Developing a Reflective Practice Workshop 2023

This workshop on Developing a Reflective Practice was offered in May 2023 for the MSU COLA Fellows. It was converted to this asynchronous format for those who weren’t able to attend.

Workshop Outline

This workshop consists of four main parts, with a reflection point separating each part. You may use the reflection prompt individually, or if you have a colleague, partner (or group of them) doing these activities together you may find it helpful to discuss and reflect together. To get the full benefit of working through these materials plan to spend about 45 minutes to watch through the videos, take the time for reflection, and to make any final notes.

Part 1 – What is Reflective Practice

Reflective Practice as defined by Donald Schon is “Thinking about one’s actions so as to engage in a process of continuous learning.” By engaging in an intentional reflective practice we are able to learn about ourselves and to make meaning from our experiences in ways that help us learn to do things differently, better, or otherwise in ways that are informed by our reflection. In this part of the workshop take some time to watch this short video and then consider the reflection/discussion prompt that follows

Watch video “What is Reflective Practice?” – 3 min 42 sec

Part 1 – Reflection/Discussion Prompt

This reflection/discussion topic is around your individual approaches to reflection and reflective practice. Take 5-7 minutes to think/write/discuss your thinking on the following:

  • What are ways that you already practice reflection in your personal or professional life?
  • What are the tools you use? Spaces you occupy? Time of day, etc.

Outcome from this activity: Find common methods of reflection/tools you use, and learn about other options from your discussion partners.

Part 2 – Starting Your Reflective Practice

Watch video “Starting Your Reflective Practice” – 3 min 32 sec

Part 2 – Reflection/Discussion Prompt

This reflection/discussion topic is about the approaches your discipline uses for reflection. Take 5-7 minutes to think/write/discuss your thinking on the following:

  • What are the frameworks, approaches, or tools that your discipline uses for reflection?
  • When does reflection occur in your discipline? Frequency?
  • How might these be used by other disciplines outside of yours?
  • If you have discussion partners, what are some of the ways their disciplines conduct reflective practice?

Outcome from this activity: Identify ways your discipline conducts reflective activities. Learn from other disciplines and identify other possible frameworks, approaches, or tools for reflecting.

Part 3 – Enacting Your Reflective Practice

Watch video “Enacting Your Reflective Practice” – 7 min 14 sec

Part 3 – Reflection/Discussion Prompt

This last reflection/discussion topic is about critically engaging in the activities of reflection and reflective practice. Take 5-7 minutes to think/write/discuss your thinking on the following:

  • What do you see as advantages or disadvantages of the various ways of reflecting?
  • What are the advantages or disadvantages/risks of
    • Reflecting in public spaces
    • Modalities (e.g. digital, paper, etc.)
    • Other considerations?
  • What are the ways/modalities that you might feel comfortable reflecting?

Outcome from this activity: Consider the affordances and limitations of different ways of reflecting and where/how you might want to share your reflection or not.

Part 4 – Bringing it All Together

Take a few minutes to gather your notes and thoughts from the previous activities and then set your timer for another 5 minutes of self-reflection to set a plan up for developing/refining your reflective practice over the coming months.

If you are in the COLA Program you have to reflect at the end of the summer on all the work and thinking you are doing with the program, how might you develop and use an intentional reflective practice to document your work this summer? If you are not in the program think about how developing and implementing an intentional reflective practice might help you over the next couple of months.

How might you use the habits you form through reflective practice in these coming months to influence your teaching going forward? How might it help you in your next annual review or other reporting points, or how it might generally help you to become a better teacher, researcher, etc?

A Final Note

Remember that changing and developing habits is HARD WORK. You likely won’t develop a lasting practice overnight or in a short amount of time, a slow and steady pace is a great way to develop these habits that will last a long time.

Reflective practice is personal—the challenge is to figure out what works for you and supports your learning. Take some time to try out different things, see what works/doesn’t and what you connect with. Ask colleagues who are doing this work and learn from them.  

Some ideas to get started and/or support your practice: 

  • For those wanting some guidance, this website gives 30 Daily prompts for developing a reflective teaching practice.
  • Block a few minutes a day in your calendar to write, draw, talk aloud, or do whatever activities you find helpful for reflection.
  • Take a walk every day at a certain time, use this time to think through ideas or to give yourself space to think and explore.
  • Start a journal or a running Google doc to jot down ideas in, revisit these ideas regularly to iterate on them or connect them

This workshop was recorded on May 25, 2023 as part of the MSU COLA Fellows workshop series.