If you look up the word reflection in the Oxford Dictionary the second definition is “Serious thought or consideration” and the sample sentence they give is “he doesn’t get much time for reflection” which is a common response for most people when they are asked to routinely reflect on their actions. This raises the question is it a matter of having enough time to reflect or is it a concise decision not to reflect?
In general the reflection process can be difficult to start because whether you are doing a personal reflection or reflecting for other people to see you are opening yourself up and for some people it can be difficult to deal with the emotions that follow.
I have had some experience with reflection before, I was involved in a project that asked us to keep a reflective diary. Nevertheless, I didn’t really follow through as I found it difficult and I didn’t really know what to write. I also didn’t think what I wrote would be any good so I gave up pretty quickly.
However, while I was overseas teaching English I came across a reflective practice group at a conference and I really liked their pitch so I volunteered to set up a similar group in the city where I lived. I knew that I would have difficulty reflecting but I wanted to give it another shot and this group seemed like the best way to go about it. The group was made up of both local and expat English teachers, we would all do our personal reflection and then once a month we would reflect as a group on an issue or topic related to the classroom. At the end of the meeting we would all share a reflective task we were planning to work on for the month and then at our next meeting we would share how successful or not successful we were at completing this task. I was not always successful at completing my task for the month but it really motivated me to try. One of my tasks was to keep a reflective journal but like in the previous case I found it difficult to put my reflection it words. Even though I didn’t succeed at that task I learnt that the best way to reflect on my actions in the classroom was to have a reflective buddy, another teacher who we would talk about what was going on in both our classrooms. This made it much easier to reflect but my reflective buddy was a close friend, someone who I trusted which made it easier to open up.
For this class, we have to post our reflections on the reading texts assigned for each week on our blogs. Although I found it difficult to express my reflections in words in the past I think I will be more successful this time as I haven’t put my name to this blog as it gives me a sense of security being anonymous.
The picture I posted Is a photo of me standing in front of a sculpture in the National Botanic Gardens, Dublin. The sculpture uses mirror pieces in its mosaic which distorts my reflection. I think this photo sums up the beginning of the reflective process for me and hopefully by the end of the course I can say that I have improved my reflection skills and post an image of a clear reflection.