A gentle nudge…slowing down #SAVMP

slow downphoto credit: Loozrboy via photopin cc

Sometimes inspiration comes at just the right moment. Lately, I have been moving at warp speed.  At times, I get so caught up in the “doing” that it is difficult to slow down and reflect.

Earlier this school year, I signed up to participate in an innovative program launched by George Couros (@gcouros), the School Administrator Virtual Mentor Program (#SAVMP). I have been fortunate to connect and learn with committed educators who are sorting through how to lead the way forward to innovative learning in our schools and communities. And, I have had a tough time juggling the competing demands of doing the work and reflecting on the work. I tend to lean more in the direction of the “doing” part (the slowing down part, not so much).

So, this week when George provided a “gentle nudge” to program participants to take time to stop and reflect and share our learning through blogging and tweeting, I was inspired to take stock. In his blog post, You can Close the Door (Sometimes), George offers a timely reminder that it is “high priority work” for educational leaders to stop and reflect and share as a key component of creating an open culture of learning among educators.

At first his post struck me as an interesting counterpoint to my recent post on the power of connections by “opening our doors” by sharing our professional practices.  The juxtaposition of open and closed doors made me think — both are necessary to our continued growth and learning.

It is only by closing our door (sometimes) that we are able to truly reflect on not only what we’re doing, but why it is important to our larger purpose. Running on empty does not really promote deep thinking or learning. Without our best thinking, it is virtually impossible to focus our energy on taking the next right steps to move forward. Taking the time to reflect enhances our ability to engage more meaningfully with others. It seems to me that both are essential to building a collaborative culture that promotes deeper learning and purposeful action toward our common goal.

What are your thoughts on how to slow down and take time for deeper reflection?

9 thoughts on “A gentle nudge…slowing down #SAVMP

  1. Thanks so much for this post, and for they reminder about the #SAVMP challenge to take time to reflect. I’ve had a post in the making on “pressing pause” that you’ve inspired me to sit and finish. I know it won’t be done tonight, and maybe not even tomorrow, but it will be soon. The short version of it is that I try to keep a bulletin board in my office dedicated to “the big picture” and use a variety of strategies to engage with it over the course of the year. The most successful one was setting aside one Friday near the end of every month to spend 30-45 minutes in front of that board reviewing the last month’s intended goals / action steps in each of my job “categories”, giving myself a “score” of green/yellow/red on each, writing in my own journal what I saw as evidence of this score as well as what root causes I saw for success/challenge, and setting new goals / action steps for the next month. That process helped keep my actions aligned to “the big picture” while also making that reflection time something I looked forward to.

    • Tony,
      I love the image of the “pause” button. I used to keep one on my desk (the word “pause” written on a post-it note). It provided a great visual reminder.
      Thank you for sharing your strategy to keeping a focus on “the big picture.” I like the monthly check in, written reflection, self-rating and refinement of next steps. Aligning actions with the larger purpose is so important, yet challenging to do. I appreciated the concrete way you’ve outlined a process for doing this.
      I look forward to reading your blog post!

  2. Thanks so much, Jennie, for sharing the crucial reminder that “educational leaders to stop and reflect and share as a key component of creating an open culture of learning.” I appreciated how this was modeled and facilitated at the EdLeader21 closing sessions–and it never ceases to surprise me how taking the time purposefully to review, reflect, and share — time that doesn’t seem to exist in the abstract, when confronted with each day’s challenges and opportunities — somehow makes the hours and days that follow more productive, collaborative, and enjoyable. CT

    • Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Chris. I also appreciated how reflection was structured and so integral a part of the EdLeader sessions.
      I share your sense of surprise that in taking this time does make “the hours and days that follow more productive, collaborative and enjoyable.” This is a lesson that I keep coming back to!

  3. Hi Jennie, Thank you for sharing openly. I really value my time to process my thoughts and write on my blog. The posts that I write may or may not even be published, but the process of writing and reflecting is crucial for me. I tend to aim for sitting down to reflect once a week and at times this can be achieved and at others it cannot. I know that it is something I need to do to ensure I take a breath and don’t let things either frustrate or overwhelm me and at other times it gives me an opportunity to celebrate some things we have a achieved. We each have different ways to “slow down” as you say and reflect and I do agree with George that it “reflecting..is not an option”. Whether we do this in an open forum is up to the individual, but I know I sure learn more when people do!

  4. Sometimes I close the front door and open the backdoor .
    with the buzz of my project or inquiry spinning in my head I alternate my mental energy on something else of importance to me… I look for metaphors from other sources. It helps me make sure the direction I am going, the questions I am asking and the solutions I am seeking are fresh and that I wisdom I am using is diverse….

  5. Pingback: A Gentle Nudge… » Sue Tonnesen

  6. Pingback: Growing a culture of innovation #SAVMP | Jennie's Blog

  7. Pingback: Looking Back…Finding Bright Spots | Jennie's Blog

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