I would always say that reflection is a valuable thing to do – but then I say that about going jogging, and it doesn’t mean I end up doing it as much as I intend! Of the reflection models presented, I think I like the simplicity and non-pretentiousness of Borton’s; “what? so what? now what?”. I think it does have to be a fairly conscious thing to do; I remember doing this frequently during the Chatership process, and also doing it a lot in my first year at the school I’m currently working in – just because I was so desperate to find my feet. However, now that I’ve had time to get comfortable at work, it gets very easy to get comfortable in a negative way, and no longer self reflect or look for ways to further improve the library. So this is a good thing for me, to bring me back to reflection. Another thing that I find to be frequently true about reflection is that when I genuinely do it – rather than the times when I was being lazy and wanted to do something that looked appropriate for my chartership portfolio – the end action point often seems really silly. However, when the action point has seemed silly, trite and self-evident, it also turns out to the be the thing that I really needed to learn and bear in mind! For example, in my current school, I have a team of 5 library staff, all of whom speak English as a second language with varying degrees of fluency. Whilst I think I have a great team (here we are dressed up for our book week this year – love this photo!), every now and then I found that communication at our meetings wasn’t always successful, and/or some staff didn’t tend to speak much at meetings. I had a think and dipped into a few books about how to have more successful meetings. All the meetings websites/books talked about how important communication was, and had various tricks to build on it. However, when I took that information and placed it in the context of my library team, I realised that the one thing I needed to consciously do to make our meetings more interactive and successful was…. SPEAK MORE SLOWLY. I tend to get excited and speak really quickly, and then library staff aren’t so sure about what I said. And then, not only may they misunderstand, they are also very reluctant to contribute themselves, in case they’ve got the context of the discussion wrong. Now there are a couple of other tricks that have also helped. One, on the suggestion of our Principal, was to print and distribute agendas the day before so staff have a chance to read through at their own time, and know what to expect. It felt pretentious to start with, but has also really helped. But, seriously, this is how I find reflection to be. There’s one big chunky paragraph right there about improving meetings, communication skills, staff needs, and what is the reflective outcome? Josie, you need to remember to speak slowly in staff meetings. Maybe this is why they describe it as reflective – generally, it leads to something that was staring you in the face all along!
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