Well this should be an easy one – I’m described as ‘reflective’ anyway (or have been recently), and have had to be reflective when doing my chartership, in encouraging my chartership mentees to reflect, in participating in the Future Leaders Programme, and in teaching an Open University course in public health. In theory reflective practice is easy!
In practice, the key difficulty and barrier to reflective practice is time. Structures like chartership and the like help as they force you to step back and think through, evaluate and apply your learning, so I can see what blogs and the ilk work for people too. However the working day can be so packed with meetings, tasks, helping users and just, well, work that taking time to step back isn’t always easy.
I’ve found it helps to set aside a time each week to reflect on the week gone past (usually this is a Friday job) and think about what went well, what could have gone better, what have I learnt, how can apply this learning, what things should I be doing, or trying to find time to do (and what things should I stop doing). Reflection can also be part of planning – for example preparing for a training course and starting off by thinking what went well last time and what else did I notice? How can I make this more interactive and less didactic? What has changed in resources available and their use? This way of thinking really helps produce a better result than just updating what you did the previous year and in that example I’ve found myself doing more interesting and relevant training both for my users and for myself.
I don’t always succeed in being reflective but guess no one’s perfect – and am keen to see what others have been saying on this topic