Taking time to document and amplify reflections
As teachers we value our time. Our time is one of the things that is always limiting in our job. There is never enough time in our day. The list of things to do is ever growing. Some days it is hard to fit in going to the toilet or grabbing a coffee. But there is something that as educators we need to make time for…
Reflection. Reflection is one of the most important things that we teach our students. We ask our students to reflect on their thinking and learning constantly. Here are a few questions that I ask my students almost daily:
- What could you have done differently?
- How has your thinking changed?
- What have you learnt today?
- What helped your learning?
- What has got in the way of your learning today?
- What are you proud of today?
And so the same is true of reflection for teachers too. In fact it is so important that we model these reflective techniques for the benefit of our students.
As teachers we need to be reflecting on our teaching methods, new tools, our Units of Inquiry, making links to previous learning and thinking about What isn’t working like it should? Is there anything that is still taking up your time that no longer serves its purpose? (Aaron Hogan)
That is a lot of reflecting! There are always things that we think we can do better at. But we also need to think about the things that have gone well in our classrooms or meeting rooms. After all…
But reflection is hard. And so it something that we do not always find time for. Here are a few reasons why you should:
- The brain benefits from reflection in learning
- It makes us self-aware and challenges our thinking.
- It helps us understand ourselves more as a learner, teacher and thinker.
- It helps us moving forward as a learner and thing about how best to help, support and learn from our colleagues.
And reflection is not enough. We also need to share these reflections to a wider audience. We need to amplify our voice. We need to blog.
But how do we build it into our workflow?
Yes we are busy…But we manage to get school on time. We manage to be at class on time. We manage to go to meetings on time with colleagues or parents. So I think we should try to build it into our schedule. That is going to be my plan for the year ahead...I am going to try and use one period of my non-contact time to document, reflect and amplify my thinking. There I have written it down in this blog…so now I am accountable. I think it will benefit my students, myself, my colleagues and maybe some other people who read this blog.
If it is not scheduled then it won’t happen. It will be interesting to see when my to do list continues to grow will I still stick to my pledge? I certainly hope so. Why? Because I really do see the value of documenting and reflecting on my learning for the benefit of my students learning. Blogging is a vehicle to help amplify my thoughts to help develop my thinking and improve my practice.
How do we help our colleagues in starting and or continuing blogging?
I think modelling, to our colleagues, that we value blogging as a tool to document and reflect upon our practice for the benefit of student learning. Making time, in our hectic schedules, to blog is a good use of time. It does impact student learning, it does give something back to our community of teachers ( both in our school and further afield) and it does move our thinking and understanding forward.
I understand some teachers may not be ready to amplify their reflections. It will still be important to make time to document and reflect. Unfortunately deadlines drive our schedules and time. But I do think scheduling time at the end of lesson or a day take 5 minutes to reflect on what has gone well or what can be improved is vital, for the benefits of student learning. Write your reflections in your planning book, write them in a reflections book, but document them somewhere. When you are ready share these reflections with a close colleague. Some one who you trust. Good people.
In my last post I wrote about the benefits of surrounding yourself with good people. One of the comments on that post was from Louisa who said that “We can absorb and benefit from their creativity and energy just through that proximity, whether literal or virtual.”
That is so true. After all…
Imagine what would happen to education if we all took time to document and amplify our reflections?
How are you going to fit it in? Are you not going to fit it in? Why do you blog? Why do you not blog?
I would love to know you thoughts.
Join in the conversation.