Yesterday, I read a blog post by Chad Segersten (edutech83), entitled Classroom Leadership: Reflective Thinking. Chad stated that “the art of reflective thinking is underdeveloped and often underused by educators.” Speaking from personal experience, I would have to agree. It has only been recently (thanks to encouragement from a great professional learning network and participation in blogging) that I feel I have truly spent time purposefully reflecting on my educational practice.
Chad alludes to one issue related to engaging educators in meaningful reflective practice with the following statement:
“At times in education we pay lip service to the idea of a “lifelong learner” because too often we rob teachers of the time necessary to work on their craft.”
I like Chad’s use of the word “rob” because, although time is always at a premium, too often we utilize the time we do have on things that simply don’t matter. Sometimes this is because of institutionalized habits, site or district administration directives, or in many cases, just poor planning. As a developing principal, I have been guilty of poor time management on behalf of my staff — something I need to improve upon.
Recently, there has been some discussion about how we make changes in order to become better stewards of the time we do have. Bill Ferriter (@plugusin) recently wrote a post entitled, What if You Flipped Your Faculty Meetings? He outlines how this might work, and describes how it could lead to better engagement and opportunities for teachers to collaborate and reflect. Regardless of the approach, educational leaders must diligently guard staff time and ensure that it is being used effectively. I have always appreciated this quote by Goethe:
“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.”
How do you currently use staff “meeting” time? What suggestions do you have for managing our time in schools to ensure opportunities for reflective practice, collaboration, and a focus on the things that “matter most”?