Thing 5: Reflective practice

Posted: June 13, 2012 in Uncategorized
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In my final term of library school, we learnt about knowledge management (KM) and how it’s applied to health, law and business libraries. One of the reasons firms implement KM strategies, we were told, is so that they don’t re-invent the wheel and they don’t repeat mistakes.

I think it’s possible to think about reflective practice in a similar way. Because reflective practice is often an individual (or small team) process, you’re unlikely to needlessly repeat a task or project … unless you’re either very busy or very forgetful! But, without sitting down and debriefing yourself after a project, a conference, a job interview etc etc and thinking ‘what went well? what went less well? what would I do differently’, it’s conceivable that you’ll make the same mistakes or miss the same opportunities next time. I shouldn’t keep on about mistakes, really, since reflective practice is just as much an opportunity to pat yourself on the back and reflect on what went well, why it went well and how you can replicate or sustain that.

In a previous job, I saw a major project get behind schedule and take unexpected twists and turns, as the implications it would have on other aspects of the service weren’t fully understood at the outset. Worryingly, quite soon after it stuttered to its conclusion, a second major project kicked off. I would have liked all staff (because as mentioned, this project had an impact far beyond the one planned for) to have been given the breathing space and time to say what went wrong and why and – most importantly – how we could learn from this. With big projects like this, reflective practice (and subsequent action) isn’t just good practice, it’s a responsible thing to undertake.

As I’m going through cpd23, I’m thinking about what tools I like and how I can continue to use them. Even after hastily dismissing Storify in Thing Four, I’ve decided to use it to discuss LinkedIn in Thing Six! At the end, I’ll try to have a mega-reflective session and see what I’ve learnt. And fingers crossed, after Thing Twenty-Three, I’ll have the self-discipline to keep blogging.

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