no prescriptions please

I have participated in and conducted numerous reflective practice (RP) meetings since April 2012. I have kickstarted groups that meet monthly in Busan and Ulsan South Korea. I say this not from a position of pride, merely to establish the context from which the following opinionated comments stem from. Please feel free to disregard at your pleasure.

There are a few things I would like to get off my chest RE what RP meetings are, what they should be, and what they are not.

RP meetings are…

a forum for sharing. It is a place where people of all backgrounds and experiences can come together to share their experiences. In doing so the group effectively crowd-sources thoughts, opinions and ideas. In acknowledgment of the fact that each; student, class, classroom, institution, day, time of day, time of year, lesson, etc are all different…this crowd sourcing is immensely useful to all involved. In short, RP meetings allow us to work together to break down and analyze the immeasurable variables within a classroom and hopefully come away with more clarity as to what is happening.

RP meetings should…

provide attendees a plethora of insights into different educators perspectives and methodologies. It should be a safe place in which all are free to share their thoughts and feelings. RP meetings should hold all members with equal regard. RP should provide you with new ideas and perspectives from which to view your own classroom. RP should make you question your own practices and notions regarding your methods, lessons, attitude, reactions, students, classroom, etc. RP meetings should leave you eager to get back into the classroom.

RP meetings are not…

no-prescription-neededa prescriptive session. It is not a venue in which your vast experience, knowledge and credentials hold you in higher esteem than the newcomer to a classroom. Your expensive piece of paper from an institution of higher learning does not give you the ability to prescribe the correct, or best, course of action for all those poor souls not yet as blessed as you. RP meetings are not an opportunity for you to wax poetical about the effectiveness of your classroom, lessons, etc. They are not a chance for you to belittle someone for…well anything. RP meetings are not a place for judgement. It is not a time for complaint.

Now, back to the beginning. As I said, I am not RP sage. Feel free to disregard whatever you like. I write this post after pondering my last RP meeting. Most months I have led RP (especially recently) have been with a majority of teachers unaware of what reflective practice means and is. By the end of the meeting we always get there, but it’s not always smooth sailing.

This post is my way of assuaging the thoughts swirling around my head regarding these meetings. I hope it is somewhat helpful to any RP practitioner wanna-be’s out there. You can start your own meetings regardless of your experience or RP “know-how”. For a better idea of how to structure a meeting check out this awesome post.

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