Consultation and Reflective Practice

The BSC is committed to promoting a culture of reflection in the service of learning, growth, and development.  Consultation and Reflective Practice provides occasions for students, faculty, and staff to reflect upon the assumptions, beliefs, values, and mindsets that inform and influence the choices we make in our work.

Consultation

BSC academic counselors provide consultation to the Harvard community -- including students, instructors, teaching fellows, coaches, administrators, leaders and members of student organizations, and staff members -- on any issue related to students’ learning and development.  For example:

  • A resident tutor might seek consultation about a student in their entryway who is experiencing writer’s block.
  • An athletic team might seek consultation about how to handle within-team comparison and competition.
  • A student organization might request a consultation about leadership, overcommitment, or challenging group dynamics.
  • A faculty member might seek consultation about how to help students become more engaged and effective readers.
  • a TF might seek consultation about a student whose performance is widely inconsistent in class discussion vs. on tests.

Reflective Practice

BSC academic counselors facilitate reflective discussions on a one-time or ongoing basis.  For example, they facilitate regular meetings of the BSC Peer Tutor Fellows and the BSC ESL Peer Consultants to reflect on their work.  They provide on-request trainings to student peer groups (such as the PAFs, DAPAs, and Honor Council members) and to campus staff (such as resident tutors, proctors, and faculty/TFs) on topics such as

  • Cognitive/Intellectual/Ethical Development in the College YearsWhat does work in the fields of neuroscience and developmental psychology tell us about how college/university students’ brains and sense-making are developing during this period in their lives? What do faculty, residence staff, and others see as implications for their work with students?
  • Time Management – How do we reckon with the challenges of time/task/attention management to live fulfilling and balanced (enough) lives?
  • Learning with a Bilingual Mind – How do cognitive processes of bilingualism both challenge and enhance the learning experience for bilingual students?
  • Boundaries and Limits – How are we mindful of boundaries and limits – e.g., with regard to time, role, and privacy -- in our various roles in our lives?
  • Living and Learning with a Growth Mindset – Drawing on the work of Carol Dweck and others, how do we approach life and learning with a “growth” vs. “fixed” mindset?  What might be the implications, for example, regarding our receptivity to learning from experience, weathering mistakes and failures, perfectionism, or fear of being exposed as an imposter?
  • Responding to ConflictHow can we respond constructively to student conflicts and breakdowns in communication?
  • Co-Creating Community: Listening, Learning, and Embracing Differencesinteractive discussion on bridging differences and building community. How do we greet opportunities and challenges that come with living and learning in a diverse academic setting? (This workshop will likely be co-facilitated with other College office/s)
  • Intellectual Engagement – In an environment full of competing priorities and many diversions, how can we and our students engage with intellectual pursuits and the life of the mind? How do we and our students approach seemingly fundamental elements of learning and scholarship -- reading, writing, research, and problem sets -- with curiosity, vitality, and acceptance of the time and commitment that competence-building takes?
  • Innovation and Failure – Why are mistakes and failures critical to success? And how can we use them to pivot toward innovation and creative disruption?
  • Dissonance, Dialogue, Depth, and Discovery – How do we listen for and attend to instances of dissonance or unsettledness – within the self, in our intellectual and creative work, and in our relationships with one another and with our community -- that signal the need for curiosity and for a sort of dialogue or process that promotes a depth of understanding and cultivates the potential for transformative discovery?
  • Difficult Conversations – How can we consider and use factors such as timing, language, and our own interpersonal style to broach difficult conversations and to help them be constructive?
  • The Art of the Referral – Making a referral is often not just a matter of giving someone information about a resource but also a matter of talking with that person about their authentic readiness or unreadiness to make use of the referral or take steps toward change of some sort. Drawing upon case examples and our own experience of giving and receiving referrals to various resources, what can we learn about the nature of conversations that can make referrals more or less effective?

To schedule a consultation or training, or to inquire about the possibility of creating or participating in an ongoing reflective practice group, please contact the BSC:  617-495-2581; bsc@harvard.edu.

Helpful resources: