Reflective Practice
Reflection is one of the core components of VbE. Below are extracts from an article by Jane Hawkes on leading a class in what she calls the fourth "R", Reflection. To download the full article, click here

Why Reflect?
A key goal of VbE is to nourish well being of self, others and the wider world. So much of our daily living involves being on a roller coaster of events and challenges leaving us so often with a feeling of not being in control. Unconscious processes govern most of our responses to life’s events. Through pausing regularly for moments of reflection, you have the opportunity to take charge of your life, and be aware of the multitude of options of responses available to you.

What are Reflective Practices?
Reflection is the ability to access our internal world of thoughts and feelings, and to regulate them. Reflective practices encompass a spectrum of activities including:
  • thinking about your work
  • reflecting on our behaviour and the impact it has on other people
  • reflecting on a story and then maybe having an opportunity to discuss your thoughts with others and hear differing perspectives
  • mindfulness and meditative practices

How to Reflect
Organise your class to sit comfortably. Speak firmly when giving instructions. Your intention should be to let go of control and lead by doing. After the first couple of experiences, the instructions subtly shift from being directions, to being a pathway into contemplation. Examples of instructions include:
  • Put everything out of your hands;
  • Sit with your backs as straight as possible;
  • Feet, flat on the floor. Do not cross your ankles;
  • Place your hands on your laps;
  • Close your eyes;
  • Gently follow your breath as you breathe all the way in, hold it, and let it out.

The Experience of Reflective Practice
Once students get the hang of reflection, typical feedback (in this case Year 9 students), includes:
  • Reflection puts everything in perspective, what you are worrying about isn’t that important
  • Slow down and take a breath and focus on the good stuff in your life and shift focus from the negative
  • Helps to realise what is important to you – you can be happy
  • Appreciate what you take for granted
  • We think about things when we relax, when we are busy we don’t think about much, we consider a lot more.
  • You think about the quality of life and not what you are stressing about

Background to Reflective Practices?
The Articles section has interesting background to the use of Reflective Practices in schools.

From My Heart
Neil Hawkes

This is a book that guides readers on how to bring values into their consciousness, thereby improving their well being and that of their family, community and working environment.