POPs approach to reflective practice

Reflective Practice – the start of the journey

Matt Bell (CEO) initiated the setting up of a dedicated reflective practice for the POP team late in 2019.  The team includes employees of POP as well as Associates (contracted by POP to carry out specialised pieces of work on our behalf).

Reflective practice has been developed with the POP team ethos very much in mind i.e., working horizontally, rather than top down.  The whole team has been encouraged to shape the Reflective Practice, reflecting on what works well – and what does not, and to come up with ideas for practices themselves.  The framework includes the solidity and boundary of a regular scheduled time, and crucially, a safe space.  Outside of that solid and grounded framework, is a fluid and adaptive process. 

Creating Safety

This is the foundation upon which the team’s reflective practice can take place.  How did we do this?

Over a couple of sessions, a Jamboard was used with questions and spaces for the team’s input:

  1. In a team setting where challenge is a possibility, what would help to create an environment of safety for you?

  2. What helps us to learn as individuals?

  3. Ideas for POP team reflective spaces

  4. Reflective spaces in practice

It felt important to use interactive software that was live, but also anonymous. 

Reflective Practice in Action

Currently we hold a reflective practice session once a month at team meetings.  It doesn’t stop there; the team can request a session of the whole group or ask a colleague for a one-to-one or a triad.  The sessions are generally ‘take-away’ pieces that can be helpful in self-reflection and/or with colleagues.  A reflective practice channel on the platform ‘Teams’ was created where individuals can place helpful articles, video’s etc. A wellbeing channel has also been set up to help support our reflective practice.

Reflective Session Examples:

  • How to cultivate our own wellbeing (resourcing) both inner and outer resources e.g., happy memories, art, dance, meeting with friends, meditation.

  • Brief psycho education – personality formation (very light session)

  • Using Liberating Structures exercises: https://www.liberatingstructures.com/ls-menu

  • An exercise inviting self and group reflection on how to include diverse voices.

  • Experimenting with various reflective models, such as, “Kolb”.

This has been a gradual process.  We will be looking at how to manage challenge, particularly strong challenge, in a way that feels ‘ok enough,’ whether personally, for the team, or the VCS.  We are hoping to engage with other organisations delivering reparative conversations to help us with this.  We have deliberately taken our time, with our first priority, to engage the team in reflective practice and an ‘open’ conversation about ‘safety’. At a recent cultural and diversity training session for the team, there was another chance for us to reflect and, at which, we considered our own cultural backgrounds and its influence on our perceptions and values, as well as unconscious bias.

Our intention is that – how we learn and reflect together as a team – will ripple out and positively affect our collaborative work with the VCSE.  We are holding in mind the possibility of sharing our reflective practices with the wider VCSE.  We have made a step towards this by sharing a reflective session with the VCSE at our 2021 AGM.