We reflect on current and past events to find meaning and make connections between experience and knowledge. By acknowledging new experiences and the learning opportunity they represent we are able to evolve our perception of what we know. This new learning can then be applied to our decisions, choices and actions.
There are many definitions of Reflective Practice. One that suits the application for this courser well is:
“a generic term for those intellectual and affective activities in which individuals engage to explore their experiences in order to lead to a new understanding and appreciation”
(Boud, 1985 in Mann, et al. 2009)
For example, you may walk out of a class feeling that something went ‘bad’ in the classroom or during a sequence of learning. Using reflective practice, you can think and critically analyse the situation and events to discover a deeper understanding as to why you were left feeling this way.
Within this course, you will be asked to reflect on your practice in a variety of different ways. You will be asked to reflect on how your past experiences may influence the way that you teach and the impact that this may have on the decisions that you make. Understanding the reasons behind your choices can help lead to greater understanding of the unconscious factors influencing your decisions.
In many industries it is important to reflect back on what has happened/ is happening to aid professional learning and growth.
As an individual, professional growth comes with experience and the ability to reflect upon the good, the bad and the ugly.
Regardless of the organisation or discipline of study, reflective practice is also valued by managers and employment personnel as an indicator of an employee's ability to continually improve.
Here are some examples:
A sportsperson, keeping a journal of workouts and competitions:
A scientist, logging their work on an experiment:
There are many types of reflection and models that can be followed. They can roughly be broken up into two categories:
Reflecting IN action
Reflection ON action
Reflection in action occurs during an experience or activity. Here are some examples:
Reflection in action often leads to immediate research to discover answers or to provide additional information on a current area of growth or investigation.
Reflection on action occurs at of an experience or activity, and can help us to incorporate new understanding into our broader knowledge base. Reflections of this type often lead us to question our own thoughts and behaviours and to make decisions regarding our future course of action.
Reflection involves asking very personal questions of ourselves to explore the reasons behind our choices and rationale for our actions. Ask yourself:
One method for making useful reflections is to maintain a reflective journal.
Each course that uses a journal for reflection assessments may have a different format for you to consider. The submission method may also be very different.
Many journals will create an on-going dialogue between the student and their tutor. Comments from the tutor on the first week's entry are considered in the second week, etc.
A critical incident journal may ask a student to focus on the analysis of one particular event from that week. Integration of learned theories and discussion of implications and alternative solutions is expected.
A journal submission could be a hard-copy of notes taken in the field with commentary, an online web page journal through ePortfolios, or an entry within the Moodle shell itself.
Some other ways or capturing reflection activities include:
If you would like to learn more about reflective writing, visit the following site:
There are a number of reflective tools used in various professions. One of the more common tools is Gibbs's Reflective Cycle and is a common framework for reflecting on critical incidences.
Rolfe, Freshwater and Jasper (2001) created a simple model based on three question: What? So what? Now what?
Image is based on Rolfe, G., Freshwater, D., Jasper, M. (2001) Critical reflection in nursing and the helping professions: a user’s guide. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.