Hello, my name is Deven Wisner! Like many of us, I wear a couple hats, including: Managing Partner of Viable Insights, educator and Ph.D. student at the University of Arizona, and President-Elect of the Arizona Evaluation Network. As we jump into the new year, I want to not only recognize the importance of reflective practice but also share how I feasibly make it a valuable addition to my day-to-day. To kick us off, I’ll share one of my favorite definitions of RP, complements of John Dewey:
The active, persistent, and careful consideration of any belief or supposed form of knowledge in the light of the grounds that support it and the further conclusions to which it tends…
For me, RP has played an especially important role in fueling my growth across my roles; it’s really been a method for me to pull back from getting through a day or week and really appreciating and growing from the process. It’s kind of like a #latergram but for personal growth (sorry, had to). Like everything else though, how do I block time off for reflective practice? I’ve come up with a few ways to ensure I’m getting my daily dose of reflective, both individually and collaboratively — see some tips and resources below!
- Happy hour with my clients: Feedback from clients is where some of my greatest growth occurs, but no one requires reflective practice to take place in a formal setting; grab a drink with clients and reflect on your work.
- Journaling, make it easier — not harder: For the longest time, I was trying to bullet journal. I LOVED it…but I have five half-finished notebooks, and I never had the right one with me. I use my iPad for notetaking, so I invested in Notability. Takeaway: find a mode that works for you (i.e. one that doesn’t take more time and cause more stress).
- Zoom with Critical Friends: A lot of my critical friends and mentors don’t reside in the same place geographically, so we setup Zoom dates. Putting something on the calendar regularly makes it easier to maintain this collaborative reflection and Zoom adds face-to-face interaction, a valuable component to reflection.
- Breakfast or a hike with colleagues: My business partner and I regularly get out of the office and take a hike or grab breakfast together. This is where some of our best reflection takes place. In other words, you might have to get out from behind the screen, desk, or whiteboard for the magic to happen.
1. DATA Model: Stuck on how to start reflecting? Sometimes structured DOES help; check out the DATA Model for a guided process to collaborative reflective practice.
2. 2020 Arizona Evaluation Network’s Annual Conference: join us in Tucson, Arizona, April 2-3, 2020 for some great dialogue around communication, reflection, facilitation, and much more!
Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to email@example.com. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.