Intellectual character

Assets | Reflection

1. Highlights

Reflection deepens our understanding of ourselves and the world around us. While it is a seemingly straightforward concept, it can be challenging to consistently put into practice. Critical reflection, in which we think about our experiences, beliefs, thoughts, and feelings and seek to learn from them, requires us to be humble and honest to face our own shortcomings and curious and truth-seeking to better understand both ourselves and our experiences — to understand what happened and why.

Learn from our experiences by thinking about what happened and why

Be humble and honest enough to face our own shortcomings

Reflect with others to gain more perspectives, deepen learning and amplify impact

Reflection requires us to intentionally create the time and space to do it effectively, whether at a personal level or in collaboration with others, as it is only too easy to let powerful learning opportunities slip by. When critical reflection happens in groups — incorporating multiple perspectives and centering shared values and common goals — reflection has a multiplying effect that research has shown to be transformative for group innovation and systems-level change.

As educators, creating opportunities for reflection in our daily work is important as the pressures of on-the-spot problem-solving with students, parents, and colleagues can quickly take precedence. In this urgency of the present, many important insights or opportunities for knowledge sharing and systemic solutions can go unnoticed. Because of this, developing a mindful disposition for reflective practice is an essential part of Principled Innovation. This intentionality helps us move in a cycle from action to reflection and learning about that action, to then incorporating what we learned into our next actions. This transformational process helps us cultivate practical wisdom both in ourselves and in our relationships with others, building empathy and creating the conditions for productive collaboration in which creative solutions can emerge.

Woman writing in journal.
Use journaling to embrace and reflect on the best parts of yourself at work, home, in relationships, and also to see the patterns and places where we may get ‘stuck’.
Woman standing with journal.
Reflection is connecting what we learn to our next decisions and actions.

2. Context

Woman standing with journal.
Reflection is connecting what we learn to our next decisions and actions.

3. Resources

Select one of our featured resources or visit the PI toolkit library for more tools.

Why team reflexivity works


  20 minutes

  By: Michaéla Schippers

The benefits of developing a reflective routine


  15 minutes

  By: Edutopia

Critical reflection in practice


  4 minutes

  By: Australian Children's Education & Care Quality Authority

What?/so what?/now what?


  40 minutes

  By: Principled Innovation® (PI)

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PI toolkit library