Friday, January 6, 2017

Purple Circle of Reflection

We tend to pause and reflect at
this time of year. Is that enough?
The end of the year and the advent of the New Year always lends itself to a time of reflection.  It’s a time to look at where we’ve been and to look forward to what comes next.  This year in particular found newscasts filled with opinions about the year gone by and great speculation about what would be coming after the ball dropped at midnight on New Year’s Eve. 

How do we ensure that reflection occurs more regularly, and not just during the few days prior to the New Year?  I, too, suffer from the “I don’t have time to reflect” syndrome.  Life does keep us busy running from one thing to the next.  What I have learned over time is that I don’t have time NOT to reflect.  It is through reflection that I am led to deeper places and greater action—it is what keeps me from just doing the same thing over and over because it is what I’ve always done.

Reflecting on HSE21

Recently several of us began looking with fresh eyes at the HSE21 best-practice model.  It is important that this is a living and breathing document that stays relevant, so we reviewed it asking the question, “How can we make this more clearly understandable?” 

Reflection is in the purple circle.
Have you noticed it before?

 Take a close look, and you will see the word “Reflection” is in the purple circle that connects the four components of the HSE21 Best Instructional Practices graphic.   We wondered how many people have even noticed that it is there.

Determining Right or Wrong Is Not the Purpose

I know teachers are struggling with feeling like they are doing it “wrong” as we look at shifting our instructional practices.  Instead of focusing on right or wrong, how do we shift the conversation to a reflective conversation?  How do we become a professional learning community focused on conversations about important questions: Why are we doing what we do?  How well are current practices working?  What are other ways of doing things that might improve student learning?

As this New Year begins, let’s continue to challenge ourselves to find time to reflect, to collaborate, to question.  Let’s work together to build a collaborative culture of reflection focused on growth and not on judgment.    

Happy New Year, HSE.  Here’s to a great 2017! 

Respond to Jan at

Your HSE Teaching and Learning Team
  • Jan Combs, Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning
  • Stephanie Loane, Director of Elementary Education
  • Tom Bell, Director of Special Education
  • Jeff Harrison, Director of Educational Technology
  • Phil Lederach, Director of Secondary Education

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