Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Becoming a Reflective Librarian and Teacher

Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Becoming a Reflective Librarian and Teacher

Article excerpt

Becoming a Reflective Librarian and Teacher. By Michelle Reale. Chicago: ALA, 2016. 124 p. Paper $57 (ISBN 978-08389-1529-5).

Reale opens her thin volume by introducing the notion that learning doesn't come just from experts but from our own experiences, which are a foundation for our learning and teaching. She notes that reflective practice helps us understand not only our world and our place in it, but also how to navigate the "conflation" of our personal and professional selves (xviii).

In the early chapters, Reale explores the need to be reflective both for our own practice and also as a means of inspiring reflective learners. Chapter 3 specifically looks at the necessity and benefit of a reflective practice that allows us to address our doubts, insecurities, frustrations as well as our triumphs and discoveries.

Chapters 4 and 5 discuss the barriers to creating a reflective practice. For many, the question is simply how to start. Significantly, our typical focus on technical rationality, tasks, and metrics crowds out the time we need for reflection and undermines the validity of our intuitions and experiences. Yet, ultimately, Reale argues, we are humans with feelings and personal preferences that we must understand before we can create an authentic practice.

The next two chapters address variations and deeper insights into the concepts introduced in the first four chapters. In chapter 6, Reale focuses on the benefits of journaling for reflection, providing examples to demonstrate the many forms that this practice can take. Chapter 7 looks at tone: While we often use reflection and journals to solve problems, starting with our own strengths ("what's working") can be a more positive approach, enabling us to address the challenges from a position of strength.

Reflection is often considered a personal or isolated practice, but chapters 8 and 9 look at how to engage a wider circle. …

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