Opportunities for Meaningful Outcomes
In January 2022 we were delighted to facilitate a two-hour webinar where we explored how best to engage in continuing professional development (CPD) and the opportunities for reflective practice. The basis of the webinar was a recent SEDA special on Reflective Practice which we collaborated on. As we know here are a wide range of ways to engage in CPD – both formal and informal. The formal approaches highlighted focussed on accredited / unaccredited programmes, workshops and conferences, where reflection of learning is often more structured, either as a requirement of the programme or conference funding. The informal approaches explored included discussions with colleagues, reading literature and mentoring, where the reflection on learning may be less structured but iterative.
A clear appetite to engage in both CPD and reflective practice was evident with a consensus that there remains many obstacles to this. It was suggested that finding the time was, perhaps, the biggest obstacle as there is widespread lack of capacity within roles for this critical professional development. The challenges of making time, particularly with remote working, where we have lost the opportunity for chatting on way to, and at the start of, meetings, was reported by many participants. There was also recognition that sharing a virtual cuppa and chat with a colleague can be powerful and help inspire solutions for issues. The change in our working approaches during the pandemic has led to increased opportunities for CPD, with many events now being provided online at a nominal or no cost. The past two years have provided new approaches to practice which have led to new scenarios for us to reflect on our practice such as the use of online platforms for teaching, online communities of practice, student partnership work in constructing online learning, to name a few.
The participants were generous in sharing their views and approaches to reflecting on their learning and, indeed, their practice. It was agreed that the requirement to engage in CPD, to remain in good standing within professional bodies / industry, is a very useful opportunity to protect time to engage in reflective practice. Different approaches were suggested such as recording thoughts and feelings through a reflective journal, a blog, short audio/video recordings on phone.
In summary, the need to be proactive in planning our CPD and reflective practice is clear. In order to maximise our commitment discuss CPD with line managers also our peers. Capturing and reflecting on things that went well, not just those that didn’t, is important. Some nice ideas of a ‘sunshine folder’ to capture positive feedback from colleagues, students or others that can be reflected upon, and included in, promotion or job applications. The session finished with a focus on next steps as outlined below.
Dr Carole Davis, Solent University, Dr Mary Fitzpatrick, University of Limerick and Prof Pam Parker, City, University of London