The systemic application of reflection can drive change at the individual, community, and organizational levels (Better Evaluation, 2019). Reflection allows for continuous learning to occur as a process that informs future action. Reflection reviews the project, activity, or event with a few simple questions:
- What was supposed to happen? What actually happened? Why were there differences?
- What worked? What didn’t? Why? What would you do differently next time?
- Who was involved? How were they involved? Who was impacted? How were they impacted?
Reflection is important before, during, and after an experience. Rather than simply describing what is happening or what happened, reflection helps us to create meaning from the work we are doing, no matter where in the process we currently are.
Successful reflection solidifies our learning, it helps us look inside ourselves and connect to the work we want to do, and places our work in a larger context. A model for reflecting its important to understand what we are doing, how we are engaging, reflecting on what you are learning, and how it is changing you as an individual. All types of engagement mentioned earlier can benefit from ongoing reflection at the level of the individual, team, and larger group.
Reflection might take the form of organized writing in a journal or essay format, directed readings about related issues, discussions among group members, presentations, portfolios, or some combination of these approaches. Try to look at the work and decide what sort of reflection might be most constructive for those involved.