What is critical reflection?
How can it be fostered in the classroom?
Good reasons for incorporating reflection into your own practice
How can critical reflection be applied?
The African Universities Research Approaches (AURA) programme, fosters shared learning across partner institutions. Participants on a learning programme are encouraged to reflect, ask questions and draw on concepts that can help to understand learning in their own practice. Participants are introduced to an experiential learning model developed by Kolb, 1984, to identify, investigate, reflect on and report on a learning dimension of their work. The ORID questioning process which is based on the Kolb’s experiential learning cycle allows participants to apply simple steps that supports their thinking in a critically reflective manner. The steps / framework outlined can assist the reflective writing process.
- (Analysing) Analyse how it made you feel? “I feel…”
- (Evaluating) What did you conclude from this experience? “I concluded…”
- (Creating) What will you do differently now? “I will do… in the future”.
Through describing a critical incident arising from the practice learning environment the participant is able to make sense of what has been shared. During an AURA learning intervention, learners engage in a reflective practice within group and facilitated online discussions pre- and post- the face-to-face intervention and encouraged to continue reflective writing when away from the learning environment. Reflective writing enables learners to pursue the critical reflections on a deeper level and confront the challenge of explaining their research ideas. During the online and face-to-face interventions reflections underpinned their understanding of theory and course content and to link experience and knowledge.
Why is critical reflection important to an educator?
Brookfield, S. 1995. What it means to be a Critically Reflective Teacher in “Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher,” San Francisco Jossey-Bass.
Brookfield, S.D. 1990. Using critical incidents to explore learners’ assumptions. In pages 177-193 of J. Mezirow (Ed).
Brookfield, S. 1988. Developing Critically Reflective Practitioners: A Rationale for Training Educators of Adults. Training Educators of Adults: The Theory and Practice of Graduate Adult Education. S. Brookfield, Editor. New York: Routledge.
Cranton, P. 1996. Professional Development as Transformative Learning: New Perspectives for Teachers of Adults. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.
Kolb, D. A. 1984. Experiential Learning Experience as the Source of Learning and Development. Prentice Hall Inc. Englewood Cliff, New Jersey. USA. Retrieved from the AURA programme course material.
How to be critical when reflecting on your teaching (2015). Retrieved on 23 November http://www.open.edu/openlearn/education/learning-teach-becoming-reflective-practitioner/content-section-2.1
Learning through Reflection (2015). Retrieved on 23 November http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/hrd/development/reflection.html
Myrtle Adams-Gardner is the Training Quality Coordinator representing the South for the African Universities’ Research Approaches programme. She is experienced in mentoring and coaching, pedagogies and assessments of learning. She has been involved in the development of capacity development programmes promoting teaching and learning capabilities in Sub-Saharan Africa.