Let's consider an example of an action and reflection cycle from a literacy
class for hospital workers.
Identification of theme/issue:
One day, during the opening check-in where participants share personal
news, Maria says that she is nervous about the performance review she will
have with her supervisor the following week. The co-worker instructor goes
to the flipchart and writes performance review.
- The instructor facilitates a group discussion, asking participants to share
what they know about this management procedure. She records key
words and phrases, clarifies terminology and draws out what the group
knows about the process.
- Maria is asked to talk about her concerns - why she is nervous. Maria
feels her relationship with her supervisor is not a positive one and she
fears she will be given a poor performance review that will adversely
affect her goals of getting a promotion she has been working toward.
This problem identification begins the analysis phase. It continues with
exploration of relevant background information about the supervisor and
Maria's relationship with her. The group reflects on Maria's situation in
light of relevant sections of the contract. Participants share relevant
experiences that further contribute to a deeper understanding of the
situation and possible alternatives for action.
- In the strategizing phase, the group helps Maria assess the pros and cons
of possible courses of action. Maria decides to consult the union steward
and the group helps her plan how to go about that.
- In the action phase, the various tasks of the action are first practised in
the class.The instructor facilitates the group in writing a clear and
concise summary of Maria's situation. Participants role-play the consultation with the union steward. Later, outside the class, Maria makes an
appointment and meets with the steward to discuss her problem.
After Maria has consulted with the steward, she reports back to the group.
Not only may her situation change in some way as a result of her action,
but Maria and her fellow program participants have gained new insights into
their shared reality. This may lead to the generation of new goals and the
action-reflection cycle begins again.