There are a techniques to use as a part of your reflective practice, but the best choices to start with will be the easiest, so you can get started quickly and make it a part of your daily life. As you get into the habit of reflective practice, you can then spot patterns and use the techniques to start to dig deeper if you need to.
The three main steps in reflective practice are:
…so the techniques you use should help support these goals. In addition, your choice will be determined by whether the reflective practice is to be conducted individually or in a group, such as within your business team or a social group who want to learn how to work better together in order to improve their skills and results.
A written journal, notes or a diary can all keep you focused on the process of reflective practice. For each event you wish to examine, answer the following questions:
- What happened? (Be factual)
- What you were thinking and feeling? (Explore your emotions)
- What was good and bad about the experience? (Evaluate)
- What sense can you make of the experience? (Analyse)
- What else could you have done? (Draw conclusions)
- If a similar situation arose again what would you do? (Set goals and create an action plan)
This can be done individually or as a team, depending on the event and your group’s willingness to try this method to improve their results.
If you don’t have time for a lot of writing, try brainstorming and creative imagery, such as mind-mapping, sketches, pictures and diagrams that show cause, effect, and outcomes – including possible different outcomes your and/or your group might wish to work towards.
Reflective Dialogue and Discussion
This can also work well for groups. If you feel “stuck” in your life, you might also discuss what happened with your partner, a trusted colleague, or with a mentor, coach or professional – either face-to-face or by phone or email.
You might have a private blog or closed group at a site like Facebook. You might also decide to have broader discussions with your Personal Learning Network (#PLN) on Twitter, at chat boards, online communities, the Intranet at work, and so on.
Now that we’ve covered a range of techniques to use as a part of your reflective practice, choose the ones that will work best for each situation you and/or your team want to reflect upon, and see what a difference they can make.