Friday, July 21, 2017

Reflecting as a Teacher #innovatorscompass

Through my years as an educator, I heard the term reflective practitioner.  In essence, think about what you did today and whether or not you would change it or how you would alter things going forward.

How do you reflect?  For me it is the time I have in the car on the way home.  Only thing with that is it is usually focused on the stuff I did wrong or the things that happened at the end of the day.  At times, by the time I get an idea of what I really need to think about, I am home and it is time to work hang with the family and then dinner and bed.

I wanted to create something that helped with this.  I go through and think about what I would like to ask other teachers and myself about our practice.  Not for the sake of saying one is right or one is wrong, but for the sake of questioning to remove the answer of "because I have always done it that way.  So I created a YouTube channel, the Reflective Teacher Minute.  The idea is that a reflection is something so small that can make a huge difference.  That, and all the videos are 1 minute long.  It doesn't take long to ask a question.  The hard part is the thinking afterwards.  If you want to see, here they are...

So how do you think through your reflections?  Some people skip around from thought to thought while others work through their day and decisions.  I ask myself questions, mostly because I learned an amazing tool from a great friend.  It is a tool I use for lesson design, lesson improvement, initiative planning, coming up with new ideas, solving problems... so pretty much everything.  I use it for reflection.  It is the innovators compass by Ela Ben-Ur @elabenur.  If you want to learn more you can go to and check it out.

When I reflect, I start in the lower left (observations) and work my way clockwise around the compass.  Through this I have learned to improve my practice, but also always make sure I focus on the big picture (principles).  What matters?  What else matters?  What doesn't matter?  By taking into account what matters I guide my moonshot thinking (Ideas) and eventually come to what I am going to try next time (experiment).  As simple as it is, that is where the genius lies.

So I challenge you to reflect.  Just take a minute each day and think.  If you need some help on what to think about, check out a video.  Even a minute each day is something so small that we can all do that can make a huge difference for our students and for us as professionals, and, more importantly, people.  Have a great day.

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