Professional reflective practices for teachers and leadership alignment in a rural Manitoba school division

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Tymko, Catherine
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This research studies the ways in which a school division in rural Manitoba incorporates reflective thought or applies reflective practice into their daily work. The purposes of this study were to: a) discover whether practitioners in one rural Manitoba school division are able to articulate a clear and explicit understanding of reflective practice as a professional growth strategy; b) take an in depth look at the types of reflective practices that are occurring within that school division; c) assess the coherence and alignment that exists at the classroom level right through to the divisional level in the selected division. Data collected in this study was analyzed against some key features of reflective practice as well as against some key features of leadership and system alignment. The selected topics in the area of reflective practice were: (i) dissonance as a driver; (ii) the importance of reflective practice being inquiry-based; (iii) the shifting of existing beliefs about the reflective process; (iv) the need for vulnerability and trust as a precursor for successful reflection; (v) the value of a collaborative culture; and (vi) the value of formalizing the visibility of the reflective process. The chosen topics for analysis in the area of leadership and alignment were: (i) shared vision; (ii) consistency of and commitment to philosophical beliefs; (iii) the allocation of necessary resources; (iv) the importance of system alignment; (v) the benefit of capacity building; and (vi) accountability. Impacts of the COVID-19 global pandemic as well as a provincial proposal to overhaul the education system in Manitoba were included in the study as a result of the timing of the research undertaken.
Reflective practice, Leadership, Alignment, Professional reflection, COVID-19 pandemic, Manitoba education review