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  • Writer's pictureAnnie Pendrey

Me In a Box

It has taken me years to become the highly reflective individual I am today and a perfectly imperfect one at that! I am still on my continuous reflective journey.

As the new academic year begins and we welcome students to their reflective journey, I wanted to share with you how you can support students to begin recording their reflections and discover their perfectly imperfect selves.

My fascination and passion for reflection began when I was given a reflective module to teach and when I entered the room, the students appeared unmotivated and even a little bored! One of them said ‘reflection is boring’ whilst another said ‘I just don’t get it’. Supporting students to engage in refection and to see the interrelationship between reflection and theory and their professional practice became my mission.

At the time, I was studying for my Advanced Teacher Status, and I had to consider a research project and it presented itself to me with this set of students. My research can be found published in

From my investigation into how I could enthuse students with creative pedagogical approaches to reflection started with a pre reflection activity – ‘Me in a Box’.

In my Little Book of Reflective Practice, I introduce you to the activity and how I feel that this set of students needed to discover who they were as individuals first before they could begin to understand reflection. Teaching reflective theory alone, I believe, is not effective until our students understand and appreciate who they are as individuals and then as practitioners.

Giving them time to reflect upon who they are as individuals and time to reflect upon their personal and professional values will lead them towards the path of reflective practice. The path where as tutors, we can begin to introduce reflective theory and invite our students to begin to see and feel the interrelationship between reflective theory and their professional practice.

This reflective journey can be fun, and it can be creative, and, in this activity, I use objects to evoke reflections and create links to their role as future practitioners.

‘Me in a Box is a creative and fun thing to create in your pre-reflection and a process you should revisit throughout your reflective journey’ (Pendrey, 2022, p.20).

Head over to the resources page to download the Me in The Box template.

Moreover, I have used this activity with qualified practitioners, so you may wish to use this reflective activity with your team. It was during Covid-19 that I was fortunate enough to work online with a set of practitioners, who like us all, had witnessed a dramatic change in how we worked with our children and their families. We adapted this activity slightly and I asked the practitioners to collect objects that they felt represented themselves as practitioners and we used this in a professional, reflective discussion.

The reflections were personal and powerful. One Me in a Box from a Nursery Manager led to a reflective discussion as her collection of items were entitled, ‘Between a Rock and a Hard Place’. Torn between a rock and a hard place was exactly how she felt during this unprecedented time when doors were closed to parents and children still needed our hugs and professional love. A reflective discussion took place where there was evidence of her reflective activism, evidence of being an agent of change all captured with a set of objects.

My Little Book of Reflective Practice offers a wealth of ideas to encourage students to be curious, reflective, and courageous. I continue to research, write, and publish my reflective work, should you wish to join me in this journey or listen to my work please contact me.

Happy reflecting,


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