Evidence Based Practice: Friday 11th March 2016

This reflexion has been constructed using a reflective practice cycle outlined by Gibbs (Gibbs, 1988: 47) and a lesson evaluation model outlined by Geoff Petty (Petty, 2014: 571). Based on Gillie Bolton’s critique of single loop reflection, I have tried to incorporate an explanation of why I felt the session developed as it did, using the analysis part of the Gibbs cycle to delve a bit deeper into how my values, theory-in-use, personality and self-confidence affected elements of the session (Bolton, 2014). I have also included reflexion on why I created the session I did.

What happened in the session:

The first third of the session is about introducing students to evidence based practice. The second third demonstrates how to use different databases and information sources to find evidence. The final third gives students an extended period of time to apply this knowledge and develop their skills. The main vehicle of the session is a Powerpoint presentation with on screen demos and hands on time for the students to practice. It is taught in a PC room. Four students were present though more were expected for this two hour session.

Why I planned the session in this way:

This lesson is a standard session and being new to my role, I stuck largely to the original plan. My colleague and I worked together to tighten up the presentation, remove unnecessary slides and rework the order of content delivery to flow better and more logically. The session includes a lot of content but opportunities for application are numerous because students often follow along on their PCs with the demonstrations. There are opportunities for students work in pairs or groups, and to interact as a whole class. There is some discussion and questioning, though this can be ineffective.

How I felt the session went:

This was a really positive and vibrant session with a small number of engaged students who seemed to know each other and feel confident expressing their views and asking and answering questions. I felt there was good rapport between the teachers and the students. I felt everyone was present as themselves: I think it helped that my colleague and I were engaged and happy to discuss their ideas. The students were introduced to new ideas and took them on board. During the last activity they demonstrated their new found skills in searching databases and using PICO.

What went well and what went less well:

Session Plan We stuck to the session plan and timings seemed to work well. I did finish my section on the theory of evidence based practice ten minutes late. I had underestimated how long it would take to talk about PICO and different types of research. I will amend the timings in my lesson plan.

I feel the section where my colleague was trying to demo Medline and having to jump backwards and forwards between slides and the lib guide, was awkward and hard to follow. The slides in this section don’t add anything additional so could be removed.

The Cochrane Appendix comes before looking at subject headings so doesn’t necessarily have the impact it could have or the relevancy.

Environment The layout of the room isn’t ideal. It is a PC suite with rows. This is unavoidable. The students fortunately sat together in the front row, enhancing the experience for all I believe.
Learning Aids The handouts for the activities worked well and clearly explained the task, whilst giving them enough material to take away and make sense of later.
Implementation of Plan Most of the session plan worked really well. The students appreciated being engaged and involved, enjoying the activities and interaction. On reflection I should have asked for them to explain the scurvy experiment to me during the Connect section, as they said they knew it. My confidence to change the session plan in action is low at the moment because of my unfamiliarity with the subject matter.

Watching my colleague demo Medline was really interesting as I felt the last time I did this, it didn’t go as easily as it could have. One thing I noted was that my colleague had a worked example and followed it throughout. This made the search steps much easier to navigate and predict. It also occurred to me that this session works much better than the session I previously gave but covers the same ground.

Communication I felt calm, confident and at ease. Learning outcomes weren’t shared as there weren’t any.
Teacher-Student Relationship Rapport was really good. Feedback from learners at the end was very positive.
Motivation Learners were motivated and engaged throughout.
Were Objectives Met? There weren’t any so this is something I need to sort out.

Why did the session go the way it did:

Broadly speaking I think the session went so well because the students were very engaged and interested in the subject matter. They were clearly friends and enjoyed spending time together and discussing issues. Co-teaching the session also helped a great deal because it reduced the amount of time I had to be “on” for and also meant I could get stuck into some theory with the students that I felt comfortable with. My colleague handled the practical application part of the session, where my knowledge is less solidified. Generally I am more comfortable with discussion, theory and ideas.

What are the general principles of good practice to take forward:

  • Taking an engaged approach to the students and subject matter such as welcoming them, learning their names, discussing issues with them
  • Using a prior worked example for a database like Medline where there is a sequential set of steps to follow rather than simply keyword searching a random term

Action Plan:

  • Create learning objectives
  • Encourage future classes to sit together at the front of the room, rather than trooping to the back despite empty rows at the front
  • Adjust timings to suit the PICO material
  • Encourage students to tell me what they know if they say they have some knowledge



Bolton, G. (2014). Reflective Practice: Writing and Professional Development. London: Sage.

Brookfield, Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher. New York: Jossey-Bass.

Gibbs, (1998). Learning by Doing. London: Further Education Unit.

Kline, N. (2015). More Time to Think: The Power of Independent Thinking. London: Octopus Books.

Petty, G. (2014). Teaching Today: A Practical Guide (5th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Schön, D. (1991). The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think in Action. Aldershot: Ashgate.


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