Glossary: S


In reflective practice, self-evaluation is a process by which accompaniment providers recognize strengths and weaknesses in the way they prepare, conduct, analyze, and adjust interventions, and in the way they guide others to do the same. Self-evaluation is “an evaluation or . . . critical reflection on the qualitative value of ideas, work, situations, steps, procedures, processes, and skills based on criteria determined by the learner” (Paquette.1988 [translation]). For self-evaluation to be meaningful and engender changes in practice, keeping a reflection or accompaniment journal to clarify one's self-evaluation process and sharing notes with colleagues are good ways to strengthen reflective practice (Saint-Pierre, 2004). People can also self-evaluate prior to observing themselves in action, for example by rating in advance their ability to perform a given task. After performing the task, they can review their self-evaluation for accuracy. In short, self-evaluation is useful in the accompaniment process because it enables participants to take a closer look at how they prepare, take action, and perform when in action, as well as carry out a synthesis or provide feedback afterwards.

To sum up, self-evaluation provides an opportunity to judge one's work. It can be performed individually, but can also be combined with co-evaluation to obtain feedback from colleagues or accompaniment providers. Self-evaluation can be carried out using question sheets to be completed at different phases of the intervention or accompaniment process. Questions can be open-ended or come with a choice of check-box answers (e.g., “not a all,” “a little,” “somewhat,” “a lot”). To make the reflection as comprehensive as possible, justification may be requested. Self-evaluation can be performed prior to action. Once a task is completed, reviewing the self-evaluation allows the person to compare initial and final perceptions (for further explanation, see Lafortune, 2008a,b).

Shared vision of change

A shared vision of change is the representation constructed by a group of people over the course of the change accompaniment process. From a socioconstructivist perspective, it is difficult to achieve a vision founded on a shared understanding because people construct their representations based on their own experiences, prior learning, and competencies, but also because they have followed different paths and developed different expertise than their colleagues. However, the accompaniment process can help build a shared vision, or at least bring people closer together by enabling them to appreciate the visions of others as they work together to implement a change. Sharing a vision means discussing conceptions of the change and debating and comparing ideas and visions. It is an important step, even if the visions discussed are different from one's own, diametrically opposed, or even disturbing (Lafortune and Lepage, 2007).

On occasion, some people may be unable to fully grasp the vision supported by the majority of their colleagues. They may only agree to it in part, or even find it difficult to work in the same direction or at the same pace as everybody else. Such disparities should not go unacknowledged, because they are preferable to a “forced” consensus to which people pay lip service, but ignore in their professional acts and activities.

The construction of a shared vision requires keeping an open mind about different visions of change. The change to be implemented may not necessarily match the idea of each individual. In order to adopt or take ownership of the change, people engage in a learning and regulation process that can lead them, through their contacts with others or with the content of the change, to alter their conceptions or revisit their practices. This regulation process continues in a loop since it is continuously fueled by new information, but also by the way in which people understand change and its impact on their work life.

Socioconstructivist accompaniment of a change process focused on updating professional practices

The accompaniment of a process of change is a support measure related to a given field of expertise. Individuals use a model of professional practice to accompany staff affected by a change in order to help them build knowledge of the change and develop accompaniment competencies. The model of practice may differ from one person to the next, but is consistent with the foundations, goals, and subgoals of the change. Accompaniment providers share and discuss their representations of the change with accompanied staff. These discussions may alter the providers' perceptions and require them to adjust to the situation, just as their perceptions will influence the representations and models of practice of those being accompanied. Accompaniment implies knowledge of the foundations, goals, and subgoals of the change that has been—or is being—integrated into the accompaniment provider's model of practice. This model guides the professional decisions and acts made and performed by the provider to foster staff involvement and provide support and guidance.

The socioconstructivist perspective adopted here assumes that accompanied staff structure their knowledge about the change and develop accompaniment skills through their interactions with the accompaniment provider and their peers. As part of this process, staff compare their views of change and adjust their models of practice by observing, examining, and analyzing individual and collective representations of the change. At the same time, they consider the model of practice recommended for the change. Interaction creates (socio)cognitive conflicts and generates newfound awareness of constructed representations. Participants reflect, ask questions, make observations, construct new representations through action, and ascribe meaning to the change they want to understand in order to take ownership. When these interactions are significant, they can transform the representations and the models of practice of the accompanied person. Complementarity of personnel and expertise enriches the process, which takes on the form of a true partnership. Accompaniment takes different individual dimensions into account: cognitive, metacognitive, affective, and social (after Lafortune and Deaudelin, 2001). With respect to content, accompaniment combines theory, practice, reflection, and action in an integrated, complementary manner. Socioconstructivist accompaniment requires a knowledge culture associated with the foundations of change as manifested in five components: attitudes, knowledge, strategies, skills, and experiences. It also involves developing and using skills that encourage accompaniment leadership (inspired by Lafortune and Martin, 2003; for additional explanations, see Lafortune, 2008a).


Synthesis—the product of comparing and contrasting ideas—is an interpretation by individuals or members of a group that draws on individual and collective reflections. It takes inspiration from and speaks to a diversity of viewpoints, but not necessarily all viewpoints. Its content is structured, and often organized in an original manner. Individuals carrying out a synthesis select ideas, establish connections, and organize information hierarchically in keeping with their understanding and interpretation of the matter at hand. They may decide to eliminate aspects that do not dovetail with the proposal or request, or add new ones to make the synthesis more meaningful. Their models of practice (training and experience) will influence the aspects they deal with in preparing the synthesis by serving as a sort of interpretation guide. Their models of practice are among the available resources on which they can construct new knowledge about change.

Some might see the comparing and contrasting of ideas as an obstacle to synthesis because of the different, even opposing ideas that can emerge. A synthesis based on group interactions may represent the group's ideas or values, but perhaps not the ideas and values of each individual member of the group. The results are not necessarily integrated into the process, but may instead be used for group questioning and for fostering new awareness. A synthesis is a way to organize information at a particular moment; clarify or explain one's understanding of a situation, process, or subject; and situate oneself and one's thoughts and understanding about a given situation. It can also help accompaniment providers gain insight into the individuals or groups they accompany, see where they stand on change, and understand their comprehension of change and the way they tie it in to their professional practice (for further explanation, see Lafortune, 2008a,b).


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