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Glowing and growing: a positive framework for self-reflection : Educational Technology


I don’t remember when I started using the terms “glowing” and “growing” to think. When I try to trace it back in my career, I believe it came from my friend, librarian, and educator. Buffy Hamilton and the phenomenal work that she does with students and teachers . Regardless of their origins, glowing and growing have become my way of thinking about positive and critical feedback as well as reflective practices. This is how I explain the terms:

  • Shines are the positive things: what we are proud of, which interactions felt positive or what we want to continue to drive. This could be an example of a project initiative or an opportunity to demonstrate leadership skills with colleagues.
  • Grows are not quite the opposite of glow. For me, growth is all that can contribute to increasing work. This could be a reflection of: “I attended a lot of dynamic learning opportunities this week and gathered so much knowledge. Now I will work harder in the future to capture this learning and share it with my colleagues. “

This framework leaves room for feedback and reflection on the amazing things that went right and where there is a chance to grow within those accomplishments!

In previous positions as educator, coach and professional learning facilitator, I used Glows and Grow to analyze and reflect on the feedback and assessment data I received from the participants. My focus was mainly on sustainability – the people I was allowed to interact with will continue to feel inspired to implement and redefine their practices. Basically, I wanted to make sure that learning didn’t stop after I left (one of the biggest problems in professional development).

Some of the questions I asked for feedback were:

  • What have you learned today to inform your class and develop better learning experiences for your students?
  • How did you share what you learned with your colleagues or students (or even with people outside the building, such as colleagues outside your school, in your district, or in your broader personal learning network)?
  • How did you find ways to elaborate and expand what you have learned in new and different ways?
  • To what extent has this learning influenced or changed your practice? If not, please feel free to explain why.

When I entered the private sector, my reflection practice came with me. I strive for growth, and the only way to promote it is to practice reflection, to ask for feedback, and then to act.

At the moment my professional process of considering glow and wax is simple:

  1. Every Friday I use a Google form to collect weekly data on my work. both internally for things like organizational development and professional growth and externally for customers.

  2. I enter three specific pieces of information for each project or type of work.

    • First, I explain the facts about what work or actions I did this week as simple statements.
    • Then I think about the glow or the things I would like to do more of in the future.
    • Finally, I think about growth or ways to improve or improve work.
  3. This data is filled out in a spreadsheet that is shared with my manager and linked to my professional focus plan.

At the end of each month, I look at the glowing and growing of this month, framed by the question: “How does your work affect the future, build something meaningful and reinforce others?” In a separate column, I note the trends or topics that I see and how I can address them as I think about the support or resources that I may need. At the end of the year – when we begin our formal review process for employees – I have a large collection of my growth and contributions that I can share and further reflect on.

This simple, growth-oriented approach allows me to focus on work and how this work helps me to contribute to clients both within the company and externally. And inevitable (and perhaps the strongest) as I continue to develop; for me!

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