Reflective Teaching

Reflective Teaching: The Occupational Imperative

First, I’d like to start with a reflection exercise.

  1. What are you thankful for? 
  2. What you have accomplished in the last six months? 

Please take 3 minutes to think and write these ideas down. If you have the opportunity, share these thoughts with a friend, colleague or a mentor (it would be great if they could do the same).

Continuing in this line of thinking. Please think about:

  1. What would you like to accomplish by the same time next year? 
  2. What would you like to improve upon and how can your colleagues/friends help you in the process? 

Please take 3 minutes to write these ideas down and if you have a chance, share these goals and aspects requiring improvement with a friend, colleague or a mentor.  



Now that you’ve reflected, I’d like to share my experiences and perspective about the EF teaching world.

I’ve been at teaching English at EF for over seven years, and in that time, I have noticed EF’s concerted effort to improve and innovate – this is of course in the face of competition and maintaining our dominance in the field of education. 

Our effort to be better is what has at times stressed me out, but ultimately it has inspired me and re-wired me. I am now the point where I make my best analysis of new initiatives and evaluate their long-term efficacy, but I know these projects do not just start willy-nilly. I have put my best effort to adapt and push these initiatives forward to do my part in keeping our livelihoods viable. The stressful feeling is still present, but it doesn’t pack the sting as it used to. 



In my time at EF, I have learned how to be an effective teacher, and I’ve developed my love for teaching. For that, I will always be grateful. 

I’ve learned early on that EF is a platform for growth. Providing I give it my utmost in developing myself, as well as operating as a team player; I will be able to achieve, innovate and put my signature on the process. I will always believe in the magic that is possible between a teacher and a classroom of students. 

Our responsibility as teachers is to teach and set a good example as a bare minimum, but optimally, to provide transformative experiences. Accomplishing the latter is priceless.  And that is why I continue teaching, and I get fired up at the idea of developing my teaching team.



Whether you are a new teacher, a teacher six months in, or a seasoned professional at Kids and Teens or EFEC, there’s an imperative to develop core competencies as it is related to being a teacher.  And what does EF define as core competencies?  There are, but not limited to:


Teaching Competencies


Let us not forget about the professionalism. Even if you attain a high level in your core competencies, but lack professionalism, your odds of success and occupational viability will be severely hamstrung. Simply, core competencies and professionalism go hand in hand.  I posit the equation goes like this:


Reflective Practice at EF


The next question: Core competencies + Professionalism =? 


Reflective Practice in teaching


High-level achievement in both aspects together will equate to Learning Results (for our students) + Transformative Experiences/Innovation = Fulfilling the promise we have made to our parents and students.



Success in teaching is being able to give our students learning results.  If we get our core competencies at a high level as well as operate as A-level professionals, then creativity and innovations will inevitably occur. 

I believe that real innovation does not occur when your core competencies are limited, and likewise, if you lack professionalism.  In order for our business model to thrive, we will need to be innovative. Innovation can come from any one of us, but we will need to be highly competent and utmost in our professional integrity.

Don’t get me wrong; this isn’t a formula to merely be a successful EF teacher – this a logical equation on how to be successful in any vocation.  You are here now at EF as a teacher and having the opportunities to work on core competencies and building on professionalism are crucial processes in the big picture.  Having this practice day in and day out, sharpening your skills will help you become employable in any job market.  

All that being said, you should reflect as we had at the start –

  1. Which core competencies and elements of professionalism listed do you need to improve? 
  2. Whereabouts do you need more guidance, training, and feedback? 

Please write your ideas down (and share with a friend, colleague, or mentor).




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Director of Studies at EF English First

Director of Studies at EF English FirstPaul Chan takes a hand at teaching, coaching, sales, marketing, training staff, recruiting and trailblazing in and around the eastside of Shenzhen in the role of Production Manager!

Click here to learn more about Paul