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August 15, 2011 / Pick Up Sticks

Thing 5: reflective practice

I am very lucky as I work for an employer who is very supportive of continuing professional development – having worked as the training librarian for a local authority with a tiny staff development budget, I am grateful not only that I am expected to attend at least one conference a year, but that I am supported in taking part in wider professional activities (which I shall no doubt talk about in my next post). Reflective practice is part of what we do: we have time each week for CPD, so we can choose to attend one of the workshops that are available or use the time for our own private study/reflection. In practice I work part time and so never attend these sessions, but I do have the opportunity to keep up with my CPD.

One of the most valuable tools we have is the feedback form we have to complete after attending a conference or seminar. We have to note down the top three things that we learned, what impact this will have on our own work, any useful projects that we need to be aware of, any contacts we made, and who else needs to know about what we learned. I have found this so useful in organising my thoughts post-conference, and it is a really clever way of summarising main learning points and actions.

As I said, I was a staff development librarian in a previous job, and I had to arrange lots of training for lots of people, so I’m fully aware that my learning style is that of a reflector – see Honey and Mumford’s theory – so reflective practice is something that comes fairly naturally to me. However, I think the key is not just reflecting, but putting what you learned into practice, which is why drawing up action points from your learning, and keeping a learning log or blog, are such good ideas.

Image – Jennie Lee, Open University by rattyfied on Flickr


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