Reflect on practice
A community of practice is an opportunity for participants to reflect on current practice and grow their own understanding and knowledge. This type of reflective practice can also contribute to clearer goal setting, a stronger understanding of what to look for when observing instruction, and new ways to communicate when coaching school leaders and teachers.
One strategy for reflecting on instructional practice is for participants to consider what positive changes in practice would look like through the lens of ‘more/less’. This reflection strategy can be used at the beginning of a community to help participants articulate what improved practice would look like.
In the example below, Learning for All community of practice participants brainstormed what kinds of things they would like to see less of in the classroom, and what they would like to see more of for students with significant disabilities. Articulating these lists during the first face-to-face session helped participants create goals with more observable indicators, target their coaching efforts more clearly, and identified new ways to talk with teachers.
At the wrap-up for this community, participants returned to this brainstormed list, reflected on practices they had observed throughout the year, and generated a new list of observations that described the growth in practice they were observing. This list could be repurposed as sample criteria for best practices and shared with interested educators.
Examples and non-examples
Another strategy for reflecting on new ideas and practices is to develop short descriptors and then create examples and non examples.
In the following examples the Learning for All community of practice worked in small groups to discuss and clarify their understanding of these six principles of instructional planning.
The groups used the template below to record their reflections.
Here is the final product that participants developed from their reflective conversations.
Starting with a quote
A single quote can serve as a catalyst for reflecting on practice and articulating beliefs and values that underpin practice. As well as generating valuable conversation from these kinds of reflection can provide tangible criteria for leadership development.
When participants are looking at a new practice or research finding it may be helpful to provide reflective questions for a structured conversation.
In the sample below, participants looked at a new template for instructional planning and used the provided questions to reflect on what implications this new planning process might have for shifts in thinking, use of resources, and professional learning.
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