I recently had the great pleasure of facilitating a reflective practice meeting in the KOTESOL Reflective Practice Special Interest Group (RP SIG). The main topic was resolutions, reflecting, and plans for reflecting in the new year.
To start the meeting I asked the group about what they usually think of when they hear the phrase “New Year’s Resolutions.” As I expected, they laughed and said things like:
They don’t come true.
I do them just for fun.
I don’t believe in them.
We always forget about them by February.
I asked the group why these resolutions don’t often happen. The answers included:
They are not specific enough.
They are unrealistic.
We don’t really care about them.
They are unclear.
We don’t really believe that we will do them.
It seemed to me that the answers were related to typical resolutions not being SMART. I was happy and somewhat surprised that most people were not familiar with the acronym SMART. In any case, I think the concept behind SMART objectives makes a lot of intuitive sense.
Another focus of the RP SIG session was to think about how using the ELC can help us make better, more useful and more personally important action plans. After thinking about how to make their resolutions SMARTER I asked the more experienced RP members to present the ELC to the new members.
I then asked group members to walk through the ELC and share how it played it role in the creation of their resolutions. From my perspective it was like doing the ELC in reverse because we had already created the plans. I really enjoyed hearing the descriptions and analyses that led up to the resolutions. My feeling was that by sharing the background we all got a better sense of why we made the resolutions that we did.
Some members mentioned that they had automatically gone through the ELC in their heads without thinking of it while others said they just came up with resolutions almost automatically. I am still continually curious about how “natural” the ELC is and how much training, practice and awareness is needed to use it effectively.
My personal experience leads me to believe that by starting with an event/concrete experience and working our way through the ELC we are more likely to come up with more suitable action plans. I wonder if others have similar or different thoughts and experiences.
Just as I was about to publish this I came across this blog post which I think offers a lot of wisdom. From this I was reminded of the importance of writing down goals. I also think that publishing/announcing/stating goals can be helpful. So, with that in mind, my blogging related resolution is to do at least 25 blog posts this year. That is just under a post every other week. I hope that you will keep coming back to this blog and feel free to nudge me if I don’t keep up with it!