Learn More about the Power of Regular Self-Reflection

Shakir Mohamed, a researcher in artificial intelligence at Google’s London-based Deep Mind project, writes that metacognition is the human race’s “extraordinary ability for reflection and self-evaluation of our thoughts and decisions.”

How well humans make use of this ability varies widely, as we know, but paying attention to our metacognitive process is certainly essential to professional and personal growth.

In a recent blog post, Mohamed defined metacognition in such a straightforward way that education resource guru Larry Ferlazzo made a poster out of it:

In our never-ending search for helpful ideas and articles (see the ABPC Facebook page), Cathy Gassenheimer and I have come across a recent flurry of resources on the topic of self-reflection for individual and group improvement. Here are some of our favorites, with brief summaries. We hope you’ll find them useful in your work. If you have other favorites, please share in the comments!

Why You Should Make Time for Self-Reflection (HBR)
Even when you don’t feel like doing it.

The hardest leaders to coach are those who won’t reflect on themselves, writes leadership expert Jennifer Porter. Why should you make time every day for reflection? “Reflection gives the brain an opportunity to pause amidst the chaos, untangle and sort through observations and experiences, consider multiple possible interpretations, and create meaning.” Good advice for principals, IPs and teacher leaders.

Self-Reflection Shouldn’t Discourage Us (HBR)
Ask ‘How can I improve’ – not ‘What’s wrong with me?’

Here’s an article about that “inner voice” that’s often more critical than it should be. The author provides some useful questions to ask when we start using metacognition to beat ourselves up!

Self-Reflection and Effective Performance (SmartBrief)
The untapped secret for inspiring workplace engagement.

According to a new study by Monmouth University, “the capacity for reflection that you and your team demonstrate directly correlates to the level of engagement the team is likely to experience.” An insufficient focus on reflection in the workplace drives engagement down, “as does limiting the opportunities for employees to apply their true passions at work.” Five ideas to use these findings included!

A Focus on Self-Improvement (Edutopia)
Five principles of deliberate practice can help teachers consistently improve their teaching.

“In his recent book Peak, Anders Ericsson describes the principles of deliberate practice that research has found to be effective in improving people’s skill in fields ranging from surgery to playing the violin,” writes high school math teacher Dylan Kane. As you read this article, you’ll see that the five practices identified by Kane are all intertwined with self-reflection and metacognition.

John Norton is an editor and communications consultant for the Alabama Best Practices Center.