Thursday, 18 February 2016

Reflective Practice for Practitioners, Volunteer and professional Workers

Reflective Practice for Practitioners
(Volunteer and Professional workers)

Ballincollig, Cork
March – November 2016
Tuesday Evenings
All course participants will be highly subsidised by Bon Secours Community Initiative Fund
Do you have a strong commitment to social justice and promoting equality?
Have you ever wondered about your ways of working?  Are you interested in reflecting with others, and learning about the under-lying assumptions, motivations, feelings and beliefs that shape your community practice choices?  Are you interested in being better able to bring about positive change  in your own community or with the organisations you are involved in? This part-time SHEP course commencing in March 2016 may be of interest.
Some Participant quotations of their experiences on the course
‘It was wonderful to engage with fellow professionals and participate in their struggles alongside my own. This was positive and life affirming as well as contributing greatly to the learning of how to be reflective in my practice’         (participant)
‘This course provided me with the space to take time out from day-to-day craziness of work to genuinely reflect and think about what is important – really enjoyed it and benefitted from it personally and professionally’ (participant)
‘This course allowed me to go into a heart space which is often neglected and ignored in the heady obligations of my working life’ (participant)          
‘When I experience being seen and heard without demand or judgement I can allow myself to be and be amazed at what I learn about myself and the growth in self-acceptance that I experience’ (participant)         
About the Reflective Practice for Practitioners Course (SHEP Certificate)
This open-access and stand-alone SHEP course, is designed to create a place to reflect on practice for people active in their communities who have a commitment to enabling social change and working towards social justice. Participants will share in the creation of a space that facilitates an exploration of the assumptions, values, beliefs and feelings that underpin participants’ ways of being active in their respective community settings. Participants will learn about a number of frameworks that give structure to a reflective process and develop a capacity to discern the applicability of these for themselves and their practice. The course will be of interest to a wide range of people in voluntary, paid and professional capacities involved in a various roles in their communities.

Course Aim
The aim of the course is to provide, for people active in community or organisational settings, a space for 8-10 participants to reflect on their prior and current practice experiences. The course aims to enhance participants’ capacity to engage in the critical reflective process and to enhance their capacity to co-create the conditions for learning from practice reflection. The focus of the course will be on the reflective phase of the experiential learning/action planning cycle.

The course is underpinned by SHEP’s philosophy that self-awareness and self-knowledge when combined with a commitment to community action is the basis for personal and social transformation. The course reflects SHEP’s philosophy that adults continue to learn throughout their life and that life and practice experience is an invaluable source for that learning. The course is inspired by SHEP’s commitment to equality, social justice, social transformation and the contribution that group spaces can create for learning.

Upon successful completion of the course participants will receive a SHEP Certificate in Reflective Practice for Practitioners.
Learning Outcomes
Participants who complete this course will be able to:
1.      Better reflect on their practice
2.      Participate in the co-creation of a group reflective practice space
3.      Discern the usefulness of a number of frameworks for reflection on their practice (Critical Reflection, Experiential Learning Cycle, Action Planning and Activity Theory)
4.      Adopt a facilitative stance that, together with others in a group context, co-creates the conditions for an effective reflective practice space
5.      Identify their preferred learning styles but also be open to exploring other styles
6.      Reflectively write about their practice and their reflective learning processes
7.      Draw up a personal plan as to how they will support themselves in their practice
Course Content
This course will address a number of key areas, as follows:
  • What is the Critical Reflection approach – are there others?
  • What is the Experiential Learning Cycle?
  • What are different styles of learning and have you a preference?
  • How to be in a space that supports your learning from practice reflection?
  • What helps a group reflective space to work well?
  • What is an ‘activity system’? Does this perspective aid your reflection on practice?
  • How you can use a writing process to support your learning from reflection?
  • Reflecting on your own reflecting and learning!
  • How can you best support yourself and others?

This course is primarily experiential in the use of the frameworks for reflection on practice, and participants will come to discern the usefulness of the frameworks for themselves. An important part of the approach is a reflective writing process. There will be very limited formal teaching and a small amount of guided reading.  
Commitment, Schedule & Location
This course entails 30 contact hours of participant effort through group time, with the group meeting approximately once per month from March 2016 to November 2016 (6 sessions of 2.5 hours and 3 sessions of 5 hours with a break in July & August). Participants will need to schedule a further one hour per week for reflective writing and a small amount of guided reading.
A SHEP Certificate in Reflective Practice for Practitioners will be awarded where an 80% attendance record is achieved. There will be no formal assessment in the course. Participants will be required, however, to submit one written reflective learning piece at the end of the course that draws on their learning and their reflective writing done through the span of the course. An input on reflective writing skills will be provided early in the course.

This course is fully subsided through the support of the Bon Secours Community Initiative Fund, Cork Volunteer Centre, SHEP and the HSE and there is No Course Fee for participants. A personal contribution of €10 per person is required as the course deposit, and this small fund will be available for use by the group.

Entry requirements
Candidates must be adults (18 and over) who:
  • Have a strong commitment to promoting social change, equality and justice and are active in their community in either a paid or voluntary capacity
  • Have a willingness to be open in a group setting, sufficient for a process of reflection on the assumptions, values and feelings underpinning their activity
The course is open to all people from the Community and Voluntary Sector, either in paid or voluntary capacities. It is not necessary to be involved in an organisation or group, only that you are active for social justice or community empowerment in some current way. Those who have completed other courses in SHEP can also apply. Candidates will be shortlisted and all shortlisted candidates will be required to attend for a short interview. Being called for an interview does not guarantee an offer of a place.

SHEP has recently reconfigured its third practitioner training programme which is now called the SHEP Certificate in Applied Facilitation in Community & Organisational Settings. The aim of that part-time programme is to resource local communities and organisations by supporting programme participants to become more active citizens through leadership and facilitation. The Reflective Practice for Practitioners course is one of six modules comprising that programme.  While not required for the Reflective Practice course, applicants for the QQI Level 6 component modules of the Applied Facilitation in Community and Organisational Settings practitioner programme will normally have a Leaving Certificate/QQI Level 5 or equivalent qualification. For more detail on eligibility and progression criteria for that programme, please refer to the accompanying one page document or to our website at

Course Personnel & Venue
One group will run in 2016 in Cork (Ballincollig) and the trainers on the course are Brendan O’Brien and Liam McCarthy.

Interested applicants should submit a completed application form along with the deposit by 5pm on the closing date for applications, Wednesday 2nd March 2016

Interviews (10-15min) will be scheduled for Friday 4th March 2016 between 4-8pm in Ballincollig. Successful applicants will be notified by Friday, 11th March 2016

·         The course will be held at the SHEP Training Centre in Ballincollig with the first  session commencing on Tuesday 15th March from 7.30-10pm
·         Sessions will be on Tuesdays spaced approximately 3 weeks apart. The course runs from March to November 2016 with a break during July & August

The course will run subject to sufficient numbers applying to form a group of 8-10 participants.

Further Information
For further information and an application form please see the Training and Development section of the SHEP website


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