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Administration, Education, Leadership, Professional Development, Teaching

Time Management for Reflective Practice

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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”?

About azjd

Junior high principal by day, aspiring difference maker, and Jedi in my own mind. Act justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly.


2 thoughts on “Time Management for Reflective Practice

  1. Jeff, I love this post. Lately I have been thinking about how to make staff meetings more meaningful. The value of having everyone there in one place is too important to waste on administrivia. It is incumbent upon us to make that time meaningful for staff. I am intrigued by the idea if flipping the staff meeting and using our time for reflecting, learning and collaborating. Thanks for the push!

    Posted by darcymullin | July 9, 2012, 7:41 am
  2. Hey Jeff – this is always an interesting discussion. In BC, union collective agreements state that there should be no more than one staff meeting per month and these should be maximum of 90 minutes… When you add that up, that means that we have only 15 hours a year in which we can regularly meet as a whole staff. This also means that we had better not waste any time on stuff that can be sent out via email. There are times when key decisions must be made at our staff mettings so info is sent out prior but if no decision needs to be made, skip the items and get discussing. Meetings must e meaningful. Meetings must be relevant. Meetings must have a component that challenges us to reflect and help create change for student learning.

    We only have a little bit of time spent together, let’s not waste reading out info.

    Posted by mrwejr | July 9, 2012, 9:53 am

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Jeff Delp

Junior high principal by day, sports enthusiast, technology fanatic and jedi in my own mind. Striving to be a difference maker!
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