Wednesday, 14 May 2014

How I Learnt to Stop Worrying and Reflect

When I'm running the Chartership chats on Twitter I notice the same concern popping up again and again: reflective writing. I think that most people understand what it is but they're worried about how they can make their own writing reflective rather than narrative. Firstly if you are worried about this then stop. I would guess that nine out of ten people who undertake CILIP qualifications are worried about the same thing so you're far from alone. If this is a particular concern for you then please talk to your mentor about it, that's what they're there for. 

Reflective writing is practiced in many disciplines and provides a great way to think about your experiences critically. This is important as it allows you to learn from what you have done and improve in the future. This is especially important when undertaking CPD as it can help you to identify areas where you need to concentrate your learning.

It's OK to admit that you're not that confident with reflective writing. It's a skill and like other skills it has to be developed. I personally found Rolfe et al.'s (2001) reflective model a very useful way to get started. The model asks you to answer three questions about any experience:
  • What? - describe the experience (briefly) 
  • So what? - what did you learn from the experience? What did you enjoy/not enjoy? 
  • Now what? - how would you improve the experience if you did it again? What might you do differently next time? What action will you take as a result of the experience?
By asking yourself these questions you can start to be reflective about any experience and you can always dig deeper if you need to.

I've put together a Pinterest board with links to various resources on reflective practice. As mentioned above this is used in a lot of disciplines so don't be put off if the link isn't directly relevant to librarianship:

Follow Claire Sewell's board Reflective Practice on Pinterest.

From a personal point of view I find blogging a great way to reflect on my experiences or an issue in the profession. If you don't feel brave enough to share your thoughts with the world then why not set up a private blog? This way you can practice your reflective skills and you will always have something to refer back to when needed. Who knows, you may change your mind and decided to try your hand at public blogging one day ....

photo credit: juandesant via photopin cc

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