Many of my #SAVMP mentor peers have ben posting over the past week about reflection in reponse to George Couros’ challenge. Now that we are in the middle of the second month of school, we’ve all gotten very busy. One thing I never expected when I was preparing to be a principal was that there would be such difficulty in finding time to reflect, but that there would be a need for a different type of reflection.
When we typically talk about reflection, we emphasize thinking about decisions we made in our classrooms, in our professional conversations, etc. I would argue that there is an equally important type of reflection when we think about situation PRIOR to them actually happening. In sports, they call this visualization. If you visualize enough times the same body movements used to hit a line drive up the middle, your body will be more likely to perform that function when you get up to bat the next time.
Since I’m “blessed” with a very active brain, I had a recurring visualization when I was a principal about exactly what I would do if I encountered a student or an intruder with a gun in my school. This sounds morbid, but it was just part of my mental practice for being a high school principal. I allowed myself to visualize the body movements I would make towards the potential assailant, the way I would communicate with fellow administrators, etc.
On a less morbid thought, this flipping of reflection can also be considered when preparing for conferences with families, teachers, staff members, board members, students, etc. If one visualizes all the possibilities, the ways one might be misinterpreted or misunderstood, the way I control my own emotions if it’s an emotional situation, etc, then one is more likely to be effective, efficient, and better able to listen to others in these conversations. This can be vital when trying to make good decisions for the best learning environment for each child.