Reflection Takes Time
Several years ago, I was involved in a recurring professional development activity where we were asked to immediately reflect on something we had just seen. During those reflection times, I would doddle because, for me, reflection is something that takes time. Often, it is difficult for me to give a valid reaction immediately after I have been confronted with new material.
As a condition of obtaining money for professional travel, we are required submit a Final Narrative Summary Report within seven days of the date of travel in which we are not only supposed to describe the event but also to explain what types of curricular changes will result and how students will benefit from what we learned as a result of attending the event.
Today, seven weeks after attending the HASTAC Conference the first weekend in December, I submitted my executive summary; a summary I also posted as “The Best Professional Development that $150 Could Buy.” Fortunately, my dean was willing to give me an extension so that I would have the time to really work with the ideas to which I had been exposed. Much of the value to the college of my having attending HASTAC did not specifically come from the sessions I actually attended nor the conversations that I had during breaks and meals. It came from active reflection on how I could implement various ideas in my own teaching.
One of the benefits that results from HASTAC was coming to an understanding how multi-author blocks might be a valuable tool for me and my students. And it has only been a week since I realized that I could administer a multi-purpose blog.
Learning does not take place instantly—at HASTAC or in the classroom. Instead, it builds on itself.
Today was an appropriate time to finish and submit my reflection. But that does not mean that the learning will not continue. In fact, I have not even begun to reflect on some ideas I have for ENG 101. I am not teaching that course during Winter semester so I knew I could wait to reflect.
This is so good that we will be including it in our January newsletter! Thanks, Steve, and to the administrators at Schoolcraft who made your participation at HASTAC V possible. You and your students made a significant, important contribution. Best, Cathy N. Davidson, co-founder, HASTAC