Action plan: The new beginning to the RP challenge #RPPLN

Thanks, first of all, to the #RPPLN for seeing me through this process of reflecting both on my class and on myself as a reflective teacher. Without your questions, comments, further questions, responses, honesty and support, I would not have gotten nearly so much out of this challenge.

My work schedule has changed rather dramatically and so I don’t see much time for blogging with all the planning and organizing I need to do, but I will not leave this task unfinished.

As John Pfordresher reminded me, it is time to think SMART (and maybe also help myself with my tightly-scheduled future).

The challenge: 

SMART plans are a critical component to the ELC. It is with our actions plans that we take what we have learned through our reflective process and attempt to apply lessons learned in our next experience. And then the ELC process starts anew!

So, let’s talk SMART. This is an acronym for





Time frame (also could be time bound)

Referring back to my description, interpretation and generalizations,  I want to add a criteria to my action plan: that it is in keeping with my beliefs about teaching and learning.

I also want to say that this takes a lot longer to think about than it looks like just reading it written out in a (very short!) blog post. The following action plan is formed from things I have already tried and new ideas that have since come to me.

The next time I see Josh (or any student) reluctant to participate, I will check to make sure they understand the aims of the task by asking the whole class directly, so that I can get feedback without singling someone out. If something else is at issue, that is beyond my control, then I can sort out other strategies through further reflective cycles and add them to the repertoire.

Since I have been teaching this class continuously throughout the challenge, I would like to end by reporting that Josh is doing much better these days. One of the things that “worked” was giving him a way to shine in class – through an English-only policy (in reality, English-mostly) which benefits everyone but really challenges students like Josh to show their talents. I actually caught him helping his less-productive classmates today.

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  • Hana Tichá  On May 14, 2014 at 12:35 am

    Hi Anne,

    First of all, I’d like to say I’m sorry about your tightly-scheduled future. I hope it doesn’t mean that we won’t ‘see’ you on-line as often as we did before. On the other hand, as everything is subjective and things can be seen from different perspectives, your tight schedule may be a positive and desirable change for you. Maybe that’s what you’ve long wished for. So in that case I should say: I’m glad you’ll keep yourself busy and have plenty of work. Whatever you wish I wish for you too, although I selfishly hope you’ll stay in touch because I truly appreciate your support and encouragement.
    As for your reflection, I’d add that if something is beyond your control, it’s sometimes easier and wiser to let things be, provided nobody feels hurt or neglected. I mean, we won’t be able to have every single moment under control. For me, the conviction that I must have certain things in the classroom under control is one of the biggest sources of stress and frustration.
    I’m glad to hear Josh is doing better in class. I’m sure all the credit goes to you. I hope you’ll keep an eye on him and report about his successes and progress. Mike Griffin has, maybe incidentally, set up a new challenge #onestudent, which you could exploit to the full with Josh or any other student of yours. You say that you mostly teach talented students and in my experience, these are the most challenging ones – not the weaker ones.


    • livinglearning  On May 14, 2014 at 9:41 am

      Thank you, Hana. Especially for this: “Whatever you wish I wish for you too”
      I feel guilty for not having time to read and comment and share posts as much as before.
      I relate to what you say about control. Sometimes I think that the need for control holds me back. But an uncontrolled classroom scares me more, especially when the kids aren’t there of their own volition and are just getting through the day. But I guess there’s a difference between control over classroom management and control over learning. And teaching them to control themselves is a step worth considering.

  • Zhenya  On June 11, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    Hi Anne

    I like how you stated your action plan: one specific action point as to what to do (checking everyone understands the task you are setting) and then the overall strategy, or decision to use the Cycle further. I have been thinking about the idea of action plans recently, especially if it is always possible to make them SMART. What I believe at this point is that if we are talking about classroom skills, for example, then being SMART is no problem. If the idea for the future is more like a decision to try something out, or a strategy to apply, then it might sound more vague.

    Great to hear that Josh has improved over the time of this RC blogging. I wonder how paying more attention to him worked here (not that you spent more time with him in class, but you were clearly thinking about him, and writing about his learning!)

    Hope that the tight schedule brings more experiences to reflect on and share on your blog, and that it will still allow coffee breaks!


    P.S. sorry for my belated comment – as usual, decided that ‘better late than never’ might work again!

    • livinglearning  On June 12, 2014 at 10:13 am

      Hi Zhenya,

      Your comments are always welcome – and always right on time. 🙂
      I think you are right that some of Josh’s improvement might be linked to the amount of thought I’ve given to making my class the kind of place where he can learn.

      I also agree that a plan for trying something new might be harder to make SMART, perhaps because we need it to be flexible in the moment of trying it.

      Thank you again for reading.
      anne 🙂


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