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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Reflect for Success: MTA Summer Conference

Finding an inspiring place to write is an
important part of the reflection process. 
When do you make time for reflection? What does your reflective practice look like?

I typically reflect each morning. I think about the day ahead and spend some time reading, reflecting, and writing about the day's challenges, goals, and focus.

The French philosopher, Denis Diderot, describes the role of reflection well with this quote, "There are three principal means of acquiring knowledge--observation of nature, reflection, and experimentation. Observation collects facts; reflection combines them; experimentation verifies the result of that combination."

A Vehicle for Reflection
To begin, reinvigorate, or continue your reflective practice, it's a good idea to start by creating vehicles for reflection. Using an online/offline journal, iPhone, drawing pad, or website work well when it comes to hosting your thoughts and ideas. You may decide to share your thoughts with an audience on a blog like this one or keep your ideas to yourself or a small group of friends and colleagues. I have a large number of reflective journals both online and off. My most personal reflections are kept in notebooks, and my more professional share is included on blogs I share with others.

Time to Reflect
Next, decide on a time of day that's best for reflection. I like the early morning hours when the air is fresh; the sun is rising; and my home is quiet. I write while I listen to the news and enjoy a cup of coffee.

It's great to focus your reflections around a topic, goal, or interest. I have a number of blogs that match my interest:
When you share your reflections, you invite audience. Audience has a profound affect on your writing and share. It changes the way you think about your reflections and your commitment to the words you put down on paper. Audience invites collaboration and elevates your reflection in powerful ways. Yet it's important that you think deeply about what and with whom you want to share. This year I chose the word love for the #oneword year-long journey. At first, I publicly shared my reflections, but then the journey became too personal for public share so I now continue that reflective path with a more private journal.

As Diderot notes, the final stage is experimentation or embedding your synthesis, revelation, and reflection into practice and life. Reflection has a positive impact on the life you lead, and that's what keeps me coming back each morning to ponder, think, and write.

Join Me: Reflect for Success
This summer, I'll lead a small group of educators in a reflection workshop at the Massachusetts Teachers Association's (MTA) Summer Conference in beautiful Amherst, Massachusetts. If you're interested in sharing your reflective practice or starting this pattern to inform and uplift your life/work, please consider joining me. Bring a laptop/notebook, drawing pad, your favorite pens/pencils, and a readiness to explore your thoughts and the thoughts/ideas of others.

Peter Drucker affirms reflective practice with these words, "Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action."

In the days ahead I'll collect more quotes, images, and examples of reflection for the summer workshop and to inform greater reflection, my own, others, and the reflections of the children I teach.