2015 Reflective Journey



Delta is done (kind of), new job (sort of), new year (definitely). Doing some early January blog-browsing I came across Tyson Seburn’s blog and his ‘reflective journey’ of 2015.

Trying to remember what happened last year


Last year was undoubtedly full-on, and with high-hopes for 2016, what better way to start the year with some introspection and goal-setting. I like the look of Tyson’s tasks and questions so here it goes.

Task A: Summarise 2015 in a five-word sentence.

  • A colossal amount of studying

Task B: Answer the four following reflective questions:

  1. What do I consider to be my most important professional accomplishment

Realising (by doing) that making something of myself in ELT is completely achievable. Just have a go: send out a proposal or write an article. The chances are that the idea is valued and appreciated and can lead somewhere. So my biggest accomplishment was a combination of a couple of smaller things that caused a positive realisation about my work and ideas.

  1. How did I handle a struggle this year?

It was the year of the Delta, utterly dominant personally and academically with plenty of struggles along the way. I dealt with it with coffee, water, a soldier of a laptop, my wife’s, fellow trainees’ and tutors’ support and with will power from within. Solid year.

  1. What critical incident has had a significant impact?

Seeing good friends move on and not seeing other important people at all has brought about important discussion and decision-making about the future.

However, in terms of my teaching alone, the single most critical incident that occurred was a beer-soaked conversation with a good friend and ex-colleague. In it he described to me his classrooms, his teaching style and approach to students. I was amazed to hear him describe what I understand the Dogme classroom to look like. This is a man who knew about Danish films but had never even heard of Thornbury. It was a fantastic conversation for me and I used it as justification for a systematic Dogme experimentation the ripples of which define my teaching now.

  1. Are the relationships I have with people in my life conducive to creating a collaborative culture focused on learning? 

This is something to work on. Personal and professional relationships are with different people, I would say in neither sector are there many people who are conducive to efficient and collaborative learning.

It’s mainly down to me though. I have always favoured solitary study. There are a few I can reach out to with my ideas in confidence, however confidence is the issue. To collaborate I need to be confident in my ideas, to be able to explain them with conviction. This will sound corny but it also sounds correct – to achieve a life conducive to collaborative learning I need to get a stronger relationship with myself.

This feeds back to the first question as I have begun to find some validation of my ideas this year which will hopefully lead to more sharing and collaboration in the next.


Task C: Summarise 2015 in a five-word sentence again, based on examining answers to Task B. Compare.

  •  Greatest moments because of others.

Studying provided the foundation and background to 2015. Actually the best (and worst) moments were a result of interaction with others. Great realisations, connecting the dots that reading had drawn into something more substantial because of sharing ideas. People help to highlight things I miss, as well as being the bridges to further professional opportunities.

Task D: Consider goal-setting: Where do I want to go from here?

These are one-year goals, hopefully I will look forward to returning to this post in January 2016.

  • Reach out to others in my profession across the globe far more boldly than 2015.
  • Build on my professional achievements from 2015 outside of day-to-day work.
  • Broaden my experience of different teaching contexts.
  • Get module 3 done and dusted to a high-level.


Shout out to Tyson for putting together a genuinely thought-provoking and beneficial new year reflective journey.

Looking forward to next year

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