Taking Time to Reflect
Val Rathjen, Community Learning Network
I have to confess that reflection is something I don’t always take enough time for. I know that I should do it but, truth be told, I have invested more in the tools to capture my reflections than in the time it takes to actually reflect. Oh, how those pretty notebooks at Chapters call my name… but I digress.
With the end of the CALP year quickly approaching, this is a good time to pause. What better time to sit down and look at the last 12 months?
Here are some prompting questions to get you started on your reflective journey:
1. What worked well?
- What were the highlights of your year?
- Think about the learners that you helped and share some of their stories. Remember to capture those stories to be able to pull out when you write your Final Report.
2. What didn’t work out as you’d planned?
- What do you need to tweak, reframe or drop completely?
3. What trends did you see this past year?
4. Are you meeting the needs in your community?
- Is it time to consider having a Community Conversation (see the CALP Portal for lots of tools and ideas).
- Can you see any gaps that you may need to look at filling in the next program year?
5. Are you staying true to your vision or have you been pulled off course?
6. Are you still dreaming?
- What would you do if you had the time, resources or opportunity?
- What learning do you need to invest in to make those dreams come true?
Taking time to reflect gives you the opportunity to learn and refocus. It’s important to take time to pat yourselves on the back and remember that you’ve helped learners connect their dreams to reality. It is also cathartic to let go of the things that didn’t go to script. Not everything we try or plan works, life happens, so learn – reflect – and move on!
Reflection is also a great team building exercise as everyone plays a part in your success and has meaningful input to contribute. If you don’t have the benefit of working with a team, I would encourage you to call your RSS or another CALP staff member and chat. We all need people to bounce ideas off, and our network is full of people who would love to listen, share and cheer you on.
Here is my challenge to you – carve out some time, on your own and with your team or supporters, to step back, pause and reflect. Remember the quote – Learning without reflection is a waste, so take a moment and invest in reflection. I guarantee it will multiply the effectiveness of everything else you do.
Regional Support Staff, East
Community Learning Network
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