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Do you have someone who can help you to develop critical friendships and critical thinking?
Last week I wrote about how I was developing into my doctoral studies at Cambridge University. In a weekly seminar on ‘critical friendships‘ by Dr. Sue Swaffield elaborated on definitions and practical techniques that developed ‘trust’ and strengthened relationships.
We discussed the following questions which I believe are helpful for all school leaders and teachers. I managed to consider a ‘person’ for each of the questions below. In your area of work, do you have someone you can think of – who also gives you the time you need for reflection and discussion.
Ask the right questions
- Who asks you questions that make you rethink things, or see things differently, in a new light?
- Who stimulates your thinking, gives you new ideas, and perhaps shares practice from elsewhere?
- Who is your sounding board? I.e. Someone you bounce ideas off, test your thinking with?
- Who is a bit removed from your situation and yet understands it?
- Who provides you with a slightly detached viewpoint and a valuable fresh pair of eyes?
Try to consider an answer to each of these questions the next time you reflect on your work, or when you are having a conversation with someone you are mentoring or coaching.