MLA 2012: Naikan Technique

Using the Naikan Technique for Reflective Professional Development

Julie Zamostny
Staff Development Coordinator, Western Maryland Regional Library, Hagerstown, MD

  • Exercise involving taking some instructions to draw things on a piece of paper with eyes closed.
  • Everyone hears the same things but we interpret them differently.
  • What is self reflection? Audience: Honesty with yourself, sense of process & work out the kinks, awareness of how you think, grounding – have a moment to consider where you were, time to see the relationships & connections, chance to think about how you’ll use the info.
  • Meaning making
  • Think – Pair – Share: your self-reflective habits. Audience: walking, driving, on the plane, in the shower, talking to others.
  • Reflection points for some of us are when you’re forced into your own head b/c there’s no external stimuli.
  • Naikan Technique – 1940s Ishin Yoshimoto (Japan) – practicing buddhist. Difficult for people to reflect & so created an easy technique. Flexible – reflect on anything. Professional, personal, particular event, time span.
  • Recommends¬†Naikan: Gratitude, Grace, and the Japanese Art of Self-Reflection, Gregg Krech
  • Three questions: What have a I received from this? What have I given to it? What troubles did I contribute?
  • Received/contributed: could be a gift, observable, not observable, material, immaterial.
  • Troubles: hardest time wrapping our head around. “I didn’t mean to, I apologized.” No judgement, just recognizing.
  • How do we reflect without putting ourselves down? Troubles & difficulties aren’t necessarily about right & wrong. Just what was the impact of that thing I did. Thinking outside of your own experience – what other people are experiencing outside of your own experience.
  • As you do this more often, you can see patterns. Then reflect on the reflections – what’s going on here? Do I need to change something?
  • Now applying this to the conference as a whole group