Critical reflection: Observation 2 15th December 2014

Gibbs reflective cycle

Gibbs reflective cycle (1998) (University of Kent, 2012)

Observation two: 15th December 2014


An observation was conducted by my personal tutor during a Level 1 Business Administration course. The observation was the second of the PGCE course and follows on from the initial observation in November. The session was on the subject of different types of information handled within a business and the Data Protection Act. I accessed the room 15 minutes before the start of the session to prepare the room aspects – projector, presentation, objectives and the seating plan arrangement. Since the previous session a seating plan has been implemented.

Students firstly conducted a ‘Have I got news for you’ style quiz which incorporated various current affairs and business related topics. Learners then participated in a challenge to match a random mixture of words and terms into two separate lists. Learners then conducted a task to research the answer to 13 questions related to the Data Protection Act. Questions were then answers online using the Near Pod casting website.

Since the previous observation I have been working on questioning techniques, and how to incorporate and improve these within sessions I complete. The pitch and pace of sessions, and planning to improve quality and restrict quantity has also been of importance since the first observation. The main objectives for improvement were identified as classroom management techniques, ensuring correct resources are used for tasks and effectively plan for inclusivity of learners at different levels within the classroom.

Since the first observation I have also been attending observations of a variety of teachers, to gain a broader experience and knowledge.

The use of Gibbs has been used for the second reflection, as I found this a useful, logical and approachable reflection model for the first observation.


During this second observation I think I was better prepared and a little more relaxed. The process of the first identified areas for improvement, and following the critical reflection I conducted I was able to reflect further on what had occurred.


Questioning although improving, is not being conducted to a high order level. In order to progress the learning environment questioning of students must be improved. The importance of such questioning is identified by Elias (2014) “questions create the challenges that make us learn” (lines 3-4). The ability to ask high-order questions and questioning strategies are based upon Blooms’ taxonomy and the evaluating and creating aspects of it (Forehand, 2007).

One element of questioning identified as being of a good standard is the manner in which I using leading questions, by asking students additional questions instead of providing the answer. This use and purpose of leading questions is identified by (Weimer, 2013) “…using an inquiry-based teaching approach where you don’t want to answer questions…” (lines 15-16).

The enjoyment for learners is another area identified for development, with an observation score of 3. Ferris & Gerber (1996) believe that the actual enjoyment of students whilst learning has often been overlooked in research and within teaching. Within the context of the teaching I have been conducting, the enjoyment aspect of the delivery has not been to the highest standard possible.

Another area requiring improvement, which I have to admit is something I have not worked on before is the incorporation of students own experiences and events into sessions. One of the most amazing tools and areas of development is the knowledge of the students I teach (Alber, 2011). This is derived from the constructivism theory of learning that new knowledge is built upon old knowledge. This can be brought into the

The improvement of the classroom management was identified within the observation. This has led to an overall improvement in the experience of the learners within the group. I have also learnt that critical reflection is not only important for personal development but to improve the abilities and experience of learners, and should be conducted on a regular basis, as stated by Edwards et al. (1996).

Since the first observation a seating plan has been designed and implemented, based upon the behavioural pattern and diagnostic results of the learners. This as written by Beadle (2011) has become a hugely influential piece of behaviour change management at the disposal to a teacher.  It has seen improved behaviour and focus of learners.

The observation also identified that too many objectives/content was planned for session, and the overall content too great for the allocated one hour thirty minute session.

The setting of objectives and providing feedback for based upon them enables me to set direction and for learners to clearly see the link between what they are doing and what they are supposed to achieve (Dean, et al., 2012)




The influences on the observation was that the planning which I had conducted for the session.  Entering the classroom room and preparing the lesson in advance enabled me to focus and deliver the session.

What also helped was the reflections I had considered and worked upon since the first observation. These were critical in allowing me to take stock of where I was, and where errors or problems were occurring within my teaching.  The improved management of the classroom, including the seating plan and general management of learner behaviour.

The observations I had also undertaken on other teachers had also helped. The importance of this process is identified by Brookfield (1995) who discusses how seeing the teaching process through the eyes of the students for teachers is important as every time it is conducted the teacher learns something new, to enable personal development. This benefit for learners is that they are able to gain an enhanced experiences within the classroom.


In conclusion the classroom management techniques which I have been working to improve have shown to create a difference. Learners were able to be more controlled and tasks implemented and explained thoroughly.

I have been more open and receptive to suggestions and how they can improve my own ability. The requirement of this as noted by (Morgan, 2012) is to enable me to benefit from improved skills and work productivity.

The large number of objectives could have been restricted or merged. The session could have been split into two – so to ensure all topic areas are covered.

Action plan

Within future sessions I will be ensuring that I improve on implementing high level questioning. The development of the classroom management skills since observation one have allowed me to better control the learning which is taking place.

The observation has enabled me to further my knowledge and experiences and to hopefully progress and develop my professional development.  I also plan to conduct additional observations during the block study week and view as many different aspects of teaching as possible. This I believe will allow me to identify new and alternative approaches to how I manage and teach those around me.

Future lesson plans which I create will incorporate timings with each stage of the planned lesson to improve the level of content and

The ILP will need to be updated with new SMART targets to facilitate the changes required:

  • Work further on high order questioning techniques
  • Make tasks fun and enjoyable for learners
  • Restrict objectives set for lessons and work on timings
  • Incorporate students own experiences and knowledge


Alber, R., 2011. Are You Tapping into Prior Knowledge Often Enough in Your Classroom?. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 21 December 2014].

Beadle, P., 2011. The importance of a good seating plan. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 5 December 2014].

Brookfield, S. D., 1995. Becoming a criticaly reflective teacher. 1st ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Dean, C. B., Hubbell, R., Pitler, H. & Stone, B., 2012. Chapter 1. Setting Objectives and Providing Feedback. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 1 January 2015].

Edwards, R., Hanson, A. & Raggatt, P., 1996. Boundaries of adult learning. 1st ed. London: Routledge.

Elias, M., 2014. The Importance of Asking Questions to Promote Higher-Order Competencies. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 21 December 2014].

Ferris, J. & Gerber, R., 1996. Mature-age students’ feelings of enjoying learning in a further education context. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 11(1), pp. 77-96.

Forehand, M., 2007. Bloom’s Taxonomy. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 1 January 2015].

Getty, A., 2014. Letting the Students Lead Class Discussions. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 27 December 2014].

Morgan, N., 2012. Taking Constructive Criticism Like a Champ. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 2 January 2015].

University of Kent, 2012. Reflective learning. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 12 November 2014].

Weimer, M., 2013. Better Questions are the Answer. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 20 December 2014].


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