Perfect. Thank you so much, Debbie. We’re excited to chat with you today. Now, for those of you that are new to GoReact workshops, let me just outline how we structured these virtual events. For the first 30 minutes or so, I’ll discuss with Debbie her techniques for reflective practice, and then after interviewing Debbie, we’ll open it up for a live Q and A for about 10 to 15 minutes. If you’d like to submit a question to the Q and A, there is a tab just below the video feed.

Hillary Gamblin:

And if you see a question that you would also like answered, you can use the up vote feature. And don’t forget to use the chat feature, which is on the right side of the video feed. This is where you can discuss ideas, exchange personal information to connect after the webinar. A lot happens in this little chat feature, so don’t miss out. So now that we’ve covered the technical details, let’s get started.

Hillary Gamblin:

As you know, Debbie has dedicated her research and time to creating a culture of thinking with her teacher candidates. So by picking her brain, we’re hoping that you’ll leave this workshop with at least one technique to help your teacher candidates improve their reflective practice. So let’s get started. Now, Debbie, perhaps the best place to start is with an example of what good reflective practice looks like. Can you share a story that illustrates a teacher candidate that effectively reflected on their teaching?

Debra Lively:

Sure. Before I actually share the story, though, I just want to make sure we’re all on the same page that reflection is like systematic and intentional process that allows the pre-service teachers an opportunity to really consciously review their teaching. And I think GoReact allows that for the on action that they have an opportunity to really see themselves visually after. And I had this student, one of the best students that I’ve ever had as far as in the academic and methods courses and stuff like that, just a wonderful student, just knew her content, always got assignments in on time. Everything was wonderful and perfect.

Debra Lively:

Now she got to student teaching and I was her supervisor. And she was in an early childhood special education classroom. And so I’m there observing her, and I’ve got my camera and I’ve got taking my notes, and I’m watching her, and she’s reading a story, a read aloud to these little kids, and it was horrible. I mean, she was reading just like this and really didn’t have inflection, didn’t really have good rhythm. It was horrible. And these little kids weren’t really paying attention, and it was just a struggle. And I’m thinking, oh my gosh, how am I going to tell this person how horrible they are?

Debra Lively:

Because she’s a great student. I didn’t want to tell her that. I felt bad about that. Plus, I wouldn’t really tell her that because the way I encourage reflection is not by telling them anyway. But in my mind, I’m just stressing out. Well, so she was done, and then we went out in a little area where we could look at the video, and I put the video, and I said to her, “Okay. As you look at your video, just tell me what you see. Tell me some of the things that you see.” It wasn’t even 10 seconds, 15 seconds into the video, and she’s like, “Is that me? Is that how I look?”

Debra Lively:

Now, typically students, when they first look at video, they think, oh, my hair looks crappy, or I look too fat, or something like that. But she was talking about her expression. She said, “Debbie.” She said, “I have no expression.” She said, “No wonder the kids, their attention is so poor.” She made that discovery on her own. And then instead of saying, “Well, yeah, you’re right,” I just said, “Okay, well, tell me more. Tell me more exactly what you’re seeing. Let’s really think about this.”

Debra Lively:

And as she progressed, she started talking about, “Well, my inflection doesn’t really vary. Well, my facial expression doesn’t really support what’s in the story.” She said, “I’m not really pausing like I need to pause.” All these are so important to communication, especially with young children with special needs. She took that upon herself. She went home, she told her mother. She said, “Oh, I really did poorly on this,” blah, blah, blah. And I said to her, “Don’t think about how you did. Let’s think about where you can go and what you can do to improve your own practice. This is about you taking ownership and making those changes.”

Debra Lively:

And so she told her mom, and her mom said to her, “Well, I’m so glad somebody told you.” And I’m thinking, wow, she must have all along not been a reader that used a lot of expression. So she video recorded herself. She stood in the mirror and she practiced before she did lessons. She texted me and emailed me and said, “Okay, are you coming on such and such a day? I can’t wait for you to see what I’m doing”

Debra Lively:

Now, did she go from here to way over there? No, but did she make some progress? Absolutely. And she made the progress based on her own thinking, not because I told her something. So I guess that’s an example of how using video and reflective practice and being independent and thinking on your own feet about how you might improve is really critical. And by the way, she got hired, and she’s a wonderful teacher doing some great things with young children.

Hillary Gamblin:

Thank you for that example. I love that story. If we look at the techniques that you used in this example, the first thing that kind of stands out to me is video. Now, you’ve been using video for over 20 years. Why do you think video is such an important tool for reflective practice?

Debra Lively:

Well, I used it with families. I was a home visitor, and I used it with families, and families who… and I used it with the student teachers. And I think it’s nice because it provides a visual rather than your memory to think about, well, how did I really do? And also, if I would have told that student, “Well, you know, I really think you could have a little more vocal inflection, a little more facial expression. I think you could do some more pausing,” she might go, “Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. I know that’s important,” but they don’t own it.

Debra Lively:

The visual makes you own it. Okay? They can think critically about strategies that they’re using. It gives their brain time to process that information. If you have to think about what you did and then try to process the information, that makes it more difficult, and the pressure of this that you might feel if you’re being observed, you’re being evaluated, for me as the supervisor or as the home visitor, it was my responsibility to prompt and probe to help them figure it out.

Debra Lively:

Our goal is to have self-directed teachers or have families, parents that are self-directed and can advocate for their children with special needs. So it’s moving from a lack of awareness, I think video provides, to awareness. It goes from a tentative to very more specific. You can see it. It’s hard to deny it if it’s right in front of you. That you want them to have more control. I think video allows a student or a family person, a member to have more control. And it helps you going from those personal perceptions to a broader perception. But in order to do this with a family or with a student, you have to have sort of a trust and rapport.

Debra Lively:

And I really think using video helps you develop trust and rapport because you’re not evaluating, you’re probing and prompting on what they’re observing, on their ideas. So I just think video… and I used to take the big old camera, put my video in, my cassette, my VHS, and then I would video record families, and then we’d play it on the TV. I had a family where both parents had developmental delay, and that video just helped so much for them to see how they might tell a story to their child.

Debra Lively:

And I see it all the time with students, how it’s like these aha moments when they actually see it, where I can talk till I’m blue in the face about certain things, but it’s not until they, like I say, own it, where it really does make a difference. So yeah, I’ve used video for a long time. My background is deaf and hard of hearing, and that whole visual piece is really critical. So yeah, I’m a firm believer. I love GoReact. But I don’t work for GoReact. I just want you to know that.

Hillary Gamblin:

Another technique besides the video that struck me in this example was the way that you were phrasing the questions. Can you share some tips for asking reflective questions?

Debra Lively:

Sure. Jordan, if you could go to slide one. Okay. Is it there?

Hillary Gamblin:

I think it’s up.

Debra Lively:

Okay. All right. So one of the things to think about or to ponder is that questioning is really key for gathering information, and that one of the important things when you are working with students and you’re having these reflective conversations, that paraphrasing is also key, just making sure that clarifies the understanding, and that you really have to keep probing and going deeper and to get more detailed thinking. Okay, next slide, please.

Debra Lively:

Okay. So when you think about questions, they need to be designed to engage and to promote the reflective practice. They are best if they’re intentional, but they have to be inviting. You don’t want to be telling, okay? Because you really want them to get their brain thinking. They need to be thought-provoking. They can challenge some assumptions. It generates energy and forces inquiry, and they need to be nonjudgmental. Okay, next slide.

Debra Lively:

Okay. So if you can see here, now, you don’t think of it when you’re saying this to a student. You might say, “Oh, well, why…” And I can say it in a very nice way, like, “Oh, well, why did you do it that way?” That’s more judgmental because I’m already kind of setting that student up. Just think about how I could rephrase it. “If you were able to redo your lesson,” and I use these two little words a lot, “I wonder what you might do differently next time.” That’s not judgemental. It’s really getting their brain to do some thinking. And it’s not that your intention is to be judgemental, but in the way the questions are phrased can really be judgemental. And then, okay. I can share some specific examples.

Hillary Gamblin:

That would be wonderful. I feel like that’s really helpful.

Debra Lively:

Okay. So if you go to the next slide, slide four, I have two slides here we’ll show you. I generated some questions instead of… Try to think of how you might rephrase these. Instead of saying, “Well, what did you see in the video?” Now, that kind of sounds nice. But again, when we use what questions, it can stop the brain from thinking, because if I ask you a what question, it means there’s a right or a wrong answer.

Debra Lively:

And if my brain is concerned about providing the right or wrong answer to you, I may not go really into more in-depth thinking. I might just kind of stop and just give surface responses. And part of this comes out of cognitive coaching training. I did some PD and really believe wholeheartedly that cognitive coaching is a way to interact with pre-service teachers, and even mentor teachers or host teachers, not just pre-service, but to say, “What did you see in the video? Did you check for the children’s understanding? Because on our rubric, it’s one of the things. Do you observe the student teacher, the pre-service teacher checking for the children’s understanding? What were the goals for your lesson? What do you do to keep the children engaged?”

Debra Lively:

Now, if I were to ask, “What were the goals for your lesson,” which doesn’t sound like a bad question, but if the student gave me a lesson plan, why would I be asking them what’s already on the lesson plan? So sometimes these what questions already have an answer. So that’s why it really kind of stops that thinking process. So instead of these questions, and can we go to the next slide, Jordan? Okay. And so these, you might want to think of questions to support reflection. “Tell me the kinds.” Using a plural identifies for the brain that there’s more than one answer. Okay?

Debra Lively:

So, “Tell me the kinds of things you saw in your teaching that promoted developmentally appropriate practices,” instead of, “What did you do to promote developmentally appropriate practice? I wonder how you check to make sure the children were understanding the content.” Describe your transition strategies, more of asking them to share, explain, describe. When viewing your video, share your thoughts about what went well and any challenges. Commenting, just instead of making it think it’s a question, because like I say, sometimes questions really do stop the brain from thinking deeper. And how might you keep… And this is another word that I really work hard to include this in my vocabulary, might.

Debra Lively:

Instead of how would you, how can you, how could you, I always… And when I even am doing an email, I’ll go back and delete it and put the word might in there. It just allows for more thinking and more diversity in response. Okay? And then, so next slide. So this is just for you to think about, using the I wonder, using commenting. “Tell me more,” and just then pausing, describing, using plurals. “It seemed like you used to think, but now you are,” and then just leave a blank and let them fill in the blank. It just really allows for that deeper, more critical, reflective practice that gives the students more ownership. Okay?

Hillary Gamblin:

And there’s probably more to reflective practice than just asking the right questions at the end. Do you have your students do anything prior to their student teaching experiences to prepare them for this deeper reflection?

Debra Lively:

I do. Next slide. This was taken from cognitive coaching training, and there’s a website there that you can go to. It’s a wonderful training where there’s a specific… it’s called like the preplan conference where you actually get with the student prior to the conference. You can do it in a video way. You can use the multi-camera feature with GoReact to do that, or you could do FaceTime, or you could do Teams or whatever you’re using. But anyway, you would plan, and again, describe your goals, outcomes, the purpose of your lesson. How might you know if you’re going to be successful?

Debra Lively:

And then again, I wonder what kinds of strategies you might use. Instead of what will you use, I wonder. Again, this is like the planning. You go through this whole process, and then you would end it by saying, “As you reflect on this conversation, describe how it may have supported your learning.” So we’d have that little conference before, and it could be the day before. It doesn’t have to be the day that you’re running into the building, getting ready to do your observations. But it’s really important. And I would say you would do this for any of your formal observations, and then you’d have a reflective conference at the end, a conversation at the end. And we’ll just talk about that. Okay, so that’s what I would do.

Hillary Gamblin:

So in addition to having this planning conference and then asking the right questions, feedback is also extremely important. Do you think there are feedback techniques that observers should avoid with their teacher candidates?

Debra Lively:

Absolutely. And this is something in early childhood and… And I just talked to, it’s praise versus encouragement. Really, encouragement is a form of praise, but it’s really being more thoughtful and thinking about it. For example, praise, in my opinion, can be more general. It’s more evaluative. It’s comparing. And oftentimes, it can attribute success to just luck or the ease of the task. It also focuses on what the evaluator thinks. It often is paired with judgment.

Debra Lively:

It becomes expected, and really, the student then is performing, the pre-service teacher is performing what you want. And it can cause some pressure. That would be things like, “Good job. Way to go.” And we’ll talk about that. But encouragement, on the other hand, I think tends to be more nonjudgmental. It helps the pre-service teacher become more self-motivated. It also helps me develop a relationship with the pre-service teacher, because remember, for them to really think critically, they have to develop trust, and they have to be able to bond with me.

Debra Lively:

And I think that using encouragement can also be empowering. Encouragement, really, I think supports that positive behavior. It supports independence. It supports that perseverance, that they’re going to continue to think critically about some of the challenges they face. And I think it also builds self-confidence. We want to acknowledge and support their work by being specific. We want to compare their progress with their past performance. We want to link their teaching to enjoyment and satisfaction, and we want to attribute their success to effort.

Debra Lively:

Okay? We can do this through encouragement, and that’s just a word. It’s just semantics. I just pick the word encouragement versus praise. Yeah, so I have a little list. Slide eight would be some negative feedback. Okay. So if you look at that, and let me… I have to… I’m having problems here. There you go. So the good job, well done. And I was the queen a good job, well done. I mean, I used to say that a lot, but I’ve really taken a critical look at my interactions with students and with children, and thinking how that was so general. And I thought that was okay.

Debra Lively:

“You are an excellent teacher.” I’ve said that before to student teachers. Well, that’s really evaluative. “Your classroom management is amazing compared to many other student teachers. Keep up the good work, and you’ll get a job.” I mean, these are all things that I’ve said. That’s why I put them up here. And to me, that’s more negative. That’s more praise. Okay? And then if you go to the next slide, this would be the feedback, encouragement.

Debra Lively:

I would be very specific. I might say, “Hey, you use the I see, I think, I wonder thinking routine to promote critical thinking. The children seem to be very engaged and eager to contribute their ideas.” So really being specific with the praise. And then it’s obvious. Instead of like, “Oh, I like the way you did that,” or, “I really love what you did,” it shouldn’t be about what you think. It should be about what was done and letting this pre-service teacher take the responsibility of that.

Debra Lively:

So like, “It’s obvious that you are aware of the importance of redirecting, rephrasing, and consistency to help children attend to your lesson.” So that’s more specific. Then the student can then say, “Well, yeah, I really have worked hard on that,” or, “I need to work more on being consistent. I really was consistent in this lesson, but when I did this the other time, I had difficulty.” So I just think that encouraging feedback really pushes deeper thinking. So it’s questions, how you ask questions, and it’s how you provide feedback.

Hillary Gamblin:

And as we were preparing for this workshop, you were saying that the video and the feedback and the questions all kind of fell into place when you discovered GoReact, and that’s because GoReact is a video-based assessment tool that has feedback rich features. Can you give an example how you’ve been using, GoReact with your student teachers?

Debra Lively:

Sure. We use GoReact for all of our student teachers. We have accelerated certification students, as well as the traditional student teachers that might do a 12-week, a 14-week experience. And I used it as a pilot first with just early childhood candidates, and now we have a whole college license. We have our methods professors using it. All of my supervisors are using it. And it was really fun because my supervisors, we set up some trainings, and they were asking for advanced trainings.

Debra Lively:

Now, I need to tell you, I had three supervisors quit. When I instituted GoReact, I instituted Canvas, and I instituted Lifesize, which is like a Teams or FaceTime, I had three people quit because the technology was just too much for them. But I really think that the feedback… And I’ve gotten better with my feedback. I have to honestly say, when I first started, I wasn’t maybe as descriptive as what I am now. And I really try to be thoughtful and be specific. I use those markers.

Debra Lively:

We can look at slide 10. This is an example. I have every student, when they use GoReact, every student teacher, every accelerated certification candidate, they have to provide an introduction. And in their introduction, that’s their practice of how to upload a video and how to use the markers. Those markers are the little colorful little blocks at the bottom there. And then they use comments.

Debra Lively:

I have one of my supervisors who only provides comments visually with… There’s a little camera, and you can record yourself, or there’s a little microphone and you can record your feedback via microphone. Some people prefer doing that. I like to write because then I can go back and edit. I’ve tried and used the other features, and I try to tell myself every time I use this, I’m going to use all three different methods, because one of the things is my pre-service teachers, it’s like, what’s their preference? How do they take feedback better? Do they take feedback better if they see me in a video, or me providing a verbal, or me providing a written comment.

Debra Lively:

Now, on this one here, the student talked about her host teacher as having different kinds of seatings for the kids, allowing choice. So I just asked a question. I said, “I’m wondering your thoughts about providing choices for children with special needs. Think of the thinking routine, connect, extend, and challenge.” Again, I use a lot with cultures of thinking and thinking routines, because again, it helps that brain to think quite a bit. And we could spend a whole session on just doing thinking routines with student teachers, pre-service teachers. But anyway, so I really try to be thoughtful and try to push their thinking.

Debra Lively:

Then they have to go in after I go… I don’t put comments in first. I make them put in comments first. When I go out and observe, even when it’s a face-to-face and I’m recording, and then we look together and we have a conversation, I will upload that video, and then they have to go in and comment about it. Because I was doing some research about, the conversations that we had, did that seem to enhance their thinking, or did we not see any changes?

Debra Lively:

And so I really wanted to know how much conversation face-to-face really supported that. So like I say, we use it for all of our student teachers. Every student teacher, traditional, they have to do five evaluations, and two of those can be face-to-face and three have to be GoReact. But this semester, I would say 99% of our students are all virtual. And our ACR candidates over the whole year, they have eight evaluations. Two are face-to-face. All the rest are virtual. Again, but could be eight, this year are virtual.

Debra Lively:

But that’s how I use it. And I guess you could go to the next slide, 11. And then we use the markers, and you saw the markers in the other screenshot, but these are the markers, and they’re different. You make the markers different for whatever you do. For the introduction, these were the markers that I wanted to include, because I didn’t have a rubric for the introduction. A lot of it’s just practice, and I don’t want them just to push the marker and that’s it, walk away. They push a marker. They can do that a few times, but they have to write a comment, because why did they push the marker? I want to know the why about it.

Debra Lively:

Now, the bottom one are the markers for our rubric. And so there’s more. And I went round and round with GoReact initially and thought, oh, we have to have more markers, like 15 markers. Well, I changed my mind. Having 15 markers is way too hard to keep track of. So my suggestion would be start out with a few markers and then gradually moved to more, to where they just become second nature and you can remember them.

Debra Lively:

But we use GoReact in our methods courses, too. People will upload a video. In a methods course, I uploaded a small group video, and then I did the markers and I had the students go in and tag or mark the video, write comments, because I want them to understand what they’re going to be evaluated on later. They use the rubric. They are the observers and the evaluators through that. And we’re really using GoReact a lot more because of COVID. That has really made a difference, too.

Hillary Gamblin:

Do you feel like GoReact has helped your students in their reflective practice more?

Debra Lively:

Absolutely. Absolutely. I think because it does… With Liston and Zeichner, they talk about in action or on action reflection. I think when the students… You think about it, and when they’re doing it, they’re thinking ahead of what they’re going to do next, but when they can look at it and they can really reflect on it, they think more critically. They begin to use the language of the rubrics. They really begin to understand the tools that we’re using.

Debra Lively:

I mean, before if I said to a student, “Okay. If I walked in your classroom,” and we have the category highly effective on our rubric, “if I walked in your classroom, and let’s say it’s about classroom management or behavior, I’m wondering what I would need to see or what kinds of things I might see that would give you a highly effective score.” And so we have that conversation. And because of GoReact and because of the practice they get using the rubric, observing video, observing teachers, I think it makes that experience more real.

Debra Lively:

They’re actually executing what they’ve learned in their methods courses and what they’ve learned out in field placements. And then now they’re actually becoming the assessor, so they have to think about it more critically. So I really do think that using GoReact has really encouraged them to think more critically, to use the language of rubrics, and to really tie the rubric or the tool that we’re using to behaviors and theory learned in our classes.

Debra Lively:

I really think that has made a difference. I have seen tremendous progress. Students like it, too. The other thing is, if you asked them if what I say helps them or what they get in GoReact, they will say seeing themself in video has really made a difference for them. I don’t know that they totally understand why we’re doing it early on, so to get them to understand the rubrics and the evaluation tools, but they really feel that it has really helped them.

Hillary Gamblin:

Okay. Thank you. Now, my last question, I’m just going to go a little broad with it. What takeaway do you want our audience to have or to remember about instilling greater reflective practice in their teacher candidates? What would be the big idea that you want them to take away from this?

Debra Lively:

Well, I guess I’d want them to take time to plan, have that planning conference, take time to probe, encourage, and reflect. I would say, “Be patient with yourself.” It takes time. It takes tons of practice. I still don’t do it right all the time. I’m still learning, and I’ve been in education almost 50 years. I think to be quiet and let the pre-service teacher do most of the talking. If you’re doing most of the talking, then you’re really not promoting reflection like it should be. It really needs to be that pre-service teacher doing the talking and reflecting upon their practice. So I guess that would be what I would suggest. You can look at, yeah, take time, probe, encourage, reflect, and be patient with yourself. It takes practice. And please let the pre-service teacher do most of the talking.

Hillary Gamblin:

Thank you for answering all of my questions and doing most of the talking.

Debra Lively:

[inaudible 00:33:40].

Hillary Gamblin:

So you’ve provided some actionable techniques for those that are trying to improve reflective practice, whether it’s asking the right questions or phrasing your feedback carefully or using video. And I know that some of these examples and these rich details have probably sparked ideas and questions for those that are participating, so now we’re going to take the next 10 minutes to do a Q and A so you can answer some of the questions from our attendees. The first one are actually… There’s two questions, but they’re very similar, and I think I’m going to go with the more broader one. It says, “I would love to hear ideas on how you manage video permission forms from parents. How are they managed and archived?”

Debra Lively:

Okay. So for us, we created a permission form, and we had our attorney look at it, but in most schools that we partner with, they have a video release form on file. And so we talked with our attorney. We’re able to use those, and it’s because the schools were saying, “Oh my gosh, we’re going to have to send another one home when we already have this on file.” And so we’re able to do that. What the students have to do is, if there are already permission on file, they can get copies of them, and they upload them into Canvas. We have a line item under assignments. They’d say video permissions, because we want everything housed in one place, so we upload it to Canvas, or they can have a list, a classroom list of those students having permission as uploaded.

Debra Lively:

Or if we don’t and the school is willing to allow us to send home the permission form, then we upload copies of those into Canvas. But yeah, I’d be happy to share what we have as far as what our permission form looks like. And then one thing we forgot initially was the students, the pre-service teachers have to have a permission form signed because they’re being recorded. And I suppose if you use the multi-camera feature with GoReact and you and the student are on film, you’d need one for yourself. So yeah, the permission form thing can be a little bit of a nightmare, but we’ve worked it out fairly well.

Hillary Gamblin:

Okay. The next question is about COVID, no surprises. “How has remote teaching during COVID-19 affect supervision practice, whether it’s Zooming to live sessions or recorded lessons?”

Debra Lively:

It’s been a challenge, but I have wonderful supervisors that have been really, really flexible. And one of the things, and some districts have said this, that to record a Zoom and then to upload that, they don’t want to allow that. That might be a district policy. So what my students have been doing, it isn’t as good, but they’ve been taking their phones and they’d set them on their computer, and then they video record themselves teaching. We don’t see the students interacting, but we can hear what’s going on.

Debra Lively:

But that has been one of the ways that we sort of had to compromise. I supervise student teachers myself. I have five students that I supervise, as well as directing clinical, as well as being full-time faculty. I’m teaching three courses this semester, and I’m teaching four courses or two courses in China. So it’s just been a lot, but I have been able to go in and observe students. We have some school districts that are still, they’re on a different schedule, a hybrid schedule, but some that are just doing remote. And so either we have them upload their videos, or we have them just take video of themselves. Again, it’s not the best, but it’s really what we have to deal with.

Hillary Gamblin:

Sometimes that’s what you have to do during COVID. The next question is about reflective practice. It says, “A challenge we are experiencing establishing a culture of reflective practice, but also being accountable for grading, for students who are really struggling, there is a point when the reflective coach, your approach really does become more directive.” So I think the question is, how are grades and [inaudible 00:38:15] attached to this process of reflective practice?

Debra Lively:

Well, we do pass/fail with student teaching, and most… I mean, I may have one student a year who really… I mean, I have more students that struggle, but one that wouldn’t pass, and yes, it does become a little more directive. But again, I have really found that using reflective practice and building that relationship has really made a difference, and the students have seen it themselves using GoReact or video. And I have been director now, this is my third year, but I’ve been supervising student teachers for almost 20 years, my whole time at Saginaw Valley. A student can see using video. They really critically evaluate themselves. And I’ve not really had that problem. I mean, yes, you have to be more direct, but the student already sees it and gets it.

Debra Lively:

And then we have the conversations, we have the reflective piece. “So how are you going to go forward? What kinds of new learning do you need? How are you going to commit to applying this?” It’s part of a commitment. So it becomes more of that focus and kind of redirecting, really helping them to analyze. I have always found using video, they see it. It’s not a surprise, that’s for sure. And so it makes it a lot easier, and then it makes it a lot easier when you have to have those hard conversations like, “Hey, maybe teaching’s really not where you want to go. Or if teaching is where you want to go, let’s look at what’s going to be needed in order for you to get there.”

Debra Lively:

Also, a student teacher can have a failed experience. And I hate to say that, a failed experience, but they can have difficulty a semester. They can be given a second chance. And then after the second chance, if we’re still seeing them really struggle and not doing well, then we would have to terminate their experience and think of an alternative way for them to be done. But they figure it out and they make that decision. So I find that pretty empowering for the students, whether they stay in and they really are able to make changes, or whether they decide to leave and not be a teacher. Video really has made a difference, I’ll tell you what. And it’s taken that pressure off of the evaluator.

Hillary Gamblin:

Now, the last question that we have that we have time for is, “What are two or three thinking routines that you find helpful?”

Debra Lively:

Oh, I love… that’s another, if you can ever do the training, Project Zero training at Harvard, it’s fabulous. I love connect, extend, challenge. And I love see, think, wonder. And I love I’m wondering what makes you think that or say that, or justify, how might you justify your thinking, or those. But the see, think, wonder, connect, extend, challenge, and tell me what makes you think that, those are probably my three that I use all the time. And then I have my little cheat sheet of thinking routines, and I pull those out, too. And in coursework, I make them do things like headlines, stuff like that.

Hillary Gamblin:

There’s a follow-up question, actually, real quick. I think we have time for it. It says, “But how do you give them a grade for the quality of the reflection if that is part of the particular program?” I think that’s what the question was.

Debra Lively:

Okay. So we use the rubric, and every time we go out and visit, we use the rubric and elements of the rubric, and we highlight some of the observations. We have a conversation about that. And they talk about what they’re seeing, what they’re reflecting, but yes, we still have an obligation to share what we’re looking at. But I will tell you, when I have thought [inaudible 00:42:51] be somewhere else, and after having the conversation with a student, it may give a different rating, a different category instead of underdeveloped, developed, or highly effective, whatever your categories are.

Debra Lively:

I’ve changed my thinking based on the conversations and the reflections that students have done using GoReact, and the comments that they’re writing, and really helping clarify. But no, we have a responsibility that we do use the rubric, but even using the rubrics, and maybe they don’t get all highly effective, which they all think they should. Every student thinks they should get A’s or all… But we have really worked hard by the relationships that we develop using reflective practice and by using video, that you’re not going to probably get all highly effectives.

Debra Lively:

Now, they have to get so many. They can’t have so many underdeveloped, or they’re not going to pass, but right away, they know that from the rubric. But they also know that they’re not going to have necessarily all highly effectives. Because I think when I first started evaluating student teachers or using rubrics, that I tended to be really not so critical. I wanted them to be successful. But I think using GoReact and reflection, it puts more onus on the students that they want to be successful. They’re not just doing it to get highly effective, because rarely do they all get highly effective. In the past, many more would get it. So it’s been really a work in progress to get supervisors, including me, to think more critically that everybody doesn’t have to have that to be a good teacher.

Hillary Gamblin:

I think that’s a great place to end. Well, Debbie, thank you for sharing your experiences and your expertise today on reflective practice. You did this workshop voluntarily, so we appreciate you taking your personal time to share these strategies with your fellow teacher prep professionals. We know that this workshop will be really useful for all those who participated and those who weren’t able to make it to the live session, so we’ll be recording this workshop and make it available to you as soon as possible. We’ll send you an email with the link to the recording, also along with a captioned version, so watch for that in your inboxes. But that’s it for today. Thank you to those who have participated. Thank you to those behind the scenes. And of course, thank you to our guest, Dr. Debbie Lively. See you next time.

Debra Lively:

Bye. Thank you.

[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]