‘Noticing’ is a concept developed by John Mason.
‘Noticing’ is a practice which is integral to successful critical reflective practice.
The development of ‘noticing’ begins with a recognition that as an individual you are ‘not noticing’. We all become caught up in the everyday patterns and routines of our practice and whilst these remain largely successful we can fail to realise that we are slipping from unconscious competence into unconscious incompetence; to a point where we are not performing as well as we used to, or could do.
The trigger to begin noticing might be a ‘near miss’ which brings us up short or a comment from a client or a colleague. However, by incorporating ‘noticing’ into your own reflection, the practitioner can become proactive and move on towards conscious competence.
The process of intentional noticing begins internally with the individual but can move to involve colleagues and potentially whole teams.
Begin by keeping an account of not just what you notice in terms of happenings, situations and incidents, but also your internal reaction to them. As you build up a stock of material you will be able to identify threads and patterns to your reactions which will indicate areas for change. At this point you could use a supervision session or 1:1 to talk your findings through or press on alone. Either way, you should then identify a choice for action from a set of alternatives and ‘notice’ what difference or otherwise this new approach makes.
As your skill in ‘noticing’ increases, 2 developments will occur; you will be able to process and prioritise your observations more swiftly and ‘mark’ some notices for deeper analysis. Secondly, you will become more adept at imagining possible alternatives and how these might be tested. Once again, it may be helpful to use these marked notices and courses of action as the basis for a supervision session etc.
As time passes you will have accumulated a good deal of evidence of improvement which can be shared with a wider set of colleagues, perhaps in a team meeting. Begin by giving an account of what you noticed, followed by an account for what you noticed. This build will allow you to test your perspective with a range of views and for you to make a more considered response to what you ‘notice’.
Noticing is then an aid to both individual and team development.