Teachers learn from the beginning that proper planning, keeping a cool head, and reflection all lead to success for students. Teaching classes instruct new teachers on how to go about planning an effective lesson. Reflective writing plays an important role in making the most of each teaching experience. Effective Lesson Plans Teachers plan effective lessons through, “backwards planning.” The process is so named because the teacher starts out with what she wants students to know; this is the learning objective. The next step is deciding how the students will prove their knowledge. There are many choices; among them are: written test, oral test, essay, and teacher observation. Finally, the teacher decides what learning activities students will participate in before assessment. Reflective teachers always think about the last lesson before planning the next. Instructors evaluate what went well, and what needs improvement. The reflection focuses on teacher-presentation, as well as the needs of students. Many lesson planners have a section at the end for the last step: teacher reflection. Putting the reflection in writing helps to organize one’s thoughts, and plan accordingly. Teaching Methods A good reflection helps teachers consider procedure. For example, a teaching goal may be the promotion of self-reliance. The teacher reflects on the task given to students in the last lesson: They read the instructions during a silent reading period of 90 seconds. The teacher expected they proceed with the task from that point on their own. If students seemed confused, or negative, she will consider modeling a couple of the sentences to get them started the next time. People Skills Reflective writing helps teachers think about literally everything they do. This includes working on important people skills. Conflicts arise when students and teachers come to class with different agendas. The teacher has the goals of the lesson in mind; students are thinking about each other, how their hair looks, where they wish they were right now, etc. Teachers learn that students, who feel wrongly accused, resist learning. Effective teachers handle classroom management in degrees. For instance, if there are some students who are off-task, a teacher may start by getting physically closer to them. If that fails, he may then state that he needs that all iPods, personal reading, etc. be put away. The final stage is calling the off-task student by name, asking for full participation. Self-reflection helps teachers to recall those times when the order was not followed, and how it affected the success of the lesson. Writing a Worthwhile Reflection A good way for teachers to reflect on their work, and the needed improvements is to keep a reflection journal. Instructors write in the journal immediately following the day’s work. It is important to keep the protection of students in mind. A journal should never include student names. Reflection happens for most no matter how they personally manage the process. Getting into the habit of using a journal for the purpose promotes quality reflection. The reflective journal entry may never be used beyond the day of its writing. The process of reflection is what improves teaching. The journal not only formalizes reflection by turning it into a vital part of the daily routine; it promotes deep thinking. Take a few minutes every day to think about your work by writing down your thoughts.