Refractive Practice

There are good reasons to continue along previous lines—we would be using the skills, resources, networks of connected people that we have built up over time and, in to a large extent, have embodied. However, Refractive Practice is about making that continuing not simple, that is, always assessed in tension with alternatives. That entails pausing to take stock and identify alternative paths before proceeding:
  • from one phase to another,
  • on from an activity or event,
  • into dialogue with others, or
  • at a branch point, when choosing an activity or path to pursue.
  • Although this may also serve as a description of reflective practice, refraction, as the schema below illustrates, is more apt as a metaphor.

    Refractive practice: Pause to take stock and identify alternative paths

    Taking Stock happens through:
  • Freewriting to bring thoughts and feelings to the surface of attention and clarify them.
  • Listening well to others and to yourself (through structured turn-taking in Dialogue Process and through Supportive Listening).
  • Making a habit of repeated Plus-Delta Feedback.
  • Gathering thoughts before the end of a Five-Phase Format dialogue process or other activity.
  • Having your plans or insights or questions witnessed in a Closing Circle.
  • Strategic personal planning.
  • Definitional ceremony.
  • Daily writing and other habits that assume and affirm your generativity.
  • Pursuing Reflective Practitioner Goals, allowing yourself to jostle among the six themes-in-tension: “negotiate power/standards,” “horizontal community,” “develop autonomy,” “acknowledge affect,” “be here now,” and “explore difference.”
  • Eliciting Responses to your Drafts in the form that you consider most helpful.