The art of reflection
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The art of reflection. Overview. Writing reflective journals Deepening your reflection Writing reflective assignments. Keeping a reflective journal What should I write about?. Your feelings about the course, tutors, progress to date Think about the challenges and difficulties

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The art of reflection

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The art of reflection

The art of reflection


Overview

Overview

  • Writing reflective journals

  • Deepening your reflection

  • Writing reflective assignments


Keeping a reflective journal what should i write about

Keeping a reflective journalWhat should I write about?

  • Your feelings about the course, tutors, progress to date

  • Think about the challenges and difficulties

  • Your strategies for overcoming these

  • Things you discover about yourself

  • Thoughts about how you learn best

  • How the different areas of your study are connected

  • How your studies relate to real life/experiences

  • Any questions/observations that need clarification


Which of these two samples do you think is better why

Which of these two samples do you think is better? Why?

Sample A

In the seminar break today, Mary was talking and I wanted to say something. She had been talking for a few minutes already and I hadn’t said anything. I was interested in what she was saying but then just interrupted. It was a simple mistake. I didn’t mean to upset her. Mary carried on talking for a moment and then decided to stop. She looked angry. Everybody just looked at me as if I was in the wrong. I didn’t even talk for very long. Peter said I had an interesting point. Then we went back in the seminar and Mary avoided looking at me all the way through.

Sample B

Today was useful as I realised I am still interrupting people when they are talking. I cut right across Mary today in the seminar break. I realise this was not very skilful or considerate. Mary looked annoyed. I just ignored this at the time because I was embarrassed. It would have been better to have apologised as soon as I realised. I will next session. I have to take more care not to burst in when other people are talking. Maybe I could ask Joe and Ali to point it out to me for a while so I notice it more.


Deepening your reflection questions to ask yourself

Deepening your reflection: Questions to ask yourself

  • What happened?

  • What were you thinking and feeling?

  • What was good and bad about the experience?

  • What sense can you make of the situation?

  • What else could you have done?

  • If it arose again, what would you do?


Gibbs model of reflection 1988

Gibbs’ model of reflection (1988)


Reflection involves

Reflection involves…

  • an exploration and an explanation of events – not just a description of them.

  • ‘revealing’ anxieties, errors and weaknesses, as well as strengths and successes. This is fine (in fact it’s often essential!), as long as you show some understanding of possible causes, and explain how you plan to improve.

  • Selecting just the most significant If you try to ‘tell the whole story’ you’re likely to use up your words on description rather than interpretation.

  • ‘Reflecting forward’ to the future as well as ‘reflecting back’ on the past. What would you do differently next time?


Turning a reflective journal into a reflective assignment

Turning a reflective journal into a reflective assignment

  • Reflective thinking can be very ‘free’ and unstructured and still be useful.

  • Reflective journals are also often unstructured

  • But…

    In assignments that require reflective writing, tutors normally expect to see carefully-structured writing.


The art of reflection

Specific tasks were shared out amongst members of my team. Initially, however, the tasks were not seen as equally difficult by all team members. Cooperation between group members was at risk because of this perception of unfairness. Social interdependence theory recognises a type of group interaction called ‘positive interdependence’, meaning cooperation (Johnson & Johnson, 1993, cited by Maughan & Webb, 2001), and many studies have demonstrated that “cooperative learning experiences encourage higher achievement” (Maughan & Webb, 2001). Ultimately, our group achieved a successful outcome, but to improve the process, we perhaps needed a chairperson to help encourage cooperation when tasks were being shared out. In future group work, on the course and at work, I would probably suggest this.


An example of structure in reflective writing

An example of structure in reflective writing

  • Description

    • What happened?

    • What is being examined?

  • Interpretation

    • What is most important / interesting / useful / relevant about the object, event or idea?

    • How can it be explained e.g. with theory?

    • How is it similar to and different from others?

  • Outcome

    • What have I learned from this?

    • What does this mean for my future?


  • The art of reflection

    Specific tasks were shared out amongst members of my team. Initially, however, the tasks were not seen as equally difficult by all team members. Cooperation between group members was at risk because of this perception of unfairness. Social interdependence theory recognises a type of group interaction called ‘positive interdependence’, meaning cooperation (Johnson & Johnson, 1993, cited by Maughan & Webb, 2001), and many studies have demonstrated that “cooperative learning experiences encourage higher achievement” (Maughan & Webb, 2001). Ultimately, our group achieved a successful outcome, but to improve the process, we perhaps needed a chairperson to help encourage cooperation when tasks were being shared out. In future group work, on the course and at work, I would probably suggest this.


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