Day 136 (of 186) Proflecting
This weekend, #bcedchat had a chat focused around “creating a reflective classroom”. I helped moderate this chat in no small part due to the fact that I am a strong believer and advocate for having (and taking) time to reflect on what has been happening – either in learning or reading or experiencing – even synthesizing previous thinkings!
and then it happened…..
@harmath (a maths teacher from the lower mainland) came up with a great word in one of his tweets: proflecting:
’proflecting’ as proactively planning for reflection (which often occurs for me while lying in bed and supposedly sleeping). It is also involving the “art & science” of teaching as has been elegantly mentioned tonight. – @harmath
I am a fan of when “new words” start making an appearance – context matters (as in almost all things) but I liked the idea of “reflecting forward” – being proactive in the thinking and reflecting times. I also agree that so often the best reflections come when we have time for the brain to do what the brain does best: synthesizing – and reflections are integral in this. I am also aware of how tricky it can be to “find” this time – both for our students and for ourselves. Our connected world has provided a depth and breadth of “opportunities” which make the free time so needed a rare commodity.
I know within my “usual day” the blank spots for reflecting are often filled with books that I want to read, podcasts I’d love to stay up to date with, planning for short and long term goals for the classroom, chauffeuring my kids around, and adapting to “sudden crisis” such as my daughter trying to print out one of her scholarship applications only to find out that the printer is out of ink…..in other words – our lives can be very complex and carving out some time to reflect on what happens can very easily be “pushed back”.
But the brain likes its processing time. It’s why we sometimes have great ideas emerge at the time where we are forced to slow down – showers, shaves, sometimes driving in a vehicle (depending on the road conditions and what form of entertainment you may be listening to) going for walks, etc. It’s also why I have goofily added “boredom breaks” for particularly busy times of the school year/week/day. I notice sometimes that I am keeping everyone (including myself) too busy – a project-based-learning classroom means there can be a lot of things that can be worked on at any given time. It also means that if I want my learners to be reflective, I need to:
- provide opportunities to slow down and reflect (here is the proactive planning for reflection that I’m now going to call proflecting)
- continue to model my own reflections (as I do via this “days-of-learning blog”)
- not rely on any one format (I still remember a university teaching class where the professor had us reading a novel and doing the same “reflection” activity each day – at the end of each chapter – and how my peers were getting ready to rebel because they were so bored with this activity; and thus the lesson: don’t rely on a single method for reflecting (or answering or or or) because variety is necessary as what “we” might like is not likely to work for each student we will be working with. I concurred with this lesson because I know that the “daily journal” killed writing for me for awhile – and yes, I note the irony of my doing essentially a daily journal via this blog, but I am also aware that this was a method that was ‘my choice’ and I am pushing myself to do different (cartoons, images, draw-notes, a ‘coming soon’ video component) to also model to my kids (at school and home) that there is no “one best way” to reflect, but reflecting is an essential skill.
So, I think I like proflecting. I do plan some time each day to think about what happened during the day (or recent times) and jot it down so that I can refer back to my thinkings at later dates (this is how I saw a pattern at the end of february: https://technolandy.wordpress.com/2018/03/07/day-116-of-186-still-that-time-of-year-for-a-reminder/
I also freely admit that I don’t encourage anyone to follow up to this “blog each day of learning” that came to me via the inspirational @gcouros – it can be challenging to share something each day. It is not for everyone – and most of the blogs I love to read come out weekly (and are much better edited than my stream-of-thinkings) But I do believe it is of utmost importance to find a method that works for you to proflect: take some important time and think about what has been happening in your world. Plan to reflect. Don’t just presume it will happen when you can’t sleep or when you’re in the shower stressing that you’re running late – give some time (I usually target 15 minutes) towards the end of the day, or the morning after, or whatever works in your schedule – to synthesize and use some metacognition to think about your thinking. Proflect. I like this word.