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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Reflect on your work...

Currently I am working on my Master's degree in Elementary Education. Classes just started up again last week, so this past week I have been getting adjusted to my new class schedule. With this current class I am to write weekly journal entries. The purpose of which is to become reflective educators. As I ponder over this weeks readings I can't get one phrase out of my mind: "reflect on your work."

As I think about this phrase I feel that it is one that applies to more than just education and being an educator. It applies to life. How many of us reflect on our life's work, whether be as a teacher, a lineman, photographer, doctor, a father or mother, a husband or wife, a sister or brother, a daughter or son. We each have work in one aspect or another, and more than one aspect as well.

What purpose does reflection serve? How do you reflect?

The dictionary defines reflect as follows:
reflect |ri╦łflekt| (verb)
[ intrans. ] ( reflect on/upon) think deeply or carefully about

The thesaurus gives us the following synonyms
...indicate, show, display, demonstrate, be evidence of, register, reveal, betray, disclose; express, communicate; formal evince.
...think about, give thought to, consider, give consideration to, review, mull over, contemplate, cogitate about/on, meditate on, muse on, brood on/over, turn over in one's mind; archaic pore on.

How do you reflect on your work? Do you write in a journal? Meditate? Write poetry?
Does the way you reflect depend on what it is you are reflecting on?

As for me it does depend on what it is I am reflecting upon. Photography plays a big part in my reflection process. A lot of my photography serves as my reflection, my way of expressing myself and my thoughts. When it comes to being an educator I need to be better about reflecting on my work and in doing so writing my reflections down.

In this weeks reading it mentions conceptual framework as a reflection tool. Conceptual framework, according to the NCATE (National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education) is a "philosophy of education that gives meaning to teaching by integrating its daily demands with long-term professional commitment and direction." The aim of conceptual framework, in my understanding, is to make a clear connection between teaching and learning and connecting daily elements to the long-term goal of education.

Now, as a person who's life's work involves more than being an educator I ask myself how I can apply this framework to other areas of my life. My answer is to ask myself the following questions: Do the elements of my daily life correspond with my life goals? If not, what do I need to do to bring the daily elements of my life's work into alignment with my life time goals?

As I think about the answers to these two questions as they apply to different areas of my life I find myself thinking about the culture I was raised in. Setting goals and working toward achieving them was a large part of my youth. Reflection in the form of journal writing was a large part of my youth as well. At some point in time I fell away from using those concepts and have relied on "just winging it" with many aspects. I find myself realizing that "just winging it" doesn't work anymore. I need to go back to those foundational concepts from my youth and start using them again.

As I ponder these things I think of Stephan Covey's book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and feel that I need to revisit those habits and apply them to all areas of my life. You see, I want to be successful and "highly effective" in all areas of my life.

I leave you with a reflection picture...


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