To find out what team reflective practice is, I think I need to deconstruct what reflective practice and team reflective practice actually mean …

So after some reading – and reflection too I guess I have discovered:

Reflection is an in-depth consideration of events, people involved, what they experienced and how they felt about it.

Reflective Practice is the capacity to reflect-on- action, or in-action so as to engage in a process of continuous learning. Reflective practice is one of the defining characteristics of professional practice and it involves paying critical attention to the practical values and theories which inform everyday actions, by examining practice reflectively and reflexively. This leads to developmental insight

Reflective Practice helps with uncomfortable situations where we do not know the answers. It means paying mindful and critical attention to the practical values and theories that inform our everyday actions by examining practice. The plan is to facilitate identification, examination and modification of theories-in-use that shape behaviour. It requires change in deeply held action theories.

Mindfulness is a conscious exclusion of elements of life apart from the one which is being attended to. Mindfulness occurs when senses and awareness tune into the present action: it is the opposite of multi-tasking. Being mindfully aware develops accurate observation and communication skills.

Reflexivity is to stand outside the self to examine how we are involved in creating social or professional structures that are contrary to our espoused values. It enables becoming aware of the limits of our knowledge, of how our behavior is implicit in shaping organizational practices. Reflexivity uses strategies that require practices such as internal dialogue to make aspects of self, strange. It requires being able to stay with personal uncertainty, critically informed curiosity, and flexibility to find ways of changing deeply held beliefs and ways of being: a complex highly responsible social and political activity.

The rapidly changing world of education, along with changes in society, means critically reflective approaches are an appropriate vehicle for analysis of current teaching practice.

Professional development on reflective practice is a path to listen to yourself and others through space and time.

We need to understand our own beliefs, values attitudes and behaviours at a personal level, a teacher level and a team level.

Teacher intent is a fundamental part of documentation to give particular visibility to different narrative modes of children, thus giving value to their desire to create, invent and improvise stories and situations.

An image of the child shared by the teaching team can contribute or construct and transform a single child event and create a context to involve the group.

Writing is an artistic process, and many of the narrative skills used are those of literature, the capture of small details and the subtle nuances of behaviour and situation from our own perspectives that may or may not be accurate.

Bolton (2010) considers personal reflection is often unchallenging and non-risk taking because they are personal narratives of teaching written only from a personal point of view; the nature of the reflection that people actually lived the reflection. This limits query or deconstruction of the reflective process by others. The narratives we write are from our own perspective, we find it difficult to see things from others perspective – we do not see things as they are; we see them as we are. To widen and deepen perspective, to mix tacit knowledge with evidence based or explicit knowledge sometimes requires a creative leap and perspectives will be widened and deepened – but they are still anchored to our perspectives – nothing has changed. This results in a loss of professional agency and responsibility, as we are unaware of things we need to be aware.

Sharing reflective writing will bring to the fore the different perspectives from which we all unwittingly work. Narrative written from multiple perspectives enables challenge and insight.

Reflective practice groups are about making discoveries about personal theories in action through the medium of each other’s writing so we can enable proper listening to ourselves as a team. They have a facilitator to help consider two goals: the discussions reveal challenges in teacher practice, and they examine and clarify their own practice usually through the Smythe Model of reflection. It is a mindful, systematic processing of teaching events in a supportive environment focused on professional growth. Guided reflective practice is a collaborative process that requires organization and facilitation. It takes time to build a democratic reflective group – at least one year – and usually participants take turns to facilitate the group discussion. The facilitators’ role is to create a safe environment for dialogue – in such spaces, teachers can stay with uncertainty and self-doubt and gain confidence in and authority over their own actions, feelings and thoughts.

 This method of reflection does not compromise professional accuracy of perception or impose distorted interpretations because its purpose is to explore and express what is already in teachers’ understandings. Perceptive enhancement occurs because writing and discussion brings to the fore critical and enhanced reflection on understandings and perceptions.

Discussing reflective writing in-depth enables outcomes of reflections to return into practice, improving and developing (Kolbe, 1984)

Charon (2000, 2006) reports that sharing reflective writings deepens and clarifies understandings,

Bolton, G. (2010). Reflective writing and professional development. Sage Publications:London,UK

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