Developing reflective practice with people who have a health condition, impairment or special educational needs

Reflective Practice is the foundation of professional development; it makes meaning from experience and transforms insights into practical strategies for personal growth and professional impact.

It means:

  • Learning to pay attention
  • Coming face to face with our assumptions
  • Noticing patterns
  • Changing what we see
  • Changing the way we see

How does this work?

We know from neuroscience that a structure in the brain called the corpus callosum plays an important part in performance. The corpus callosum is a thick band of nerve fibres that connects the left and right sides of the brain, transferring information between the brain hemispheres. It is true that the two hemispheres have locations involved with different functions i.e. within the left side of the brain a dominance in analytical thinking, language processing and drawing on existing knowledge to solve problems, while within the right side of the brain there is more of an association with intuition, creativity and understanding through metaphor and visualisation. However we shouldn't be thinking we are more left or right brained as we are all whole brained and need processing to occur in both hemispheres. Reflective practice can help re-visit and strengthen neuronal connections we need to develop new habits/skills/mindsets within and between the two hemispheres.

Reflective practice has huge benefits in increasing self-awareness, which is a key component of emotional intelligence, and in developing a better understanding of others. Reflective practice can also help you to develop creative thinking skills and encourages active engagement in work processes.

How can I become a reflective practitioner?

  1. Develop the skill of critically reflecting on experience. There are four stages to this process: Re-inhabit (relive the experience), Reflect (notice what was going on), Review (critically analyse the situation), Reframe (capture new understanding).
  2. Improve your ability to think on your feet. This involves noticing patterns of thoughts, feelings and physical responses as they happen, and using this information to choose what to do.
  3. Combines insight with intention to apply learning in professional life.

This includes

  • Time. The most often cited reason why learners skimp on reflective practice is a lack of time. Build reflective time into your learning schedule.
  • Attention - minimise distractions.
  • Pace. Slow down.
  • Curiosity. Approach your reflective practice without judgement or self-criticism. There is no ‘right way’ to do this.
  • Experiment.

This training course is designed to use both personal reflection and reflective dialogues within the group. Your workbook has questions throughout for you to reflect on individually.

The group sessions are a planned opportunity for you to create space for reflection and engage in a dialogue.

The four principles of dialogue are:

  • Listening to understand others rather than to plan what you’re going to say
  • Suspending judgement and criticism
  • Voicing, or speaking in the first person rather than abstractly
  • Respecting the views of others and their right to hold them.

A dialogue can be used as a way of exploring experiences, planning future actions, and enabling participants to benefit from others’ insights into their personal challenges.

As the focus of this training is on reflective practice you should not expect to

  • be ‘told’ what to do or how to do things
  • be given lots of information during the group sessions (there are lots of links to information and resources in the workbook, and on the presentation slides, for you to research independently)
  • benefit fully if you do not share your own ideas, challenges & learning, suspend judgement or be prepared to experiment.

The training will cover:

  • our perception of ‘disability’ and how this affects the delivery of effective career guidance
  • people’s perception of us, how a person’s impairment might affect this, and how this can impact on the delivery of effective career guidance
  • effective communication
  • decision making processes…what gets in the way? How do we make decisions? Does disability affect planning and decision-making. How can we support decision making in others?
  • working with a circle of support. Person-centred planning, mental capacity, advocacy and preparing for adulthood
  • the range and efficacy of resources and tools we use
  • continuing with your professional development – how, why and with whom?

 

A PDF version of this worksheet can be downloaded here