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Reflection by Business and Management Students: a Dull Mirror?. Paul Dennison Teaching Fellow in the Business School. Reflection by Business and Management Students: a Dull Mirror?. In this session I intend to:

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Reflection by Business and Management Students: a Dull Mirror?


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    1. Reflection by Business and Management Students: a Dull Mirror? Paul DennisonTeaching Fellow in the Business School

    2. Reflection by Business and Management Students: a Dull Mirror? In this session I intend to: • Report on a small scale study about Business School staff perceptions and attitudes to reflection • Critically examine two authors most frequently cited in connection with reflection and reflective practice • Briefly discuss the value of reflection in teaching and learning

    3. 21 Questions on Reflection as a tool for Teaching & Learning A pilot study of interviews (10) with Business School staff to gather information about: • How/where students are required to demonstrate reflection in the curriculum? • What preparation or training did students get to prepare them? • Which authors/theories underpin the inclusion of reflection? • Whether staff had undertaken/undertake written reflection themselves? • The rationale for including reflection. What use? What relevance? What value?

    4. Findings: Courses, Referents, size Course Referent Guide length CPD (CIPD) CPD Learning Log 4000 words PPD2 (SMS2) Pieces of reflection 3x2000 words PUD (MBA) Reflective Portfolio 8x500 words PPD2(Man2) Learning Journal 800 words Strategy (MA) Reflective Report 250 words MIS (2) Reflective Report 500 words PCM (2) Critical Reflection 500 words Strat Fin Man (3) R on presentations 300 words

    5. Findings: Courses, grading, weight Course Grading Weighting CPD(CIPD) Full 100% PPD2 (SMS2) Full 100% PUD (MBA) Full 100% PPD2(Man2) Full 15% Strategy (MA) Full 10% MIS (2) Some 10% PCM (2) Some 5% Strat Fin Man (3) Pass / fail Part of 15%

    6. Findings: Staff attitudes to & teaching of… Do you undertake written reflection yourself? Have you ever been assessed on a reflective piece? What preparation given to students? How seriously do students take the reflective task?

    7. Findings: Staff attitudes to & teaching of… • Do you undertake written reflection yourself? 2 out of 10 said YES • Have you ever been assessed on a reflective piece? • What preparation given to students? • How seriously do students take the reflective task?

    8. Findings: Staff attitudes to & teaching of… • Do you undertake written reflection yourself? 2 out of 10 said YES • Have you ever been assessed on a reflective piece? 9 out of 10 said YES: MBA, MA(Ed), PGCE, FHEA • What preparation given to students? • How seriously do students take the reflective task?

    9. Findings: Staff attitudes to & teaching of… • Do you undertake written reflection yourself? 2 out of 10 said YES • Have you ever been assessed on a reflective piece? also reflective practice: Course evaluation, Appraisal • What preparation given to students? • How seriously do students take the reflective task?

    10. Findings: Staff attitudes to & teaching of… • Do you undertake written reflection yourself? 2 out of 10 said YES • Have you ever been assessed on a reflective piece? also reflective practice: Course evaluation, Appraisal • What preparation given to students? A spectrum: General advice in course handbook <-> 50% of course • How seriously do students take the reflective task?

    11. Findings: Staff attitudes to & teaching of… • How seriously do students take the reflective task? • Great variation in approach by students • 3 reported < 5% or 10% actually engage “seriously” - most do it because required or in a formulaic way • 2 reported international students have more difficulty with reflection – opening up • Easy to pick up and discourage “satisficing”

    12. Findings: Grading criteria • Openness – admission of error, doubt or difficulty • Insight into Self – self-awareness • Insight into Others – group dynamics, interactions • Authenticity • Compliance (presence & word-length) • Enthusiasm, opinions, openness : Triangulation between these • Focus on the process of skills development • (Stage 0) Simple narration – (Stage 1) Relating to previous experiences – (Stage 2) Identifying learning and it could be applied in future

    13. Findings: theoretical underpinnings • Main authors referred to:Kolb (6 times) Schön (4 times) • Other sources: Johari Cowan Rogers Lewin (Once each) • Textbook sources: Cottrell Megganson & Whitaker • Internet: Instititute of Reflective Practice

    14. Findings: theoretical underpinnings • Main authors referred to:Kolb (6 times) Schön (4 times) • Other sources: Johari Cowan Rogers Lewin (Once each) • Textbook sources: Cottrell Megganson & Whitaker • Internet: http://www.reflectivepractices.co.uk/cms/index.php

    15. Donald A Schön Ford Professor of Urban Studies and Education, MIT. • David A Kolb Professor in Department of Organisational Behaviour, Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University.

    16. Donald A Schön (1983) The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals think in action, Basic Books Inc. • David A Kolb (1984) • Experiential Learning: Experience as a course of learning and development, Prentice Hall.

    17. Donald A Schön (1983) The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals think in action, Basic Books Inc. (1987) Educating the reflective Practitioner, Josey-Bass Inc. • David A Kolb (1984) • Experiential Learning: Experience as a course of learning and development, Prentice Hall.

    18. David A Kolb (1984) • Experiential Learning: Kolb’s Experiential Learning Theory – supporting LSI – “the Learning Styles Inventory”.

    19. John Dewey (1947) Experiential Learning: Dewey’s model of experiential learning

    20. Jean Piaget (1970) Learning & Cognitive Development: Piaget’s model of learning and cognitive development

    21. Kurt Lewin (1951) Experiential Learning: The “Lewinian” Experiential Learning Model

    22. David A Kolb (1984) • Experiential Learning: Kolb’s Experiential Learning Theory – supporting LSI – “the Learning Styles Inventory”.

    23. Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle:Why it is so influential • Learning from “experience”. Learning by doing. • Grounded in reality – avoids the artificiality of the class-room – vocational. Constructive. • Focuses on the learner – learner-centred. • Empowers the learner – can dispense with “tutor control”. • Mimics true discovery. • Learning as a cycle – iterative. • Has an industry built around it – International Consortium for Experiential Learning lists 19 other organisations – see www.icel.org.uk

    24. Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle:Some criticisms • The cyclical element is problematic – separate sequential stages which iterate • Little evidence that it applies to HE – or elsewhere. • No role for the teacher. Learning without teaching. • Neglects the importance of language in learning – of language in thinking. • Does not distinguish between learning and discovery.

    25. Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle:Some criticisms So where would you expect to find learning by doing? • The cyclical element is problematic – separate sequential stages which iterate • Little evidence that it applies to HE – or elsewhere. • No role for the teacher. Learning without teaching. • Neglects the importance of language in learning – of language in thinking. • Does not distinguish between learning and discovery.

    26. In Sport! Can’t learn sport without doing sport • Trainers and coaches are everywhere and everywhere valued. • Role of the trainer or coach is pivotal. • Setting the agenda • Providing feedback • Giving an expert’s perspective • The learner receives and intreprets verbal advice while engaged in the action – learning in two ways simultaneously.

    27. Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle:A Sporting Example You probably remember this man?

    28. Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle:A Sporting Example You probably remember this man? 1968 Olympics in Mexico City?

    29. Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle:A Sporting Example You probably remember this man? 1968 Olympics in Mexico City? New world record?

    30. Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle:A Sporting Example The Fosbury Flop Dick Fosbury

    31. Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle:Some criticisms • The cyclical element is problematic – separate sequential stages which iterate. • Little evidence that it applies to HE – or elsewhere • No role for the teacher. Learning without teaching • Neglects the importance of language in learning – of language in thinking. • Does not distinguish between learning and discovery – though these are vastly different

    32. Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle:Some criticisms The cyclical element is problematic – separate sequential stages which iterate. Little evidence that it applies to HE – or elsewhere – learning “by trial and error” No role for the teacher. Learning without teaching – without agenda or assessment or feedback Neglects the importance of language in learning – of language in thinking - inefficient Does not distinguish between learning and discovery – though these are vastly different

    33. Donald A Schön (1983) The Reflective Practitioner Introduced the concept of reflection-in-action the way in which a professional is required to deal with complex problems, not by the formulae of technical rationality, but by thinking-outside-the-box . He “becomes a researcher in the practice context.” “He reflects on the phenomena before him, on the prior understandings implicit in his behaviours <his expertise>… to generate a new understanding of the phenomenon and change the situation.”

    34. Donald A Schön (1983) The Reflective Practitioner In short – Schön suggest that the professional begins to deploy Creative Problem Solving techniques and skills to extend his understanding by … experimentation …new formulation… improvisation… Largely a reaction against the reductionism of Technical Rationality and the “crisis of confidence” in the professions.

    35. Reflection as a tool for Teaching & Learning Formal reflection for students is… Best done with afterwards, as “considered hindsight”. Develops the mindset of CPD Focuses the student on the skills and knowledge of the task An essential part of becoming a self-directed learner Slows the student down so deep learning is possible Forces the student to structure their thoughts Self-awareness is the beginning of change Confused by assessment, but improved by feedback The habit of reflection is itself valuable

    36. Reflection as a tool for Teaching & Learning Neither of the authors quoted approaches “Reflection” in the way that lecturers understand and value it. Not part of a “learning cycle” Not part of “creative problem solving”. But important. Professionalism depends on assessing oneself and one’s work habitually. David Nichol workshop