By Dr. Harry Tennant


by Harry Tennant
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Entries with keyword: reflection
Posts 1 - 4 of 4

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Lessons from games: Motivations and reflection

In my last post, I discussed video game motiviations. How can they be applied to the practice of daily reflection for improvement? Why not simply use the list of needs as a checklist of things to consider in the reflection? Not only is it likely to improve my performance, but is also a roadmap to making my days more personally rewarding.

  1. Knowledge
    • What did I learn today?
    • What didn't I know and need to learn?
    • Can I learn it right now?
  2. Skills
    • To what areas should I devote deliberate practice to improve my skills?
    • Would I benefit from coaching or seeing myself in action?
  3. Competence
    • What do I feel that I am coming to master?
  4. Perseverance
    • How was I challenged to persevere on a difficult but worthwhile project today?
    • Was there an example where perseverence paid benefits?
  5. Creation
    • What did I create today or help others to create?
    • What recent improvements did I work into my routines today?
  6. Danger Management
    • Any threats or conflicts avoided, finessed or defused?
  7. Competition
    • How am I doing relative to others?
    • What can I do to improve my ranking?
    • Am I getting immediate feedback on my performance?
  8. Cooperation
    • How did I help others today?
    • How did cooperation help each of us do better today?
    • Am I building or depleting social capital?
  9. Caring
    • Did I demonstrate caring for others today?
    • Did others care for me? Did I show gratitude?
    • How might others benefit if I showed more caring and gratitude and what opportunities should I watch for?
  10. Emotional Regulation
    • Was I able to control my emotions in order to attain peak performance?
    • What other emotional controls do I need to work on?
  11. Optimal Choice
    • What choices did I make today that were particularly pleasing?
    • How am I taking advantage of my opportunities?
    • In particular, what choices did I make in terms of my attitude, emotional responses and assumed motives of others that improved my day?
    • What choices did I make that should have been made differently?

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Keywords: continuous improvement, reflection


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

What do you think about reflection?

I've often written about reflection in these blog posts. I think it's an incredibly powerful and simple way to improve anything you're trying to improve. Think about it. On a regular basis. Reflect.

But while reflecting, just what should we be thinking about? Here are some suggestions.

  • What went right? One of the easiest ways to improve is to recognize what is already going well and just do more of it.
  • What was unexpected? When something unexpected happens it means that you didn't really understand what you were doing. The unexpected can occur in many ways. Did you find a better result than you expected? Did you find a worse result than expected? Did you expect something to change but it didn't? Did you expect something to not change but it did? Was the magnitude of change surprising? If something unexpected happens it's an opportunity to get a better understanding of what you're doing by chasing the surprise down and figuring out: why? 
  • How does my approach compare to others? Keep alert for how others do the things you do and how their approach works for them. What can you borrow, experiment with or manipulate to gain from the experience of others?
  • What went wrong? People often equate reflection with thinking about what went wrong. If something goes wrong, it bears investigation just as any unexpected outcome does. But be careful about allowing your regular periods of reflection to become examinations of every nit that wasn't perfect. Focusing exclusively on the negative can be demoralizing.

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Keywords: continuous improvement, reflection


Friday, April 22, 2011

Benefits of reflecting to a blog

So, you have a long-term project of wanting to improve your teaching. You’re recording daily reflections. You’re seeking the advice and insights of others. That is the description of the ideal motivation for a blog. Instead of making private notes in a notebook, post your reflections to your blog. Here’s how you’d use it.
  • Seek out others who are blogging on the same themes with their blogs (there are millions of bloggers out there, you will find some of like mind).
  • Seek out the blogs of others that you might consider in the category of mentor.
  • Link to those other blogs on your blogroll. A blogroll is the list of links to other blogs where you essentially say, if you like my blog you might also like these blogs.
  • Subscribe to the blogs on your blogroll with RSS. That way, you’re automatically notified when those other bloggers post something…especially useful for infrequent or irregular bloggers.
  • As you read the others’ blogs, leave comments to their posts and include a link back to your blog under your signature so they may choose to add yours to their blogrolls. As you become an active participant in the discussion on their blogs, they may become active making comments on yours.
  • When the posts of others inspire you to a new insight, create a post to your own blog about it and include a reference link to the other blogger’s inspiring post.

Cross-reading, cross-linking, cross-commenting and cross-posting builds among you a community of shared learning. Think of the opportunity: if your potential list of like-minded teachers is limited to those in adjacent classrooms at school, you’ll be lucky to find a lot of support. On the other hand, when you have the entire Internet to work with, and when it doesn’t matter if the others are down the hall or around the world, your opportunities are vastly greater.

There’s one more big advantage to seeking out others for a collaborative learning project like this. It’s easy to resolve to reflect. It’s easy to get a notebook and make the first few entries. But what makes reflection work is sticking to it over the long term. When you’ve set yourself up in the midst of a community, the momentum of the others will carry you along when your interest wanes. And a provocative post from you may motivate one of the others to return to his reflection. The community of common interest can take on a momentum of its own, sometimes carrying the members along with it.

Posted at 12:00 AM (permalink) 5 Comments View/Leave Comment Share this post with email Share this post on Facebook Share this post on Twitter Share this post on LinkedIn
Keywords: reflection, blogs


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Reflection and continuous improvement

As the business proceeds, there will be mistakes. Some things will go badly. Some novel situations will arise. But the careful entrepreneur can continue to update and refine the processes. Over time, the business gets better and better at doing what it does.

As a teacher, as in every other vocation, you too will make mistakes. Some classes will go well, some will go less well. Sometimes you will end a class period on a positive and enthusiastic note and sometimes you will just run out of steam. But the key to continuous improvement in teaching is to maintain a habit of reflection (a reflection process, actually) about your teaching.

We learn from practice, but not all practice is the same. Deliberate practice, where we think about what a perfect performance is, try to achieve it, and then reflect on how to do better, is the most effective way to practice. Simply repeating the same performance without a conscious effort to improve is unlikely to result in much improvement.

The simplest way to reflect on your daily teaching experience is simply to keep a notebook of your thoughts each day, looking back over what worked, what didn’t and how you might improve next time. This habit of reflection and the continuous striving for improvement can be the basis for becoming a better teacher.

Another simple and revealing technique is to make an occasional video recording of yourself teaching.  Just  as athletes see things they didn’t know they were doing, you may find some surprises also.

As with any learning, learning through reflection is likely to be enhanced by discussing issues with mentors, other teachers and your students. Ask for help or for ideas on how to better address the issues. Ask students to rate the difficulty of a recent topic or the most interesting or most important part of the week’s lesson.

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Keywords: reflection, deliberate practice

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