Archive for February, 2012

SKiP call 2012: Reflective Practice part 2

This year, ACCESS is offering 2 opportunities to participate in each monthly SKiP call topic.

Today, we had the second offering of a conference call on Reflective Practice. It was really interesting to talk with a second group of colleagues and explore the different ways people are thinking about reflection: how they are working with students, and how they are working with their partners on campus.

SKiP Call notes: 2/10/12

There were 11 participants in today’s conference call from IA, IL, MA, MO, SC, and NC.

  • Linda talked about her concern about how to explain or teach reflection to her students so they can do it better. Participants agreed that having a list of questions is very helpful. Sarah described a protocol that she uses from an article in The ChildCare Exchange magazine, the Tuning Protocol that she finds very useful.  We also asked the question: “When do we reflect?” Do we model it? Do our students know that we value it?
  • Sandra described how she tries to let her students know why reflection is so important. She reads excerpts from Vivian Paley’s You Can’t Say You Can’t Play as a model of reflective practice.


  • Elaine discussed her observation that her students seem to have trouble putting their ideas down on paper, and there was a consensus that this is something we all experience. Students seem better able to talk about it. Lisa Talked about a successful strategy she uses to address this using peer review of each other’s writing with a rubric that specifies what to look for.
  • Debra talked about an article she just read that describes a reflection strategy involving “well-remembered events” (see reference below). Students write weekly about an event that stands out to them in their student teaching. They must first describe the event, then discuss what they think is the cause/ what influenced the event, and then discuss what the implications are for teaching.  This seems like an interesting approach to helping students reflect on experiences that are meaningful to them.  Sarah suggested that this represents metacognition, and that education today does not support reflection or thinking about thinking, so students do not have experience in reflective thinking.

Carter, K. Preservice teachers’ well-remembered events and the acquisition of event-structured knowledge. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 26 (3). 235-252.

  • Ellen described an article that she uses, The Power of Mindful Reflection, and how it talks about automatic thinking we tend to go to what we already know, which helps to explain why students need encouragement to go beyond their comfort-zone and put their ideas out to the group. Someone suggested that we, as professors, also seem to be wary of risk-taking in a group, and that we can be sensitive to this when we wonder why our students might not be comfortable sharing their opinions and ideas.
  • A question was asked about using video-taped sessions of students in the classroom as data for reflection. We suggested that the observation protocol submitted by Laurie after yesterday’s SKiP call was a potential tool for this.
  • Finally, a participant going through accreditation suggested that the experience of reflecting for the self-study gave the faculty in her program new insight and sensitivity to what it feels like to be required to reflect. The general consensus is the more we reflect, the more we will be able to offer our students opportunities to reflect and to scaffold their efforts.

SKiP Call 2012: Reflective Practice

Happy New Year!

It’s been a busy couple of months here at ACCESS headquarters. Those of you who are ACCESS members will be getting the next edition of the newsletter soon and at that point you will learn about all the exciting things going on.

Today, I would like to report on the first ACCESS SKiP call of the year. SKiP stands for

Shared Knowledge & Practices

and the SKiP committee, headed by ACCESS VP of Professional Development Debra Murphy, hosts several events each year including SKiP conference calls on various topics. Today, we met and discussed Reflective Practice.

We had ten participants on the call today. There were ACCESS members from a variety of states including Massachusetts, New Jersey, Connecticut, Iowa, Texas, North Carolina, and Illinois (I’m sorry if I left any state out!).

Debra put together a Reflective Practice handout –

Feb2012CallHandoutonReflectivePractice 02-09-12

This handout sent via the listserv as an attachment to the invitation. Eventually, we will have a SKiP area in the “Members Only” section of the ACCESS website. For now, feel free to download documents that are highlighted throughout this post.

Several people shared ideas about how they involve their students in reflective practice and agreed to send along their resources. See the Reflective Practice handout above for details about the theories of John Dewey and Donald Schön that underlie reflective practice in education.

  • Laurie discussed a reflection template they use for many different assignments throughout the program. She said that faculty are now using the same reflection questions in their own practice, and that this has been very helpful. She agreed to share it, so here it is! reflection template
  • Kathy suggested that this template could also be used by faculty to reflect on key assessments.
  • Debra interjected that a question she has been thinking about is to make these more than just an assignment, filling in the blanks or answering the questions without internalizing the practice. How does it become “what we do?” All agreed that we need to model reflective practice ourselves so students come to see it as valuable.
  • Lisa described how she uses a variety of reflection questions starting in a curriculum course and how she tries to encourage her students to understand childrens’ experiences through their own experience, for example, how they feel when they feel competent and relating it to how children feel when they feel competent.
  • Nancy mentioned the idea of using a mind map to represent ideas that come up in reflection and then having students use the mind maps to later write about the process. Debra mentioned that she uses with her students in the practicum course to create a visual about how they see themselves as teachers at the beginning and at the end of the practicum, then writing about the changes and why they think they occurred.
  • Carrie discussed a reflection activity that she uses in class to help students process their own learning as they describe how they could make an answer to a quiz question stronger. reflective quiz taking
  • Other questions and suggestions that came up: Asking students: “What did you learn from the children?” after implementing a lesson plan. How do students interpret reflection, what does it mean to them? How do we reflect it back to them?
This was such a fun conversation and incredibly informative. This is the level of professional development I personally crave.

For those on the call, is there anything you would like to add to what we have posted here? Please post a comment so we can continue the conversation. I will also add more notes after tomorrow’s SKiP call which is on the same subject.

I hope you can join us tomorrow:

Friday, 2/10/12

2:00-3:00pm EST, 1:00-2:00pm CST, 12:00-1:00 Mountain, 11:00am -12:00pm PST

Please check your e-mail for call-in information.

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