The TIM Reflection Tool (TIM-R) is one of the underutilized tools in the TIM suite. New TIM Tools clients tend to gravitate to the TUPS and the TIM-O, are satisfied with the results, and forget that there are other useful tools in the suite. Today, I’d like to present four ways a school or district can use the TIM-R.

TIM-R before the TIM-O

Sometimes when a new district adopts TIM Tools, there’s apprehension among teachers about this new-fangled observation tool that will be used in their next lesson observation. They’ve probably heard it has something to do with technology and might even make the false assumption that the observer is looking to see how they’re using technology, rather than how their students are using technology. We have presentations that can help inform faculty about TIM Tools, but one sure-fire way to acquaint teachers with the TIM-O Observation Tool is to ask them to complete a TIM-R on a lesson of their choice. They don’t even need to share it with anyone. The TIM-R is exactly the same as the TIM-O. Years ago, we found that many districts wanted a teacher reflection tool and so they asked teachers to use the TIM-O to create an observation on one of their own lessons. The result, of course, was data from regular lesson observations and self-observations being intermixed. We cloned the TIM-O Tool and named the copy the TIM-R Tool so that the data from the two tools would remain separate. A teacher who has completed a TIM-R knows exactly what to expect from the TIM-O.

TIM-R with the TIM-O

Sadly, teacher observations are sometimes a one-way street. The teacher is observed. The principal shares the observation write-up with the teacher in a post-observation conference. The teacher signs the observation form and it goes into a file folder.

An effective post-observation conference should be a dialogue. One way to encourage dialogue over monologue is for both the observer and the teacher to complete an observation for the same lesson. This way, both parties bring something to the table for discussion. Of necessity, the observer’s TIM-O record is based entirely on what was observed during the lesson. If the teacher has completed the TIM-R based on what someone could physically observe in the classroom, then the TIM-O and the TIM-R should closely align. If the two forms are in basic agreement, then a quick reference to the TIM will suggest modifications to instruction that will impact student achievement. If they diverge significantly, it opens the door to meaningful discussions about teaching strategies.

TIM-R To Support Reflective Practice

Reflective practice is crucial for a teacher’s growth, but finding time and inspiration can be challenging. We all know we should make time for reflection, but in our busy schedules it’s easy to put off. Just sitting and thinking for a moment can look and feel as though we’re doing nothing!

Even when we make time for reflection, it can hard to get started. Inspiration doesn’t always strike as we are staring at a blank journal page during the few free minutes in our daily schedule.

One very practical way to take a moment out for reflection is to complete a TIM-R on a recent lesson. One can immediately begin a question-based version of the TIM-R and probably complete it within one minute. Two minutes tops. Up will pop a profile for that lesson. Take a moment to congratulate yourself on those characteristics that displayed a high level of tech integration. Now take a look at the characteristics at lower levels of technology integration.

“What?!? The lesson profile for Goal-Directed Learning is Entry?? I wasn’t even thinking about Goal-Directed Learning.”

You can sum up your insight in the comments and even link to outside URLs if you want. The TIM-R provides a quick structure for reflection. Frequent TIM-Rs can be much more valuable than an annual TIM-O. I’ve worked with one school in Europe that rarely conducts TIM-Os, but the teachers regularly create TIM-Rs on their own lessons.

TIM-R To Identify Coaching Goals

Last but not least, the TIM-R can quickly identify a potential TIM-C goal. A teacher can complete a TIM-R on any previous lesson and use the resulting profile to identify a characteristic and level as a goal. For example, if a lesson profile has a particularly low tech integration level for Active Learning, the teacher can set a goal of increasing competence in creating active lessons and use the TIM-R as the data source for that goal in a new coaching cycle.

I hope this has given current TIM Tools subscribers new ideas for utilizing the TIM-R. If you’re not yet a subscriber, consider exploring the entire TIM Tools suite. You can also generate a quote for your school or request a complimentary consultation to discover how these tools can benefit your own educational institution.

Roy Winkelman is a 40+ year veteran teacher of students from every level kindergarten through graduate school. As the former Director of FCIT, he began the Center's focus on providing students with rich content collections from which to build their understanding. When not glued to his keyboard, Dr. Winkelman can usually be found puttering around his tomato garden in Pittsburgh.