Developmental Eval Week: Charmagne Campbell-Patton on using Reflective Practice for Developmental Evaluation

I’m Charmagne Campbell-Patton, Director of Organizational Learning and Evaluation for Utilization-Focused Evaluation based in Minnesota, and Evaluation & Assessment Specialist for World Savvy, a national education nonprofit that works with educators, schools, and districts to integrate global competence teaching and learning into K-12 classrooms.

World Savvy has staff in Minneapolis, San Francisco, and New York City. We have found reflective practice to be useful in integrating innovative program development, organizational development, and staff development. These three areas of development need to be aligned, occur simultaneously, and be mutually reinforcing. Developmental evaluation both tracks and supports that alignment.

Rad Resource: Model of integrated development using reflective practice.


Hot Tip: Focus the reflective practice on issues that cut across areas of development. Collaboration is a core value of World Savvy in everything we do, so we began by sharing and analyzing positive and negative experiences with collaboration. Other core values that served as the focus for reflective practice included integrity, inclusivity, excellence and (appropriately) learning & reflection.

Hot Tip: Make reflection together a regular practice. Of course, everyone is busy and it is easy to let reflective practice slide. World Savvy has committed to doing it quarterly and making time to do it well.

Hot Tip: Reflective practice involves staff learning and using skills in recounting an incident descriptively, listening attentively, identifying patterns across stories, generating insights and lessons, and identifying actions to take from what is learned. All of this is enhanced with regular practice. It is also an effective way to intergate new staff into the organization’s culture and the meaning of core values.

Hot Tip: Ask staff to identify what they will share in advance so they come prepared. Even better, have them bring the experiences they will share in writing to contribute to the documentation of reflective practice engagement and learning.

Cool Trick: Begin each session with a review of what emerged in prior sessions to provide a sense of what has been developing.

Cool Trick: Use small groups. If facilitating the session remotely or with more than 10-15 participants, use breakout rooms or small groups as a way to create an environment more conducive to sharing.

Hot Tip: Follow through with action. Reflective practice typically yields insights with actionable implications. Failure of the program or organization to follow through can undermine interest in future reflectice practice sessions.

Rad Resources:

Patton, M.Q. (2015) “Reflective practive guidelines” in Qualitative Research and Evaluation Methods, 4th ed. (Sage), pp. 213-216.

Patton, M.Q. (2011). “Reflective practice for developmental evaluation,” in Developmental Evalkatiion: Applying Complexity Concepts to Enhnace Innovation and Use (Guildfiord Press), pp. 265-270.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Developmental Evaluation Week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from evaluators who do developmental evaluation. 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 aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

1 thought on “Developmental Eval Week: Charmagne Campbell-Patton on using Reflective Practice for Developmental Evaluation”

  1. Pingback: Eval Use TIG Week: Charmagne Campbell-Patton on Considerations for Evaluation Use: Internal vs. External Evaluators · AEA365

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