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Self-Reflection for Staff Development

Over the last decade, as development strategies have shifted from a product to a process orientation, capacity building for the professional growth of development workers has received more and more attention. The key actors in the field, as well as the policy makers, funders and managers, all view human resource development (HRD) as a focal point of the development approach. As a result, a flurry of training programs and curriculum have emerged to cater to this perceived need. Typically, these approaches are built on the assumption that development workers, especially local ones, are somehow lacking in their ability to cope with the emerging needs in the field of development. prevailing training methods and curriculum often emphasize the expansion of knowledge through the injection of updated information. They often fail to take into consideration the existing knowledge of the person. Field experience suggests that the primary limitation o the HRD strategy is that it ignores the individual development worker's subjective ways of knowing based on their own culturally familiar processes. This staff development module represents one humble initiative to address this limitation. The underlying philosophy of this training module builds on the assumption that each individual development worker is capable of constructing her/his own knowledge. While the approach presented here does not disregard the necessity of adapting information from outside sources, the key focus is on assisting development workers with strategies to explore their own self in a reflective manner. The objective of this reflection is to promote the individual's capacity to incorporate her/his existing knowledge for purposes of planning and problem solving. Although this module is designed to be a guide for creating reflective educational activities for staff development purposes, field experience suggests that it requires creative adaptation in order to adjust to different cultural contexts.
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