CPD23: Once More, With Feeling. Or, Thing 5: Reflective Practice

18 Jun

Last year I started the 23 Things for Professional Development course, but got sidetracked after Thing 4. In fact, I got sidetracked from the blog entirely – I think I felt that I couldn’t post until I was ready to finish the 23 things! After a while it seemed too late to start back up again. However, I just realized that they’re holding the 23 Things course again this summer. It started a bit earlier this year than last, but since I already posted about Things 1-4 I’m only a bit behind if I jump in now. I hope that this will help me get back into the habit of regular blogging.

Thing 5 is about reflective practice, a subject that holds increasing interest for me. I was introduced to this topic in a course I took in library school on instructional strategies for information professionals. In this course, many of our readings came out of the education and school library literature, and several of them described reflective teaching and reflective learning. When I did my internship teaching library instruction sessions, reflection was built into the experience through the internship logs I kept for the internship class and the evaluations we filled out after every class session. Taking the time to reflect on what worked, what didn’t, and why was very helpful in developing my skill and confidence as an instructor. I found it to be a very valuable experience.

I’ve been thinking about this more as I am (finally) reading Char Booth’s book Reflective Teaching, Effective Learning. I heard Char speak on this subject at a California Conference on Library Instruction workshop when her book was about to come out, and I was energized by her ideas about reflective practice. I am not currently working in an instruction role but would like to someday, and I expect her model for reflective teaching will help me improve my practice by constantly evaluating and applying what I’ve learned to each new teaching experience, much like I did during my internship. I haven’t really thought much about reflective practice as it applies outside of instruction, so Thing 5 provides a good reminder that many aspects of library work can benefit from taking the time to reflect on an experience and what you have learned from it. I hope that relaunching my blogging efforts will motivate me to engage in more regular reflection.

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