Self-Reflection and Shared Reflection as Professional Tools

Self-reflection is essential to high quality professional practice. This resource stresses the importance of self-reflection in developing strategies to better meet the needs of children and families. In this short paper, Head Start staff members will learn about self-reflection and shared reflection as professional tools.

The following short paper is provided courtesy of the Family Connections Project at Children's Hospital Boston

See PDF version: Self-Reflection and Shared Reflection as Professional Tools» [PDF, 142KB]

The time to reflect—to stop and think about what has happened, is happening, and should happen next—is essential to high quality professional practice. Skilled professionals use self-reflection to:

  • Improve their skills in working with children and families
  • Improve their ability to communicate and work with fellow staff members
  • Understand how their own experiences and beliefs influence their work

Sharing reflections with other staff members can help develop more effective strategies, with the added benefit of working as a team. These are all-important ingredients for sound decision-making, staff skill development, appropriate service delivery, and effective staff communication.

How can you reflect on yourself, your work and the families you serve?

Working with families and young children is demanding, and setting aside time to think about ourselves and our work can be difficult. Making choices about what to say to a parent concerning an issue with her child or how to respond to a particular child’s need may seem automatic, and in many ways it is. When one has substantial experience working with children and families it is natural to do what feels right at the time. But an important part of the process of becoming skilled as a professional is understanding why and how you make the choices you do through reflection. Taking the time to look at yourself and your work gives you the opportunity to acknowledge strengths and challenges, and improve your skills.

Self-Reflection and Shared Reflection as Professional Tools. Family Connections Project at Children's Hospital Boston. Innovation and Improvement Project. HHS/ACF/OHS. 2008. English [PDF, 142KB].

Last Reviewed: May 2012

Last Updated: November 13, 2014