Self-Reflection Means Nothing Without Action

Today's blog post comes from a courtyard where I am surrounded by waterfalls, elevator music, and cloudy skies. It is the last day at the Texas ASCD Conference in Horseshoe Bay, Texas.

My interest in this conference was centered around the Keynote Speaker on Day 2, George Couros. He is the author of The Innovator's Mindset which is a book I find tremendously inspiring. I
heard him speak about two years ago, and he was just as inspiring this time around.

One of George's eight components of the Innovator's Mindset is self-reflection. Self-reflection is not a concept we ask students to do enough. Many times teachers move from learning objective to learning objective without the time to facilitate students in self-reflection. We need to take the time to reflect.

Guiding students to self-reflect after a learning activity or project is powerful. How do you feel about your efforts on the project? What went well? What could you have done differently? Giving students the space and questioning strategies to learn from their learning experience empowers them to better understand themselves and could push them to improve next time.

However, I wonder if we help students take those reflections and craft a plan for improvement. For example, if students self identify time management as an area of weakness, do we work with them to create a strategic plan to accomplish tasks for their next project in a more efficient way? If a student says that finding good research is hard for them, do we connect them with the school librarian to help improve that skill? And what accountability do we assist them in monitoring their progress on that action step?

It is important that we take the time with students to reflect. Model for them what reflection looks and sounds like. Have them reflect in a journal, Google Form, or blog. Show students how to identify individual challenges, and create an action plan to make progress. These skills are paramount to success in the classroom and their personal, future endeavors.

But it isn't just students. Teachers could benefit from reflecting on their own practice. What lessons went well? Where could you improve? How can I incorporate my professional learning into my practice? Spending a few minutes each day writing in a journal or blog could help you become a more empathetic and thoughtful teacher, while honing your craft with students at the heart of your work.


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