A defining condition of being human is that we have to understand the meaning of our experience.
Costa and Kallick (2008) say that most of us go through life viewing our experiences as isolated, unrelated events. We also view these happenings simply as the experiences they are, not as opportunities for learning. I agree that the habit of connecting and constructing meaning from experiences requires reflection.
Reflecting on experiences illuminates insight, fosters critical thinking, develops empathy, encourages a growth mindset, and strengthens efficacy. I notice that deeper reflection occurs when I’m alone and when I have adequate time to think about what happened. Reflection forces me to slow down, identifies feelings, names what happened (truths), provides space to forgive, reminds me to focus on the bigger picture (what’s important), restores chaos to wholeness, and shows me wiser and imaginative ways to move forward. When I take the time to look back, I am often led to thoughtful and discerning action.
Sometimes, you have to look back in order to understand the things that lie ahead.
– Yvonne Woon
Reflection is enhanced when we ponder our learning with others, but this requires time, vulnerability, generosity, and courage. I created this site to grow in these areas, challenge myself to document and share my learning with a wider audience. However, goals to write and share this semester were ambitious. Although reflection is a daily habit of mine, I took a closer look at all that is demanded of me into consideration and prioritized my responsibilities. At the beginning of the academic year, I made a commitment to make better decisions to protect my well-being. I haven’t figured this out yet, but I am trying. For these reasons, pondering will continue, writing and sharing will be spontaneous.
To all those I’ve connected with – through a variety of professional networks and conferences – who share their thoughts and resources generously, you are reflective role models to me. Many of these educational leaders and links to their blogs are listed below:
- Rose Pillay – Education Consultant, CISVA – teachafl.wordpress.com
- Colin Madland – Educator, Technologist, PhD Candidate – madland.ca (He started this WordPress digital portfolio movement at TWU)
- Jenn Skelding – Executive Director of the Learning Commons, Instructor of Education, and EdD Candidate – togetherwise.wordpress.com
- Tim Cavey – Middle School Teacher, Writer, and Podcaster of Teachers on Fire – teachersonfire.net
- Dr. Christine Ho Younghusband – Assistant Professor at UNBC, Educational Consultant, and Co-moderator of #bcedchat on Twitter – christineyounghusband.com
- Dr. Gillian Judson – Educator, Writer, Educational Consultant, and Executive Director of CIRCE at SFU – educationthatinspires.ca
- Dr. Kim Franklin – Former Dean of Education at TWU – educatingwithreverence.com
- Shannon Schinkel – High School Drama and Humanities Teacher – mygrowthmindset.home.blog
- Jeffrey E. Frieden – High School English Teacher, Writer, Presenter, and Podcaster of Dear Teachers, Don’t Give Up! – makethemmasterit.com
- Jack and Kris – Two Former Elementary and Secondary Teachers, Entrepreneurs of Spinndle – jackandkris.com
In writing we live life twice: once in the experience, and again in the recording and reflecting on our experience.
– Christina Baldwin
I hope to use this space to archive and journal my own stories of struggles, ideas, resources, questions, thoughts, and insights around educational issues that I love and care about more frequently very soon. Until next time, I have six more weeks of the fall semester remaining and the privilege to read hundreds (240 to be exact) of reflective posts written by current students I teach and guide – future teachers. They too are taking risks; creating their own WordPress portfolio, reflecting on their initial classroom experiences, making connections with course learning, and sharing their personal meaning-making that results from reflection – to stop and look back.
Arthur L. Costa and Bena Kallick. (2008). Learning and leading with habits of mind: 16 essential characteristics for success. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
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