In order to facilitate greater levels of critical reflection in my colleagues and students, I’m aware that I may need to model it in a highly explicit way that is both transparent and effective in the outputs it produces, e.g. clear goals for moving forward. My critical reflections are currently in the mode of blog posts on this very blog and don’t particularly take any one set format for how write or why but tend to be very informal reflections on what I am learning and thinking about and how I could use it in my future teaching and learning. What if I were to adopt a particular scaffold, model or format for my blog posts that are intended to be critical reflections on something? What would that look like?
Curating lots of research and resources over the last few weeks on critical reflection and models of reflection has culminated in a Pinterest board of many different diagrams that outline the work of such researchers as Gibbs (1988), Kolb (1984), Dewey (1938), Schon (1983), Eby (1992) and many more adaptions from work of other educators and philosophers. Reflecting on these models, I might adapt one or more to help shape my blog posts more effectively.
Gibbs’ (1988) model of reflective practice initiates the following 6 steps: description, feelings, evaluation, analysis, conclusion and a question about future iterations. To expand on these steps, the description is specifically based on an event or episode so it could be that I might reflect on a particular lesson at school or professional development session. The second step is to reflect on the feelings generated during said event or episode, as well as to consider the thoughts that went with those feelings. If it was a particularly difficult lesson where everything went wrong then I would probably be feeling frustrated and thinking ‘there has to be a more effective way of doing this’. The process would continue to be scaffolded by this model and the questions it poses, but my question is, does it prompt my thinking and critical reflection enough?
Schon (1983) is even more simplified than Gibbs (1988) so I’m not sure that it would be sufficient enough as a scaffold for myself or my students, however, it is possible that it may work as a foundational stepping stone in developing more detailed consideration of stages in critical reflection. I could utilise the three stages emphasised in Schon’s model in the first few lessons on critical reflection with students and then progress to another model that facilitates more depth in the reflections.
Healey and Jenkins (2000) outline how Kolb’s experiential learning theory can be applied as a model for critical reflection and what I found particularly useful and practically applying the model was the set of questions for each stage that the authors used in their discussion paper. The summary of this can be seen in Figure 4 of the discussion paper and it is especially effective in its breakdown of pre-experience, within experiences, post-experience and consideration of substitute experiences. I think this is a model I would love to use when doing action research cycles or critical reflection for a very specific purpose but it may be too much for the classroom.
There is still much work to be done in order to assist my colleague and students in becoming reflective practitioners and learners, however, studying critical reflection alongside organisational theories is proving very valuable in equipping me with the skills to integrate more scaffolds and plans for reflective practice.
Healey, M. & Jenkins, A. (2000) Kolb’s Experiential Learning Theory and Its Application in Geography in Higher Education, Journal of Geography, 99, pp.185-195
Kodesia, S. (2013, August 16). JCU Workplace Educators Resource Package: Reflective Practice. Retrieved April 12, 2014, from James Cook Univeristy Australia: http://www.jcu.edu.au/wiledpack/modules/fsl/JCU_090342.html
Schön, D. (1983) The Reflective Practitioner. New York: Basic Books