Reflective Diary for Professional Development of Novice Teachers [ACM SIGCSE 2019]

   Authors: Martin Ukrop, Valdemar Švábenský and Jan Nehyba

 Primary contact: Martin Ukrop <mukrop@mail.muni.cz>

 Conference: ACM SIGCSE 2019

@InProceedings{2019-sigcse-ukrop,
  Title         = {Reflective Diary for Professional Development of Novice Teachers},
  Author        = {Martin Ukrop and Valdemar Svabensky and Jan Nehyba},
  BookTitle     = {Proceedings of the 50th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education},
  Pages         = {1088--1094},
  Year          = {2019},
  Publisher     = {ACM},
  Series        = {SIGCSE '19},
  ISBN          = {978-1-4503-5890-3},
  DOI           = {10.1145/3287324.3287448},
  Address       = {New York, NY, USA},
}

Abstract

Many starting teachers of computer science have great professional skill but often lack pedagogical training. Since providing expert mentorship directly during their lessons would be quite costly, institutions usually offer separate teacher training sessions for novice instructors. However, the reflection on teaching performed with a significant delay after the taught lesson limits the possible impact on teachers. To bridge this gap, we introduced a weekly semi-structured reflective practice to supplement the teacher training sessions at our faculty. We created a paper diary that guides the starting teachers through the process of reflection. Over the course of the semester, the diary poses questions of increasing complexity while also functioning as a reference to the topics covered in teacher training. Piloting the diary on a group of 25 novice teaching assistants resulted in overwhelmingly positive responses and provided the teacher training sessions with valuable input for discussion. The diary also turned out to be applicable in a broader context: it was appreciated and used by several experienced university teachers from multiple faculties and even some high-school teachers. The diary is freely available online, including source and print versions.

This diary will help you reflect on your own teaching. It suggests things to pay attention to, questions to ask and aspects to ponder. But bear in mind – it's not a cookbook for good teaching, it is only a guidebook for your own journey.

To supplement your teaching reflection, join the conversation with your fellow teachers. Ask around at your institution for a teaching and learning center or directly engage your colleagues teaching the same course.

If you are from Masaryk University (Czech Republic), you can enroll in the Teaching Lab course at the Faculty of Informatics MUNI to learn more and join the discussion on better teaching.

The diary is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Thus, it's free to download and use. The compiled version is available at GitHub. There are two language versions (Czech and English), each in a reading variant and two print variants. The diary is typeset in LaTeX. The included Makefile facilitates the compilation process on Linux-based systems.

GitHub repository Diary PDFs

First and foremost, use it regularly.

Note down your thoughts both when planning the lesson and after delivering it. There are fourteen spreads (one for each semester week), each suggesting a handful of questions. The diary is quite small – it's partly to keep your notes short.

After the spreads for individual weeks, there is a teacher evaluation rubric, a list of indicators that can be evaluated, a list of some useful teaching tools, and some extra space for your notes and remarks.

Regularly using the reflective diary serves multiple purposes:

  • It reminds you to reflect on your teaching.
  • It provides you with a convenient place to collect notes for the future.
  • It helps you see all the different aspects of teaching.
  • It enables you to track your progress.

We highly appreciate suggestions for improvement, notes on your experience or any other comments.

Please email us at teachinglab@fi.muni.cz.

This diary was created by Martin Ukrop, Ondráš Přibyla, Valdemar Švábenský and Martin Macák for the course Teaching Lab at the Faculty of Informatics, Masaryk University with the cooperation of the Masaryk University Language Centre.