We reflect in order to learn something, or we learn as a result of reflecting’ (Moon, 2004).

by Caroline McGowan

On the 17th December our final Learning Circle of 2021 took place and with only one week to go until the festive season began we decided to show up in style. At that time of year, it is natural for the pace to slow and as it turned out the mood of the day was one of reflection.

Throughout the session we made time for individual and group reflection. Areas we focused on included how to support students to develop competencies for working on community engaged research and learning (CERL) projects and also what changes can lecturers make to their modules to incorporate CERL. This reflection afforded us space to contemplate some ‘blue sky thinking’ in relation to incorporating CERL in modules which everyone agreed was beneficial.

Of course, it was also important to make time to reflect on the Learning Circle itself, how participants felt about it and what had they learned. We agreed that uncertainties are to be expected when working on collaborative projects, that daring to dream ‘big’ can broaden our horizons and new interdisciplinary relationships can foster fresh learning, creativity and ideas when it comes to CERL.   As the session finished and we all went our separate ways for Christmas, I think it’s safe to say there was an air of excitement and anticipation about moving into 2022 with more confidence about starting and further developing CERL within TU Dublin programmes and modules. As facilitators we are thankful to be part of a Learning Circle with participants who generously shared their reflections during this session some of which informed this blog.