Learning and Growing Through Reflection
“As members of the Ravenscroft community, we take responsibility for our behaviors and actions and strive to grow and learn through action and reflection. We honor and respect the perspectives of others and seek to lead through a spirit of collaboration and compassion. We strive to serve our communities by helping put bold ideas into action for positive change through courage, creativity, civic engagement, and dedication.”
Over the holiday break, I was reviewing some of our exciting work related to our Lead From Here initiative, and I was reminded of the powerful statement listed above.
It was perfect timing to come across these words because I was in the process of reflecting on the first half of our school year and preparing strategic action plans for our community to move forward on our established goals.
This provided really concrete evidence of the impact that Lead From Here is having on me personally as a leader. I knew I was engaging in this reflective process because of the professional development I have received in the past three years in partnership with the Center for Creative Leadership. Because of this important work, I was positioning myself to help change our world in Lower School for the better.
Being reflective is one of the competencies in our Citizen Leader framework and we have defined it as a person who regularly takes the time to pause and assess how things are going and articulate insights from this practice.
What is really exciting is that all learners in our community (children and adults) are intentionally taught this competency and provided time and space to practice and apply it.
As part of our Faculty Growth and Evaluation process here at Ravenscroft, every faculty member is expected to engage in a year-long professional growth plan that includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- maintaining a written Professional Growth Plan with established learning objectives for the year;
- meeting with direct supervisors to discuss and reflect on areas of strengths and areas for growth as an educator;
- participating in formal and informal classroom observations that include pre and post observation discussions with direct supervisors;
- and completing Mid-Year Reflection tools to reflect on growth in connection to our Characteristic of Effective Teaching here at Ravenscroft.
Our faculty take responsibility for their behaviors and actions and strive to grow and learn through action and reflection. They are citizen leaders who are changing the lives of our students for the better because they view themselves as learners and continually reflect on their practice.
Our students are also spending time in reflection at all grade levels. Examples range from the Kindergarten student naming their New Year’s resolution and identifying how it will impact them and the other people in their life, to the fourth grade student that each day answers these three questions:
- What do I need to work on as a student/friend?
- What did I do well with today and why?
- If I feel comfortable, how am I going to extend my learning?
After each of our experiential Lead From Here lessons, students are asked to think about and discuss three categories of questions:
- What are some things you noticed?
- What surprised you?
- What challenged your thinking?
- How did you feel?
- Can you think of other experiences in your life where you felt something similar?
- What are some things that would have made the experience better for you?
- What do you understand better about yourself?
- What do you think you will remember from the experience?
- What might you do differently next time? Or in a similar situation?
- What would you like to take away from this experience and apply to a different experience?
- How can you use the knowledge and skills you now have in other settings?
The power of these experiences is brought to life through these debriefing questions.
Reflection is part of our everyday practice here at Ravenscroft, and we truly believe it will help all our citizen leaders to put bold ideas into action for positive change.
As we head into the second half of the school year and prepare for report cards and parent conferences, please take time to reflect with your child on their progress so far this year. Make time to have conversations with them about what they view as their strengths and ask about what they plan to focus on next for growth. Challenge them to identify what action they will take to change their world next.
“Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.”
Image from: http://ynpn.org/blog/ynpn-leaders/2013/08/09/looking-back-and-looking-forward-on-talent-management/