Reflections

A key aspect of professional growth is becoming a more reflective practitioner. To support this growth, participants need multiple and structured opportunities to reflect on shifts in practice.

Traveling brainstorm

In the example below, participants in the second year of the Literacy for All community of practice were invited to considertraveling brainstorm strategy how they had changed their instructional practice to increase accessibility and enhance the participation of students with significant disabilities. The reflections they generated through a traveling brainstorming strategy were posted to the public website for all educators to consider. Click here to view the traveling brainstorm strategy.

To view other examples, view the Literacy for All web site.

Top ten lists

A top ten list of what we learned can be a great starting point for reflecting and discussing shifts in practice and results for students. For example, the facilitator can compile evidence from webinars, online meetings and participants’ discussions to create a list of one-line statements that summarize key the learning from the work of the community. Using a traveling brainstorming strategy, participants then work in small groups and discuss and add to each item on the list. The result will be an expanded description with authentic examples for each statement of learning

To view remaining slides, visit Literacy for All.

More/less

Another strategy for reflecting on shifts in 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, during the first face-to-face session of the 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 a list of what they would like to see more of (and less of) helped participants go on to create goals with observable indicators, helped target coaching efforts and gave them 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 be shared with interested educators, beyond the immediate community of practice.

Identifying shifts

The final wrap-up day can be an opportunity for participants to reflect on and articulate shifts in practice they are observing, related to the focus of the community of practice. When teachers have the opportunity to participate in ongoing conversations about instructional practice throughout the life cycle of the community, they become more reflective practitioners and are more able to identify and describe their changing practice.

In this first example, classroom teachers reflected on how incorporating information and new literacy strategies affected their instructional practice. This analysis was helpful to not only the teacher participants but to consultants and school leaders who were interested in supporting these kinds of instructional shifts

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