Reflection is about careful thought 

Aerial shot of a meditative circular pathway with shrubs and other greenery on bright sunny summer day.

The Carol Shields Memorial Labyrinth in Kings Park, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Image by Brydon McCluskey from Unsplash.

Reflection is about careful thought 

Written by JJ Cloutier, Edited by Nancy Fischer

“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.”      

Jennifer Porter, Why You Should Make Time for Self-Reflection (Even If You Hate Doing It)

Reflection is an iterative process.  Made up of five basic steps, it is part of a long-term overall process for self-improvement. Reflectory practice fits well with the concept of progress over perfection. Progress is not linear nor does it occur with regular intervals; it can ebb and flow based on many factors.

Reflection strengthens you as a person and professional. “Like a muscle, your mind needs reflection to reenergize and grow stronger.” James R. Bailey and Scheherazade Rehman, Don’t Underestimate the Power of Self-Reflection.

Basic steps for reflection include:

  • Identify some important questions to answer as part of the process, but don’t answer them yet.
  • Select a reflection process that matches your preferences. You can sit, walk, bike, or stand, be alone or with a partner, write or journal, create a voice diary, create sketch notes (visual note taking), talk or think.
  • Schedule time, maybe at the end or start of your day and make it official by booking it in your calendar. In other words, make it harder to push away.
  • Start small. Go for consistency over quantity; 10-15 minutes is a good place to start.
  • Do it. Reflect. Go back to your list of questions and explore them.

In the resource section of this post, we have gathered a couple of articles and resources that apply reflection to teaching and learning. Have a look through and find something that interests you.

If, in your reflection or through a review of the feedback you gain from your courses, you identify an area to improve for your teaching and learning practice but need a bit of help determining a new or better way to proceed, seek out help. Speak with a colleague or mentor, your institution’s faculty development coordinator or the education development team.

Don’t forget the MB Hub support team. We offer one-on-one consultation services as a sounding board for your ideas. Visit our Consultations for Instructors page for an overview, or book a free one-hour session with our instructional designer or digital media specialists.

Self-reflection resources for teaching and other professionals

Eight Ways to Clean Up Your Courses from Quality Matters

Don’t Underestimate the Power of Self-Reflection from Harvard Business Review

Reflective teaching: Exploring our own classroom practice from Teaching English Org

Critical reflection tip sheet from the University of Waterloo

Experiential learning and reflective teaching from the University of Manitoba

I did not journal this year. What else could I do?

Sample Self-Assessment tools

University of Pittsburgh (n.d.) Self Assessment. University Centre for Teaching and Learning, Retrieved September 12, 2023, from

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