Friday, April 26, 2013

Winds of Change: Why Reflection is Critical

Today marks the first day in our neck of Wisconsin where temps actually resemble anything close to spring. It's been a long, cold and relatively harsh winter for the upper Midwest.

BUT, the winds of change are definitely blowing. We are interviewing new teachers, hiring new administrators, saying hello to incoming students and bidding farewell to those ready for the next chapter.

For me, spring always brought a time for reflection as a classroom teacher and now, as a Tech Integration Coach and soon-to-be EdTech Director for our state cooperative educational service agency, it seems even more imperative than ever to reflect and progress forward.  In the hustle and bustle of class lists, budget deadlines, evaluations and assessments and professional assignment shifting, it's tough to find time to squeeze in reflection; however, as American writer and organizational leadership expert, Margaret J. Wheatly, states, "Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful."

We ask our students to reflect every time we have them journal or complete a self-evaluation. We ask them to reflect every time they get hauled into the office for a discipline issue.  We ask them to reflect,  but what about ourselves?            

As we prepare to close the doors on the 2012-13 school year    2     and plan for the opening of the 2013-14 school year, here are some tips for finding that invaluable reflection time for yourself, as a professional, as an educator, as a human being:

1. Challenge...

  • ...positive and negative assumptions you have about yourself.
  • Why do you feel this way about yourself?
  • What evidence supports this thought pattern?

2. Smash...

  • ...things into smaller, more palatable pieces.
  • What are the steps in the process of going about the task?
  • How effective are the strategies you are currently using?

3. Remove...

  • ...yourself and view things through a different lens.
  • How do peers/colleagues view your actions?
  • How does your employer see your progress?

4. Transfer...

  • ...your revelations to other areas of your life.
  • What skills and attributes do you possess that lend themselves to your current situation?
  • How do your outside interests and abilities play into your performance or future directions?

5. Act...

  • Use the results of your reflections to create a step-by-step plan toward meeting your goals.
  • Understand that reflection is a never-ending cycle.
  • Implement your concrete plan...and then reflect again.
Source: University of Edinburgh

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