Thoughts About Arts Education

Active Reflection Linked to Authentic Need, Not Dictated Activities

"It's time to reflect." 

Sometimes those words, especially when they arrive during a formal meeting, can be a curse.  Forced reflection, or "top down reflection" is reflection for the sake of doing the activity because it has been prompted by someone else or a necessary checkmark on the completion checklist. 

How many of us actually act on the reflection work?  A conversation a gets captured on an exit card and then forgotten.  

But, what if reflection was ingrained in our daily practice as educators.  Not as a staff meeting activity but as a part of daily planning.  

And you might read this and say, but Cathy, I do reflect daily. 

My follow-up question is: how do you take those reflections and then turn them into action?  How do you drive the learning forward in away that will not only uphold strong pedagogy, but be best for the learners in front of you?  And not overwhelming? 

"There isn't enough time" is a common phrase that I hear in the staff work spaces.  The "enough time" phrase has been echoed consistency for years, from teacher's college private school placement to current day leadership role in the public system.   

We know that there will never be enough time.  What if we switched it around and made time and scheduled in time for reflection.  Put it directly into your planning time with a monitoring system that works for you.  And make it a priority and not something that gets filled with other tasks.  

I don’t have any answers when it comes to monitoring.  I’m a journal writer - I have books and books of reflection.  What am I going to do with that information?  It is providing a guide for the revamp of my courses.  However, this is afterfact.  My current practice in my Principal’s Qualification Program is to set aside twenty minutes at the end of the day to put down point form notes of reflection with action items and timelines.  It’s early days, so I have no results, but it’s a start.

What would the impact be on our professional practice if you had daily reflection time linked to active implementation during the year?  How would it impact your learning, your approach to teaching and learning, and your school’s community’s experience? 

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