ASCD Leaders on Reflection: Christina Yuknis
A defining trait of leadership is a passion for success and continuous improvement. With progress comes new vistas and new goals, as well as new challenges to overcome in our never-ending quest for knowledge and excellence. Leaders envision a future, and great leaders shape that future. With that in mind, we asked ASCD leaders to share their thoughts on what reflection means to them as learners, teachers, and leaders.
"Reflection is an important part of my daily life, not just at work but also personally. In my work with preservice teachers, I am often thinking about how I can model and integrate the types of learning activities that I want them to use when they work with children. How can I make my class relevant to them? This is critical to me, because students with disabilities are often regarded as afterthoughts and accommodations are made after the lesson is designed. I want my students to be forward thinking and plan for every student all the time. It is not easy to do, and I am constantly looking for better ways to instill this mindset in my students.
Every semester I reflect upon what worked and what did not in previous semesters, and try to incorporate new ideas and technology. When working with students in the field, I encourage them to reflect on their own actions and consider how to make adjustments to benefit their students. Teaching is not the only aspect of my work that requires reflection. I must also reflect on my interactions with others when I am engaging in activities in the field, and I utilize and consider the feedback received from my peers on my scholarly works. Rarely are articles or other works accepted without some type of revision, and I often believe the feedback from reviewers moves my thinking and my work in new and interesting ways.
My final reflection on reflection (so meta!) is that while I do it every day and in all aspects of my work, I still feel that I do not have enough time to do meaningful reflection. I am always yearning for that little extra time in which I can really push myself to new interesting and innovative directions."
Christina Yuknis is an ASCD Emerging Leader from the 2011 class and facilitates the ASCD Professional Interest Community on Educating Beyond Disabilities. An assistant professor at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., Yuknis writes for the Ecology of Education blog, has presented at ASCD's Annual Conference, and will have an article published in the Exceptional Children journal. In July 2013, she completed her first triathlon.