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Learning Journals and Reflective Thinking: An Enquiry-Based Approach Aberdeen University 7 th July 2006. Dr George Allan BSc MA(Ed) PhD FBCS FNZCS CEng CITP MIMIS MILT MIEEE University of Portsmouth School of Computing. Buckingham Building Lion Terrace, Portsmouth PO1 3HE

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Learning Journals and Reflective Thinking: An Enquiry-Based Approach Aberdeen University


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    1. Learning Journals and Reflective Thinking: An Enquiry-Based Approach Aberdeen University 7th July 2006

    2. Dr George Allan BSc MA(Ed) PhD FBCS FNZCS CEng CITP MIMIS MILT MIEEE University of Portsmouth School of Computing Buckingham Building Lion Terrace, Portsmouth PO1 3HE +44(0)2392 846415 George.Allan@port.ac.uk http://www.tech.port.ac.uk/staffweb/allang/

    3. Workshop Overview • learning journals – their purpose • thinking ―› reflection • cognitive development models • enquiry-based paradigm • reflection ―› critical reflection ―› reflexion • strategies for engaging students

    4. Learning Journal • A learning journal - collection of reflective writings • Reflective writing – manifestation of reflective thinking • What is reflective thinking?

    5. Learning Journal Find and record information + Thinking + Writing = Better thinking

    6. Thinking

    7. Thinking 1 • Recall • descriptive • What purpose does this serve? • How deeply does this engage the brain?

    8. Thinking 2 • Descriptive Recall + some cognitive skills = Reflection Analysis Explanation Interpretation • Description + these cognitive skills = Reflection

    9. Reflection • – a collection of intellectual activities to reach deeper understanding (Boud, Keogh and Walker, 1985) • - the process of discovering the limits of one’s own expertise (Schön, 1983) • - mentally questioning what we understand (Broad, 1924)

    10. Example • What is best practice in management ? • The ‘core’ of best practice in management is making good decisions. • Good decisions rely on good use of resources. • Making good use of resources requires good communications. • Good communications ……..

    11. Reflection • The Kolb cycle • experience • reflect • generalize • test • The Cowan diagram • Reflection for action • Reflection in action • Reflection on action • Modified Cowan diagram

    12. The Student Experience Wisdom: Improved judgement Knowledge: Improved reasoning Learning: Improved ability Training: Task completion

    13. Perry’s Model of Student Cognitive Development • Dualistic thinking • Multiplistic thinking • Relativistic thinking • Commitment

    14. Dualistic thinking • All knowledge is known by the teacher • Every piece of knowledge is either R or W • Your answer is either RIGHT or WRONG • Ask the teacher.

    15. Multiplistic thinking • Diversity of people’s opinions seen as their confusion – not yet arrived at the correct answer. • Accept diversity as legitimate – teacher has not found the correct answer yet. • Uncertainty is legitimate – my opinion is equal to teachers.

    16. Relativistic thinking • Knowledge is seen as contextual • The value of knowledge • Different people’s knowledge – relative to person’s reliability/reputation/worth

    17. Student Work Lecture Session Structure 10 mins Agree next topic to study 10/20 mins Small group discussions on individual work • Whole-class participation • Holistic learning • Short bursts of information • Short bursts of activity • Student engagement Student Work An Enquiry-Based Paradigm

    18. The Reflective Judgement Model King and Kitchener (1990) based on Dewey (1933) and Perry (1970) • Stage 1 – Single Category Belief System • Knowledge is absolute and concrete • Stage 2 – Truth not known to everyone • Some people are right and some are wrong • Stage 3 – Truth is incomplete (yet) • All problems have solutions – some have not yet been found • Stage 4 – Uncertainty in knowing is acknowledged • Attributed to limitations of the knower • Stage 5 – Knowledge is placed in context • Interpretation of evidence • Stage 6 – Knowing involves evaluation • Some people’s views are evaluated as better than others • Stage 7 – Knowledge is constructed via critical enquiry • Synthesis of existing evidence; judgement on worth of evidence

    19. Thinking 2 • Descriptive Recall + some cognitive skills = Reflection Analysis Explanation Interpretation • Description + these cognitive skills = Reflection

    20. Thinking 3 • Reflection + • Reflection + questioning the basis of our analysis = Critical Reflection

    21. Critical Reflection A deeper conceptual thinking process Analysis Explanation Interpretation Inference • Conceptual level

    22. Critical Thinking • Critical Thinking: What It Is and Why It Counts (Facione, 1998) • Cognitive skills of: • Interpretation • Analysis • Evaluation • Inference • Explanation • Self-regulation

    23. Thinking 4 • Think about the thinking • Reflexive – indication that action turns back upon the subject • Reflect on our critical reflection = Reflexion

    24. Thinking 4 Critical Reflection + challenge the validity of presuppositions in own prior learning (Mezirow, 1990) • Critical Reflection + question the assumptions in own mind = Critical Reflexion

    25. Learning Journal Find and record information + Thinking + Writing = Critical reflexion

    26. Learning Journal • Learning journal - collection of reflective writings • Reflective writing – manifestation of reflective thinking • Reflexive thinking

    27. The Relationship between Thinking and Writing

    28. References • Dewey, J., (1910;1933), How We Think, London, Heath & Company • Cowan, J., (1998), On Becoming an Innovative University Teacher, Buckingham, OUP and SRHE • Kitchener, K.S. and King, P.M., (1990), “The Reflective Judgement Model: Transforming Assumptions About Knowing”, in: (J. Mezirow, Ed.), Fostering Critical Reflection in Adulthood, San Francisco, Jossey-Bass • Lukinsky, J., (1990), “Reflective Withdrawal Through Journal Writing”, in: (J. Mezirow, Ed.), Fostering Critical Reflection in Adulthood, San Francisco, Jossey-Bass • Moon, J., (1999a), Learning Journals: A Handbook for Academics, Students and Professional Development, London, Kogan Press • Moon, J., (1999b), Reflection in Learning and Professional Development, Kogan Press, London • Moon, J., (2000), Critical Thinking for Students, 3rd Ed., Oxford, How to Books Ltd. • Perry, W.G., (1970), Forms of Intellectual and Ethical Development in College Years, New York, Holt, Rhinehart & Winston • Perry, W.G., (1999), Forms of Ethical and Intellectual Development in College Years, San Francisco, Jossey-Bass • Rogers, C.R., (1969: 1983), Freedom to Learn for the 80’s, Edinburgh, OU in Scotland

    29. Strategies for Engaging Students with Their Own Learning • Learning by ‘doing’ made them think • Doing what? • Technical enquiry • Record the ‘doing’=Learning Journal

    30. Strategies for Engaging Students • Writing made them think • Critical thinking made them think

    31. Examples • Find something for students to think about and practice the cognitive processes in critical thinking. • Extend this with small-group dialectic.

    32. Dialectic • The art of discussion which seeks to resolve conflict between two or more opposing theories rather than disprove any one of them • That branch of logic which teaches the rules and modes of reasoning

    33. Patience Allow students to make mistakes Let them discover the hard way Then take corrective action through Explanation Example

    34. Strategies for Engaging Students More Examples • What is thinking? • What is Reason? • Write to describe “a coin” from your pocket • What is “QUALITY in thought & statement” • Do we want quality in problem solving?

    35. Strategies for Engaging Students • Spatial Awareness • Draw diagrams • Concept maps • Brain maps

    36. Facilitation of Learning Get students to talk about their findings and raw ideas Promote discussion and extension Encourage discourse Foster dialectic -higher level intellectual process

    37. Strategies for Engaging Students More Examples Write about • what you have been doing since the last entry • Did anything prevent you form any particular work? • What will be your next piece of work?

    38. Learning Journal Find and record information + Thinking + Writing = Critical reflexion

    39. Feedback from students • Learning by ‘doing’ made them think • Record the ‘doing’=Learning Journal • Writing made them think • Critical thinking made them think • Doing what? • Technical enquiry

    40. Linking Learning Journals and Reflexive Thinking George Allan School of Computing Ext. 6415 Burnaby Terrace, Portsmouth PO1 3AE +44(0)2392 846415 George.Allan@port.ac.uk http://www.tech.port.ac.uk/staffweb/allang/