Tutorial 9: Activities
Congratulations you are almost done with cycle one. Now it is time to write your REFLECTION. Here are some steps that might help you.
A) Review: Examine your Blog
Hopefully, you have been keeping a print journal or an electronic blog. Read your entries and make notes or codes that help you see what you have been thinking about. Use a markup tool like diggo, or software coding tools, that make it easier to annotate or code your blog entries. This will help you make connections across the different entries. See if you can find any themes. For example, was control over the project a large issue? Was there conflict? Was there a point at which things changed? Look for insights-- places where you were surprised, disappointed, excited, or rewarded. What happened and why? As you read think about how your statements might be the same, or different if you wrote them now. Sometimes events look different when there is distance. If you were emotional about something, can you now look at it and see how your reactions affected the social context? Did you find that listening helped you see things from the perspective of others?
As you read, here are some things you might want to note or collect:
Links between Action and Reactions -- as you acted with others, what were the reactions that you have noted
Insights - ideas that occurred to you as you worked through the action-- you might want to start a list of insights as they could each become discussion sections of your reflection
Ideas - connections between what you read in the literature while planning and what you are learning- ideas that you are evolving that you will want to make a part of your reflection.
Plans for the next cycle - thoughts you had for what you might try next time - collect these for across your reflection.
B. Write: Draft your Cycle 1 Reflections
Reflect on what you did and what happened. For every action, explore WHY you took this action, your expectations, and the outcomes. Why did you take the actions you took? What reading or past experience motivated your choices. When thinking about the outcomes, what matched your expectations and what surprised you? Where did you feel effective and when were you less satisfied with your actions. Why were you satisfied or disappointed? Did you learn something from the data analysis what was not evident in the setting? Often we have the sense from reading responses that everyone was talking about how effective one strategy was but then you code the data, you find that only 20% mentioned it. We hear and see things that we are looking for or expecting. When we look at data more carefully we often see differently.
C) Reflect: A MetaReflection (Reflection about Reflection)
Now reread your reflection and think about your process. Ask yourself questions like the following:
1) Did I write about things that were not visible? Descriptive writing is about what happened, but reflective writing is about what takes place in the mind which is not visible.
2) Did I learn something new from writing? Writing is a way to organize thinking. When you repeatedly ask yourself why after everything you write, you will start to get at things that are close to your core assumptions and values. Often examining these leads to new ideas.
3) Did my reflection help guide me to cycle two? Action research is cyclic or iterative. This means that the outcomes of one cycle of innovation lead to ideas for the next. What will you try in cycle two? and in cycle three? and beyond?
These three questions will tell help you assess your reflection. If your answer to these questions is no, then it makes sense to try again. Imagine an annoying five-year-old is standing next to you and every time you write a sentence the child asks you why? Exercise the patience of a parent and try to answer the question until you can no longer create responses. Then go on to the next sentence and self-interrogate with that simple but difficult question-- Why?