Finding Meaning

Our life is shaped by our experiences. To understand them, we must find their meaning and connect that meaning to other experiences. In this process, our understanding of the world is built - our personal Schema.

The process of finding meaning requires reflection. Often, however, we do not give ourselves the time or make the commitment to reflect.

To help with this process, we developed a tool called the 3x3 Reflection.

We started using this tool for interviews of participants in a pilot program we that matched teachers up with industry agilists, called the Agile Partnership Program.

We used this tool to understand why this program had clearly such deep meaning for the participants. As we did, we began to realize how powerful the tool was to help uncover the emotions deeply embedded in each of their experiences - emotions that, when woven together, helped us understand the deeper meaning of that personal story. For example, The Meaning of Words.

Jami then took this tool and began to introduce it to her teachers and students at Dayton to help them better understand the underlying personal meaning of different learning experiences.


Jami had her teachers each do a 3x3 Reflection of their self-directed Personalized Professional Learning (PPL) sprint.

These sprints were different for each teacher. She wanted to find out if they might be able to better understand the insights from these 3 week Learning Sprints. They completed a 3x3 Reflection on their own and then shared their insights with another teacher.

According to Jami, it was an amazing experience. Each of the teachers were able to find the emotional threads that guided them to a deeper understanding of the meaning of their learning experience. And then, by sharing these insights with others, they were able to find commonalities, despite vast differences in the sprint topics.

Apparently, the buzz in the room was palpable as the teachers shared with each other their Deeper Learning.

Blog Squad

Next, Jami introduced this tool to a team of writers for the Innovate Dayton site. These students, are led by a senior who has been using the 3x3 Reflection tool when she has been interviewing teachers and students to capture and write the multitude of stories of innovation that are springing up in their school. Now, freshman are being challenged and equipped to find meaning.