One More Reflective Metaphor

by Zhenya

Have I ever told you that I like metaphors? I think the answer is yes (for example, this post on Reflective Metaphors from about a year ago, and the other one on Hats Metaphor from last summer)

I have been sorting out various files on my computer, reflecting on 2015, making action plans for 2016, and remembered our conversations with Josette LeBlanc in preparation for the interview with her on ptec blog.

Back then we talked a lot about our vision on Professional Development and what role reflective practices play in it. We were sharing our understanding, associations and metaphors to describe the ideas we had. One idea that I am still thinking about is comparing the process of reflection (on a lesson, on an input session, etc.) to holding a Crystal.

A Crystal? How much do I know about them? A quick Wikipedia read showed that it is ‘a solid material whose constituents are arranged in highly ordered structure’.

Crystals have flat sides with different (not symmetrical) orientations. Crystals may look like this:

What brings light to your Crystal?

What brings light to your Crystal?

Together, we brainstormed what crystals are or might be like, ‘playing’ with the metaphor in relation to reflection in our field. Sharing some of my notes after that conversation below.

  • crystals are formed or grown (just like teacher’s beliefs, styles, manner, voice is gradually shaping over the years in class)

  • one can’t define how many sides a crystal will have or pre-select its size (just like a trainer/educator can’t ‘program’ a certain skill set in a learning teacher)

  • the nature of crystals is different (the raw crystal is not polished, does not have a geometrical shape) — and their nature does not define their beauty (similarly to the variety of teaching styles and learners’ preferences)

  • snowflakes, diamonds, table salt are all examples of crystals (they represent variety, just like teachers and classrooms in the world)

  • in the dark, crystals might be unnoticed, or taken for simple rocks; in the light, they shine, and we can see and appreciate their beauty

  • the source of light shining on crystals may be different: a lamp, a torch, a candle, the sun, etc.

Coming back to the reflective metaphor, I could say that (most likely!) there is a ‘reflective crystal’ inside each teacher, and the light that shines on that crystal might be a listening empathetic colleague, or our own reflective questions, or a good book, a thoughtful blog post — basically, anything done with the growth and reflection in mind. Depending on the perspective a teacher is looking from, the light focuses on various sides of a crystal. Having a chance to talk about your teaching is perhaps an opportunity to notice another facet of a crystal, make it shine brighter, reflect/project even more light.

Each person shines the Light on something new.

What would you add to this metaphor? Does it resonate with you?

P.S. I am grateful to Josette for this conversation and connection – and hope we continue to ‘talk crystals’ in the future.

P.P.S. You might also want to follow Josette on her blog – if you have not done so yet! 🙂