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Teachers establish a "teaching style" in their early days in the classroom, acquiring a repertoire of strategies and activities that are regularly drawn upon in later months and years. However, this routine can also later hinder a teacher's professional development. Responses become automatic and improved awareness becomes nonexistent. The teacher turns on the autopilot, and is content to do the same again and again. Perhaps this is a means to cope with outside pressures, perhaps this is a means to cope with increased class load and work duties.

Self-assessment allows you to identify your overall strengths and weaknesses as a teacher. In addition, assessment allows you to identify the success of activities, assignments, and even courses as a whole. In short, you can continue to develop as a teacher if you regularly think about the goings on in your lessons.

To begin with, you should specifically look at what happened and why. Perhaps you had planned to make more progress with the material, yet couldn't get to the open-ended activity. Perhaps students continued to make mistakes with the target language throughout the whole lesson. Perhaps some students were particularly disruptive, and you couldn't get the class back under control.

In these examples, it's easy (and common) to blame the class, the textbook, or some other factor beyond your control. However, when these problems next occur, you don't have the tools needed to remedy the situation. For example, in the above examples, the students may have found the material too difficult, which would then require you to scale back on the ambitiousness of the lesson plan. Or maybe the initial explanation of the target language wasn't clear, so students began the activities without a good understanding of the material. Or maybe some students were disruptive because the activity didn't represent real and relevant use of the language. In other words, they were bored!

It should also be noted that assessment can and should focus on the positive and the negative points in the lesson. When you consider the negatives, then you limit the likelihood of having them happen again. When you consider the positives, then you can more easily reproduce the circumstances that led to these successes.

Of course, there's a lot of speculation with self-assessment. In addition, more than one reason may be the cause of the success or failure. Although the process as a whole can be difficult, and even lead to incorrect analysis, continued assessment usually clarifies any mistaken conclusions.

Consider the following for any lesson or incident:

1: What happened?
2: Who was involved?
3: When did it happen?

You should also think about what happened before and what happened after the incident. Continued analysis provides continued growth, which in turn adds to a teacher's repertoire. Teaching becomes easier.