Self Help Qld hosted our first hybrid AGM on the 29th of Oct 2020. For the first time, members could opt to ZOOM into the AGM. This years’ AGM theme was “Coping through COVID: Stories of Hope, Stories of Community Connection”.
Our manager Selina and our project officer, Seblework, and researcher and community development practitioner, Tina Lathouras shared their stories and insights on the night.
The Need for Critical Reflection
This year draws to a close (and what a year it has been!). No doubt the events of this year has shaken up our routines. In Queensland, we are fortunate to have some normalcy this Christmas – whatever that may look like for each of us. It might be tempting then to slide back to our old ways of thinking and existing. However, this is also a moment we can make a shift to prioritise reflective practice. To take ourselves off auto-pilot and tune into ourselves and our communities or groups.
Adult education professor David Boud and his team explain, “reflection is an important human activity in which people recapture their experience, think about it, mull it over and evaluate it. It is this working with experience that is important in learning.”
At its simplest, reflection is about careful thought. The most useful reflection involves the conscious consideration and analysis of beliefs and actions for learning.
It can be challenging to organise and express thoughts and feelings when actively experiencing something. However, in the rethinking or retelling events, it is possible to identify feelings, thoughts, and events. To weigh the intention of past actions with their outcomes. Reflection allows the brain to pause amidst the chaos, untangle and sort through observations and experiences, consider multiple possible interpretations, and create meaning. This meaning becomes learning which informs future attitudes and actions. “Meaning-making” is crucial for personal and collective growth.
Reflective practice provides a means for facilitators and members to improve their approach to meet collective needs effectively. Reflective practice can: Help you take informed actions that can be justified and explained to others, and that can guide further action. Help facilitators to become aware of their underlying beliefs and assumptions about the experiences shared in the groups. Promote a positive environment for self-discovery. Studies have found that as little as 15 minutes spent on reflection at the end of your day can improve your performance and reduce burnout.
Professor Gary Rolfe and colleagues (2001) describe a useful framework for self-reflection in their book ‘Framework for Reflective Practice’. It’s based around three simple questions: What? – describe a particular situation, then focus on achievements, consequences, responses, feelings, and any problems. So what? – discuss what you have learnt about yourself, relationships, models, attitudes, cultures, actions, thoughts, understanding and any improvements. Now what? – identify what you need to do in the future to improve future outcomes and develop your learning. Learning to engage in reflective practice can be challenging at first, but it leads to a host of benefits. As sociologist, Peter Drucker said, “Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection, will come even more effective action.”
The Team @ SHQ
Rolfe et al. Reflective Framework (2001)
Reflective Practice: An Introduction
Downloadable prompts for self-reflection (worksheet)
Dwelling on The Past: The Importance Of Project Retrospectives (Part 1 & Part 2)
Thanks to BCC’s Seniors Celebration Donation Self Help Queensland was able to put a small contribution towards some of our groups’ end-of-year parties.
Pictured: The Stroke & Friendship Club, the Mt Gravatt Carers Group and the Westside Carers Group.
FAQs and Important Notice
Q: How do other groups upskill volunteers who answer the phone for questions about our group?
A: There are several commercial offerings for this kind of training, but you might be wanting something a bit more specialised or lower in cost. We are working on training to address these queries so let us know if you would like to join us in 2021!