Reflective (Practice) Reading Club

by Zhenya

RP Reading Club, or Conversations about Reflection

#RPClub

I am a big believer in group reflection on teaching, or peer professional development (PD): it is more fun, more interaction, and eventually, more learning. I also believe in Synergy as a stage of group development when the pools of resources from the individual members make the ‘whole’ result greater than the simple ‘sum’ of its parts.

There are certain PD activities that seem to be more ‘group’-like by nature (observing and discussing each other’s lessons, attending conferences and webinars, etc.). However, there are also those that might feel lonely, and even a little boring at times. To me, one of the examples of the latter would be reading (articles and books). The idea of the RP Reading Club, therefore, is to create a communication channel between like-minded educators and to discuss articles (and books) about Reflection and Reflective Practices.

Below I am brainstorming some possible ways of reading an article together:

  • writing a review with certain word limit (e.g. 500 words, or less)
  • choosing parts or quotes to think about (‘quotable quotes‘ and why they resonate with us)
  • creating questions to ask the authors
  • asking questions to another reader
  • sharing the answers to the questions asked (own questions)
  • sharing the answers to the questions from the other reader
  • listing no more than 8 points that stood out for me in the reading
  • creating a visual/mind map, etc. on the article
  • choosing a metaphor to best illustrate what the article is about
  • creating a reading task for this specific article as if you were bringing it to other teachers/colleagues, etc.

One of my personal goals for trying the idea of Reading Club is learning about ways to structure/organize my own reading notes. I don’t have such system in place yet but keep experimenting. At the moment it is a kind of checklist I use to keep notes on my reading (all the points below, or some of them, depending on the article)

title

author

publisher/source

date when read

one sentence summary, or key words/terms

quotes to be remembered

my own learning (based on the author’s ideas)

wondering/curious about (questions)

why I would like to get back to this article in the future

When I was a middle-school student, our teacher encouraged us to have a written log of the books we read outside of the ‘official’ school curriculum. It was a chart in a notebook where the headings were written in bright colors on the last page and all the other pages were cut (this way you could always see the headings, even if you turn pages — something similar to ‘freezing’ or ‘locking’ rows or columns on a spreadsheet now) The notes we had to take were about the author, the title of the book, number of pages, dates when a book was read, brief summary on the content and other ideas brought by the book.

Questions to the readers:

Do you keep a Reading Log of any kind?

Do you have a system of keeping notes on what you are reading?

Would you like to participate in a ‘Reading Club’?

Are there any posts you have already written, or read, which focus on the same idea?

Example: a post by Kevin Stein on his blog inspired by Kathleen Bailey’s article Reflective teaching: Situating our stories (1997) Asian Journal of English Language Teaching, 7(1), 1-19

Next step: my colleague and I will be trying out the idea of this interactive RP Club, so expect another post shortly where we will share our first ‘reading together’ experience. Till soon! 🙂