Monday, 26 January 2015

Reflecting on what matters

While in the process of starting a new learning community, reflection has been key.

But, how do you develop this practice in teachers, parents and students?

Why should we reflect and through what lens?

What part do the key stakeholders in this play? i.e the students

How does it impact on practice and outcomes? Does it?

When thinking about developing a learning community based on solid purposeful reflection, I was determined to make it impact on practice the most. I often think the practice link is the one missing from the equation, pedagogy can get in the way! People talk MLE/MLP etc but not at the grassroots level of learning and teaching. For me the movement needs to become about practice and the more reflective and sharing of it we are, the more powerful it becomes.

At a recent GPC we discussed "the art of teaching" and how this needs to be a focus. In Maurie's latest blog he references it as well with the strong push of just do it! I fully agree, but what do you "Just Do?"

You need a lens to think reflectively through. In a recent post I wrote about the importance of learning values, this to me is a good lens to look through when reflecting.

It works because you can target your reflection to an area, that as a team you have co-constructed the meaning of. There is a common understanding of the why, how, what. It means you can reflect, celebrate and question through a shared understanding.

We reflect using this lens around everything we do, whether it's questioning student engagement, asking students for feedback around our practice, reflecting on the learning design process, everything!

The framework allows staff to feel safe and ok about being challenged as it's through a lens we all own. They are now open to more critical conversations and challenge and can share celebrations in a concise way.

Another area that we have begun to reflect on is our essence of learning statements. We have asked ourselves is this the essence of learning are we living it out. Great conversations around the "why are we doing things" have continued because of this. Is the practice we are using actually getting us to the essence of learning and the outcomes we expect.

Honesty, courage, questions, growth mindset are keys to this reflective equation. Building staff capacity to see how it can increase student learning and engagement, as well as growing the staff as a learner.

An interesting aside is that we are seeing more and more that unless you engage with all of the learning values and link them, learning/reflection/design isn't as powerful.


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