Reflective Practitioners: Foreign-Language Teachers Exploring Self-Assessment

Mari­a Luisa Spicer-Escalante, Karin deJonge-Kannan


It is the professional and personal responsibility of teachers to analyze, evaluate, reflect on, and improve their classroom practice (Desimone & Garet, 2016). This paper introduces a guided teacher observation model which combines both self and peer-observations, designed for Foreign-Language (FL) teachers to evaluate their own classroom practice through video recording and directed reflection. Instructors’ self-assessment statements that implement this model show that it enables teachers to identify and address their areas for improvement (Bailey, 1981; Barber, 1990; Zeichner & Liston, 2014; Spicer-Escalante & deJonge-Kannan, 2014). Moreover, this guided teacher observation model entails a dialogue between observed instructor and observers. It does not ignore peer-evaluations, but rather requires responsive and responsible observations that are merged later with the self-reflection written by the observed instructor. As research in the field shows, regularly implemented self-assessment averts negative performance appraisals and reduces the need for intervention by superiors (Barber, 1990), thus offering reflective practitioners a pathway not only to professional growth (Burns, 2015; Matsuda, 2015) but also to personal development. In our own research, this model has also served as an excellent tool to inform our peers about our discipline and about the complexities involved in the training of foreign language teachers.

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