Survival – that is what we are trying to do right now, and rightly so. Educators from every level of education, from those seasoned and those just beginning, describe this semester as the most difficult teaching semester of their career. But when we survive (and we will) what is next? In the article The Power of Reflection, educator Lori Cohen suggests that we take time to reflect.
Reflection is a common classroom practice. Faculty routinely ask students to reflect as a metacognitive exercise to strengthen learning connections and identify key means for improvement. Cohen encourages faculty to do the same for themselves. She describes reflection as a “thinking tool” that informs future mindsets and enhances decision making. Thus reflection may be our most valuable tool as we prepare for an equally uncertain spring semester. To develop this tool, Cohen suggests three key steps:
- Set conditions for reflection: Cohen says that each of us have “conditions for writing.” For some, it may be a comfy chair; for others, it might be a pretty pen. Cohen encourages faculty to identify and satisfy these personal conditions.
- Set a time to reflect: Cohen acknowledges that making space for reflection can feel like a monumental task, but it’s important to identify a time to reflect and stick to it.
- Determine a process that works for you: Often we assume reflection takes the form of writing, but there are other equally effective forms of reflection, such as sketch noting, using voice memos, or micro-reflecting on post-its. Cohen says the key is to make reflection easy and fit your strengths.
- Get started: Finally, Cohen says the most important step in the reflective process is to simply begin, and her article suggests several entry points for doing so.
Author Lori Cohen is the former Dean of Faculty at the Bay School of San Francisco and was the founder/coordinator of Bay’s Teaching Fellows program. She currently serves as an independent school consultant for Bright Morning Consulting. Her article The Power of Reflection was posted by the California Teacher Development Collaborative.
Interested in learning more about the scholarship of teaching and learning or accessing more of these resources? Belmont and Bunch Library offer the SoTL Resources at Bunch Library that provides information on SoTL professional organizations, research journals, conferences, etc.
The purpose of the Resource of the Month is twofold:
1) To encourage the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) by providing examples of high-quality research.
2) To provide faculty with innovative ideas that promote effective pedagogy.