Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Keeping it Real with Self-Reflection

Two weeks ago, I ran into an old college professor. I couldn't remember her name, but I will never forget what she taught me.

In the College of Education at the University of Florida, it is customary at the end of each internship to have student teachers complete a "Metacognitive Letter." Basically, we had to think about how we think and write about it.

These exercises went beyond "What went well?" and "What didn't go well?" To the WHY of things and HOW to make it better.

Metacognition is just a fancy word for Self-Reflection. Though my teaching years are long gone, I continue the metacognitive process in everything I do to this day.

As a parent, Self-Reflection is crucial in maintaining a positive relationship with my children. The more brutally honest I am with myself, the better my improvements become.

Self- Reflection is not about beating myself up nor about digging so deep that I end up in my childhood blaming my parents for everything. It's about uncovering the connection between my actions and my results so that I can shape my actions to achieve what I want to achieve.

Here are some ground rules for self-reflection:
1. Be HONEST! Remember, this process is not about judging yourself, but about helping yourself. You can't fix what you can't acknowledge.

2. Keep an open mind. Becoming overly sensitive will hinder the process. We all fall short at different levels. We only fail when we don't learn from our mistakes.

3. Look at yourself from another person's point of view. Ask your spouse or another trusted individual for help if you need to.

4. Stay focused. Self-Reflection is about SELF. Forget about all the other factors beyond your control. Keep the lens over your own actions.

5. Stay positive. Celebrate your successes and forgive yourself quickly if you become disappointed in yourself. Spring back up with a plan of action and begin to make changes!

You can reflect as often as you need to. I generally reflect on a daily basis. I do a mental run through of my day and make note of where I need to improve. Lack of reflection can lead to you becoming completely out of touch with yourself and your children.

Setting an example of Self-Reflection will cause your children to respect you and look up to you.


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