How are you doing with 3.4.2?
You know, the part of our professional standards that requires that Scottish teachers “reflect and engage in self-evaluation” and “demonstrate an enquiring and critical approach to their professional practice and development and engage in systematic professional dialogue”?
What’s that I hear you cry? “No time to reflect? Too busy planning, marking and surviving?”
It is difficult. I am sure that we would all love to be able to find time to reflect critically and engage with others in regular professional dialogue that goes beyond “Can anyone remind me how I retrieve my Glow password again?”
But critical reflection is very important. It is the part of what we do that enables us to learn and develop our practice and prevents from making the same mistakes over and over.
If we agree that critical reflection is a critical task for anyone involved in education, how on earth do we make time to do it? I believe that this is the secret weapon that we all need: a blog.
When I first considered blogging, a couple of years back, I wondered about the difference between writing a reflective journal and a blog. I realised that, unlike a journal, a blog allows for easy sharing with others, which in turn enables critical feedback from others and what’s referred to as “systematic professional dialogue”.
Support and encouragement
I have found the world of edu-blogging to be freely giving of support and encouragement. I share my blog posts as widely as I can, mostly via Twitter. I have had the tremendous good fortune to receive feedback from some incredible mentors and educational experts, such as the hugely generous Jill Berry (@jillberry102) and the vastly knowledgeable David Cameron (@realdcameron).
I have also been able to connect and reflect with other grassroots practitioners across Scotland, the UK and the world.
In a climate where we are time-poor and where budgets for travel and CPD are very restricted, blogging provides a fantastic opportunity to reflect, learn and engage.
My advice to you is just to start. Search the internet for how to blog, check out an article by Tom Sherrington (bit.ly/TomShBlog) or get in touch with Pedagoo, the fantastic blog-hosting site staffed by volunteer educationalists who will help and keep you right. And if you don’t have time, make time. I usually blog when I’m on my exercise bike: half an hour gives me the perfect time-slot to produce a post.
Then share it. Tweet me your blog and I’ll help you share and connect. Good luck!
Lena Carter is acting head of teaching and learning at a secondary school in Argyll and Bute. She tweets @lenabellina and blogs at lenabellina.wordpress.com