Identify and discuss three major takeaways from your reading of Chapter 4 in
Teaching and Learning Through Reflective Practice: A Practical Guide for Positive Action
. Then outline your career goals and discuss how you plan to play to your strengths and address any weaknesses in order to achieve your goals.
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Towards strengths-based thinking
This chapter really gets to the essence of the second edition. It is about describing,
explaining and justifying a new kind of reflective practice Ã¢â‚¬â€œ one that explicitly emphasizes reflecting on strengths so as to identify them, play to them and develop new ones.
This is a pretty tough task, as many of us are programmed to reflect upon problems
and weaknesses rather than strengths and successes. A major message in the second
edition of this book is that reflection that only focuses on fixing weaknesses is a mistake and a misallocation of time and energy. I am suggesting that, to help people
become the best they can be, we also need to reflect on the positives, and use reflection and its practices to identify, develop and amplify their gifts, talents and strengths.
The point of this chapter is simple. It is about balance. I am not advocating replacing a
one-Ã‚Âsided perspective of reflection being a solution looking for a problem, Ã¢â‚¬â€œ an obsession with what is wrong Ã¢â‚¬â€œ with another one-Ã‚Âsided perspective Ã¢â‚¬â€œ an exclusive focus on
what is right. This is misguided and simplistic. I am trying to go beyond this swinging
pendulum kind of reflective practice by advocating an approach to individual growth
which recognizes that both strengths and weaknesses have an appropriate place in
learning and development. A focus on reflection for strength-Ã‚Âbuilding takes us
into some new, interesting and humanly significant areas, such as those to do with
… the best in the present situation
… what needs to change to make
things (even) better
… what needs to be done
and by whom
… opportunities for staff and students
to be the best they can be to
achieve their goals
Figure 4.1 Using reflection in a strengths-based way
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