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The Role of Teacher Self-Reflection in Online Learning

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As an online teacher, you may be wondering how you can improve student satisfaction with your teaching methods. One way you can do this is by utilizing teacher self-reflection in your online learning practices.

Also known as reflective practice or reflective teaching, teacher self-reflection is a simple way to dig deeper into your feelings and find out why you were doing something, and determine how to do it better next time.

Teacher self-reflection can help you to:

✔️ Analyze and evaluate your own teaching practices
✔️ Focus on what works in your classroom
✔️ Make changes to your teaching methods as needed

By taking some time to reflect on your teaching methods, you can ensure that you are doing everything possible to provide a high-quality learning experience for your students.

What is Teacher Self-Reflection?

Reflecting on teaching practice is a valuable skill that most initial teacher training programs (e.g., CETA, TESOL) encourage students to develop, but it shouldn’t be abandoned as soon as they receive their degree! In reality, this is only the beginning of what can be accomplished.

Teacher reflection is an important skill that online teachers can use to improve student satisfaction with their teaching methods. It also allows teachers to critically evaluate their own practice in order to gain new insights and improve their teaching methods. This cycle of continual learning can help online teachers become more effective in their teaching practices as well.

Teacher self-reflection has three interchangeable steps: test, practice, evaluate.

David Kolb’s Learning Cycle (1984) and Graham Gibbs’ take on the cycle (1998) both build upon the foundations set by earlier educational researchers. In particular, they agree that individuals learn best when they gain hands-on experience which can be applied to future encounters.

In contrast to “Reflection ON Action”, where we think about what could have been done better after the fact, “Reflection IN Action” refers to being reflective during the actual event and making changes in real-time.

According to Shön (1991), this is a more effective way of self-reflection because it allows us to resolve issues as they arise.

Benefits of Teacher Self Reflection

There are a number of substantive benefits of teacher self-reflection, both personally and professionally. Each one can benefit both the students and you, the teacher.

Aids Professional Development

Teacher self-reflection is a powerful tool that can help you to develop as a professional. When you reflect on your teaching practices, you are able to analyze what works well and identify areas where you need to make improvements.

This process of continual learning can help you to become more effective in your role as an online teacher. In addition, teacher self-reflection can also help you to develop as a person.

By taking some time to reflect on your own values and beliefs, you can gain a better understanding of who you are and what is important to you. This self-awareness can be beneficial in all areas of your life, both personal and professional.

Improves Student Satisfaction

Utilizing teacher self-reflection in your online teaching practices can also help to improve student satisfaction. When you take the time to reflect on your teaching methods, you are able to focus on what works well and make changes as needed.

This ensures that you are providing a high-quality learning experience for your students. It also leads to a more student-centered learning environment. In addition, teacher self-reflection can help you to build relationships with your students. By taking the time to get to know them and understand their needs, you can create a more positive and supportive learning environment.

Plus, teacher self-reflection can help you to identify your own biases and assumptions. By becoming aware of these, you can be sure to avoid making any assumptions about your students that could impact their learning.

Enhances Critical Thinking Skills

Another benefit of teacher self-reflection is that it can help to enhance your critical thinking skills. When you reflect on your teaching practices, you are forced to critically evaluate what you are doing and why.

This process can help you to develop a deeper understanding of your own teaching methods and improve the way you think about education.

Increases Confidence

Teacher self-reflection can also help to increase your confidence. By taking the time to reflect on your successes and failures, you can develop a stronger sense of self-awareness. This can help you to feel more confident in your abilities as an online teacher.

In addition, teacher self-reflection can help you to understand your own strengths and weaknesses. By knowing your strengths, you can be sure to focus on them in your teaching. By understanding your weaknesses, you can work to improve them.

A self-reflective teacher can also increase student confidence by providing them with feedback that is specific, objective, and actionable. This type of feedback can help students to understand their own strengths and weaknesses and work to improve their own skills.

Encourages Honesty

Teacher self-reflection can also encourage honesty. When you take the time to reflect on your teaching, you are more likely to be honest with yourself about what is working and what is not. This can help you to avoid any denial about areas where you need to make improvements.

In addition, teacher self-reflection can help you to be honest with your students. By being open and honest about your own teaching, you can build trust with your students. They will be more likely to trust you as a teacher and feel comfortable asking you for help when they need it.

Builds Emotional Intelligence

Teacher self-reflection can also help you to build your emotional intelligence. When you take the time to reflect on your own emotions, you can better understand and manage them.

This can help you to be more aware of your students’ emotions and respond in a way that is supportive and helpful.

In addition, teacher self-reflection can help you to build your empathy skills. By taking the time to understand your own emotions, you can be more successful in empathizing with your students. This can help you to build stronger relationships and provide more support.

Practicing teacher self-reflection will help you build empathy for your students.

Keeps Lessons Current

Teacher self-reflection can also help you to keep your lessons current. When you take the time to reflect on your teaching, you can identify any areas where your lessons are no longer relevant or effective.

This can help you to make changes to your lessons so that they are more engaging and relevant for your students.

In addition, teacher self-reflection can help you to identify any new trends or technologies that could be used in your teaching. By keeping up with new trends, you can be sure to provide your students with the most up-to-date and effective education possible.

So Why Practice Teacher Self-Reflection?

In recent years, English language teachers have been urged to support learner self-assessment and reflection in order to foster learner autonomy. We may be more engaged with our students if we do so as well.

Assessing our teaching entails becoming conscious of the obstacles that prevent learners from learning. We may involve learners in the procedure by noting their reactions, requesting their opinions/emotions, or creating surveys that we can collaborate on to improve the learning environment.

Although it may be daunting to reflect on and critique our own work, doing so is integral to becoming more confident and creative teachers.

Constantly trying out new procedures and methods allows us to tap into our imagination, skills we never knew we had, or ones hidden beneath the surface- making us even better educators who can surmount any challenges in our field down the road.

six white sticky notes

How to use teacher self-reflection in an online learning environment

Reflective Practice can be done formally and informally. It can be a solo activity for introspection or done in partnership with students or colleagues. Just remember that whichever method you choose, it’s important to reflect on both positive and negative situations.


To keep focus during self-reflection, it might be helpful to create a questionnaire for yourself that you can refer to after any lesson. This could take the form of a diary in which we analyze both successful and less successful lessons.

Each time you write in your daily journal, ask yourself a series of questions. The British Council suggests this list to get started:

Lesson Objectives
• Did the students understand what we did in the lesson?
• Was what we did too easy or too difficult?
• What problems did the students have (if any)?
• Was there a clear outcome for the students?
• What did they learn or practice in the lesson? Was it useful for them?

Activities and Materials
• What different materials and activities did we use?
• Did the materials and activities keep the students interested?
• Could I have done any parts of the lesson differently?

• Were all the students on task (i.e. doing what they were supposed to be doing)?
• If not, when was that and why did it happen?
• Which parts of the lesson did the students seem to enjoy most? And least?
• How much English did the students use?

Classroom Management
• Did activities last the right length of time?
• Was the pace of the lesson right?
• Did I use whole-class work, groupwork, pairwork, or individual work?
• What did I use it for? Did it work?
• Did the students understand what to do in the lesson?
• Were my instructions clear?
• Did I provide opportunities for all the students to participate?
• Was I aware of how all of the students were progressing?

• If I taught the lesson again, what would I do differently?

Video Recording

At first, you may be too concerned with yourself rather than the students and instruction while reviewing your film. We all tend to do this. You may even remark things like: “My voice sounds awful! My hair looks terrible! That outfit makes me look fat.”

To begin, this video is not about your appearance or voice. Accept it and move on! You want to understand more about your teaching, not your appearance or vocal abilities. Keeping that in mind, here are some suggestions for watching your video.

Turn Off the Sound

Turn off the sound the first time you view the video. You may pay attention to the students and watch their expressions and body language when you silence the sound.

Ask yourself:
✔️ Are they paying attention to the lesson or getting bored?
✔️ Do they engage with their classmates?
✔️ Are they on task or wasting time away?

Keep in mind that if you watch with the sound on, you risk missing out on some of this vital information. Of course, for subsequent viewings, turn on the sound.

Make a Plan

You might want to consider how you introduced the lesson, how active students were, whether you used questioning techniques, how much time you allowed for questions, how you called on students or how they worked in groups, and so on. Remember that if you attempt to concentrate on everything,

Make a List

Make a list of the things you notice. First, mark anything you believe to be significant or important. Then, categorize them as good or bad. Above all, don’t just focus on what you think didn’t go well.

Take note of what went well and made you feel proud of yourself as a teacher. Reflection isn’t only about acknowledging where you may improve. It also validates the work you’re doing right!

Making a list of successes and opportunities is part of teacher self-reflection.


Asking ourselves reflective questions at the moment can also help us to improve our techniques and approaches on the spot. When you try something new, immediately ask yourself the following:

✔️ What is working? How? Why?
✔️ What are students struggling with? Why?
✔️ What can I do to help these students right now?

It is important to think about how you can assist the individual learners in your class at that moment – taking into account things like age, level, interests, and goals.

If you are constantly reflecting in this way, you will develop a repertoire of strategies to use with different types of learners in a variety of situations.


When it comes to teacher self-reflection, observations play a key role. After all, how can you reflect on and improve your teaching methods if you don’t take the time to observe yourself in action?

Fortunately, in the online learning environment, it’s easy to observe yourself in action. All you need to do is record your lessons, either with audio or video. Then, at the end of the day or week, as a trusted friend or colleague in a similar field to watch them.

Doing this will help you to identify both your strengths and areas for improvement. For example, you might realize that you’re good at keeping students engaged, but that you need to work on your pacing.

You can even ask your students for observation feedback. This can be done informally, through a quick chat after class, or formally, through a survey. Ask them what they thought of the lesson, what they liked and didn’t like, and what they would change if they could.

Research & Experimentation

Research and experimentation play an important role in teacher self-reflection. This process can be time-consuming, but it can have a big impact on your teaching practice.

By trying out new approaches and techniques, you may discover a whole new way of teaching that you never would have thought of before.

For example, by experimenting with the ‘Dogme’ approach, you may find that you can create effective lessons based purely on what the learners produce. This can increase your confidence and help you be more prepared when substituting classes or starting new courses.

person writing bucket list on book

Teacher Self-Reflection Questions to Ponder

Whether you’re using a self-reflective journal or trying to get feedback from your students and peers, perhaps the hardest part is actually coming up with the right questions to ask.

Here is a nice, comprehensive list to help you develop your teacher self-reflection practice:

  1. What was the best moment of my day, and how can I have more moments like it?
  2. What was my toughest moment and why? How did I overcome it?
  3. If my students weren’t excited to be in class, what can I do to change that?
  4. How was my mood with others today?
  5. In what ways did my students surprise me today?
  6. How can I help my colleagues further and how will continue to do so in the future?
  7. What is preventing me from improving my teaching practice, and how can I overcome these obstacles?
  8. What did I do for myself today, and why is this important?
  9. What do I want everyone to be able to say about me at the end of the day tomorrow?
  10. Did the activity help everyone learn in class? Why or why not?
  11. Are the relationships that I have with my students helping or hindering their ability to learn?
  12. Could the problems I have in my classroom be solved by pre-teaching my expectations?
  13. Is my demeanor and attitude toward my students hindering their learning?
  14. Am I excited to go to work today?
  15. What choices have I given my students lately?
  16. Is it possible for me to discuss at least one thing about each of my students’ personal lives?
  17. Does my gradebook accurately reflect student learning?
  18. Do my assessment tools evaluate learning, or simply task completion and memorization abilities?
  19. Why did I really choose to teach this particular lesson today?
  20. What tangible evidence do I have that my students are truly gaining knowledge?
  21. What new teaching strategies have I tried that might benefit a struggling student?
  22. In what ways am I challenging students who are clearly being successful In my class?
  23. What do I do when students aren’t learning in my classroom?
  24. Which students benefit from this activity?
  25. Which students do not benefit from this activity?
  26. In what areas can I still improve professionally?
  27. What’s stopping me from improving in these areas?
  28. In what ways can I support my colleagues in their student’s learning?
  29. Do my actions as a teacher show my belief that all students can learn at a high level?
  30. Is my practice of communicating with parents of my pupils conducive to student learning?
  31. What new ideas have I tried in my classroom to keep myself inspired about teaching?
  32. What measures have I recently taken to relieve stress, focusing on my mental health so that I can remain an effective teacher?
  33. What things am I currently doing that I could realistically make less of a priority in my profession?
  34. How much time have I spent with my family and friends over the last fortnight?
  35. What am I trying to accomplish with my students?
  36. What are my short-term goals?
  37. What are my long-term goals?
  38. Why are my goals important?
  39. Where do such objectives originate? Are they beneficial to people living in today’s society?
  40. How do my goals connect and relate to the school’s goals?
  41. What critical skills am I trying to develop?
  42. What are my beliefs about how students learn?
  43. How do I create a positive climate for learning?
  44. What essential questions do I want my students to explore?
  45. What are the primary types of instructional strategies that I use regularly?
  46. How do I know when my pupils have met the objectives I set for them?
  47. How do I get feedback from my students on how well they are doing?
  48. How do I use that feedback to improve student learning?
  49. How do I customize and individualize learning for my students?
  50. What’s special and unique about my teaching?
  51. How will I work on my teaching in order to improve what I do?

Teacher Self-Reflection Followup: Analyze and Implement Effective Techniques

Remember that there is no such thing as a perfect teacher or a perfect class. The goal is an improvement, not perfection.

Teacher self-reflection is a powerful tool that can help online teachers improve their student satisfaction with the teacher’s teaching methods. By taking the time to analyze their own teaching methods, teachers can identify areas in which they can improve.

Pro Tip: Teacher self-reflection can lead to increased student satisfaction with the teacher’s teaching methods.

There are a few key steps that you can take to reflect on your own teaching methods. First, should gather data from your students. This can be done through surveys, video recordings of lessons, or other means. Once the data has been gathered, look for patterns.

✔️ Are there any recurring themes?
✔️ What do the students seem to be struggling with the most?

After identifying areas that need improvement, teachers can then begin to look for solutions. One avenue is to talk to colleagues about their findings and ask for advice. Another is to read up on effective techniques that can help address the identified problems.

Finally, teachers can interact with other teachers on blogs and social media sites. By doing so, they may find new perspectives and techniques that they hadn’t considered before.

Related Reading:
How to Start an Online Teaching Business in 16 Easy Steps
20 Ways to Be a Good English Teacher to Online Students
The Ultimate Work from Home Office Checklist

Final Thoughts on Teacher Self-Reflection

Online teachers can have a positive impact on their students’ satisfaction with their teaching by taking the time to reflect on their own methods. This is an important step in ensuring that students have a good learning experience.

Pro Tip: The goal of self-reflection for teachers is always to improve their instruction.

The data and conclusions from your reflections may show you how to take your teaching methods up a notch, or reveal that you’re already doing great—either way, it’s an effective technique that can help assess where you honestly stand and should be used year-round.

This way, by the time the next class rolls around and you teach a lesson again, you’ll have a more comprehensive toolkit of resources at your disposal.

Overall, we believe that purposeful self-reflection is the best way to enhance your teaching skills. This process can be emotionally challenging but also eye-opening and beneficial. When you reflect on your performance, try to focus on both areas where you excel and those needing improvement.

Pro Tip: It’s easy to feel negative after looking back at your teaching, but don’t forget the moments when you felt proud of yourself too.

There is no one right way to learn, and there is no perfect teacher or lesson. If you want to improve your skills, look to the professionals in your field who are constantly working to hone their own abilities. Teachers and tutors should do the same. You can do this!

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