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Wednesday, 13 July 2011

CPD23 - Thing 5 - Reflective Practice

Some initial comments about reflective practice

I've been doing a lot of reading lately about how dog psychology - how man's best friend communicates and behaves (see Alexandra Horowitz's book "Inside of a Dog" - http://insideofadog.com/).

This has got me thinking about reflective practice.

Dogs (and other animals) famously live in the 'now'. (although cognitive science research has indicated that animals like dolphins and monkeys share a human's ability to think and reflect - see: Study: Some animals can think about thinking).

What makes us unique as humans is our inclinition as a species to reflect.

Reflective practice is defined as "the capacity to reflect on action so as to engage in a process of continuous learning" and this is "one of the defining charatertistics of professional practice" according to Donald Schon who coined the term in "The Reflective Practioner, How Professionals Think in Action"

Taking time to reflect

I try to reflect on what I do, through preparing thoroughly for annual appraisals and reviewing my professional activity to writing articles in the professional press (see article published in the Spring 2011 NGLIS journal). I wouldn't however say this comes naturally and often it seems easier to go ahead and do things. Often time and other activities will be an excuse not to sit and reflect (I was going say 'sit back' but that implies that reflection is not active which is not true). I work in an operational delivery area and the day always seems to come first (and I am not always good at managing my time!).

There seems to be a need for balance in this area (and possibly more reflection).


In my opinion, reflection on professional and work activities is about gaining confidence in listening to ourselves and others and valuing our own and others opinions and knowing which direction or elements of ourselves we need to develop more. We also need to be careful about what we see on reflection and be honest about areas where we fall short. Personally I like the simplicity of Borton's model - What? So What? Now What?


Reflection on the CPD 23 Things Programme so far

Specifically in terms of the CPD 23 Things for Professional Development programme, we've so far covered the following:

Looking back at what we've covered so far, deciding to participate in the programme (Thing 1) has been a great opportunity to re-look at blogging and gain a greater appreciation of how it might be useful from a work point of view, so this has been a positive activity. But more than this it has been an opportunity to reconsider my continuing professional development more generally and question which direction I want my career to go in.

Thing 2 was a step out of my comfort zone to explore other blogs. I still have work to do in adding meaningful comments and choosing which blogs to actively follow. Thing 3 about personal branding was thought provoking. As a result of this task I've updated the image of my blog to give it a sleeker look, I've added a CILIP Blogger tag and included a link to my Twitter account. These steps are just a start as branding is an ongoing process. Finally, Thing 4 was all about looking at the merits of Twitter, RSS feeds and Pushnote. It was good to step back and briefly consider these tools and why in the case of Twitter and RSS they are achieving wide acceptance. To be honest I have yet to explore Pushnote. This makes me ponder how I should be keeping on top of current trends and is an area I should try to get better at.

A final thought

Going back to animals and reflection, an Aesop's Fable  omes to mind called "The Dog and its Reflection". This is a story about a dog, who while carrying a bone, sees his reflection in water. The story's moral according to Jean De La Fontaine is not to be taken in by appearances. Building on this viewpoint, if we are not to be taken in, then we need to learn from such experiences and think about our actions and activities.

1 comment:

Stella Wisdom said...

I love the picture of the little ginger kitten seeing a lion reflection in the mirror!