At the end of most of my sessions, I try to build in time for reflection because it’s a great way to process new learnings, consider applications, and bring our time together to a close. One of my favorite ways to do this is to use Padlet and show the real-time reflections in the room. I’ve done this several times recently and it’s because of how one experience caused me to pause and take note. Normally, I encourage participants to share key takeaways and next steps. Not too long ago, I was doing this and several constructive comments were written regarding some choices made over the course of the day. Instead of just reading them and letting them sit there, I wrote some notes speaking to each comment and addressed each of them as we came back together before the end of the day. There were intentional choices made during the day that were important to point out and explain. This exercise was very powerful for me. Not only did I read the comments, I modeled processing them.
We often discuss coaching as an effective model with teachers and students because of the feedback loop involved. Yet, I rarely see it in action. That is not to say that it doesn’t happen. But how often and where? As part of our evaluations? During professional learning opportunities? Even if we consider session evaluations as part of the feedback loop for professional developers, do we read and process them? Do we read them, fixate on the negative ones, get defensive, and not change anything in our future work? I’m all too guilty of this myself. I’m not quite sure what made me approach this differently, but I did. And it was a powerful practice for me. I will be very intentional of doing this again in future work, as uncomfortable as it may be. It’s important for growth and a great way to feel empowered. Imagine if we all practiced this and modeled this process for educators and students.