I’m running a little bit behind on the Things at the moment as I was away on holiday all last week – I’ve come home to find my Google Reader overflowing with new reading material, so I will be making an extra effort over the next few days to catch up on all the blog posts that I’ve missed!
I’ve been thinking about what I should write for Thing 5, and I’ve decided to do a brief analysis of my own approach to reflective practice. One of the reasons that I started this blog was to help myself to become a reflective practitioner – in other words, to be someone who reflects on what they do and what they have learnt from their experiences. I feel that reflective writing is something which comes naturally to me, as I have always found that writing down my thoughts and reactions to events helps me to clarify my own opinions and to develop new ideas. I sometimes find it difficult to ‘think through’ an event properly unless I put pen to paper, so reflective writing has always been useful for me in that respect.
However, after reading the various recommended articles for Thing 5, I’ve come to the conclusion that reflective writing is not quite the same thing as reflective practice. Despite the fact that I spend a fair bit of time reflecting, I don’t think that I’ve spent enough time implementing the ideas that arise from my reflection. And if I don’t find ways to build my new ideas into my working practice then all my reflective writing effectively takes place in a vacuum, which isn’t going to help me to become a reflective practitioner! Therefore, the challenge which I have identified for myself is to find more practical applications for the ideas that I develop during my reflective writing, instead of just seeing reflective writing as an end in itself.
In order to help me do this, I’m going to take a more structured approach to my reflective writing in future. When reflecting on events I’m going to ensure that I identify what went well, what could be improved and what changes I could potentially make, as by doing this I will ensure that my writing is evaluative rather than just descriptive. Writing in this way will also allow me to pinpoint practical changes and improvements that I could implement at work.
In summary, I think that it is really worthwhile to engage in reflective practice as it can strengthen your professional development and also increase your ability to solve problems. I’ve heard that it’s also an important part of building your chartership portfolio, so the sooner I get started the better!