descrptive

Time for Reflection

Decorative

Reflective writing is a fundamental part of my professional practice. Both as a Lecturer and as a HR Professional I am required to reflect on my practice. Taking that reflection a step further, I intend to use my blog to encourage that reflection in others, hopefully including my students in their learning.

So how am I going to make this happen?

As they are learning, I need to lead by example. It’s fine saying to a class that they must be reflective, express their own opinions and think about their learning. I believe it will be more effective to lead by example and share my reflections with them through my blog.

When I started this blog back in the summer I thought it would primarily be a way of me sharing my thoughts etc. I hadn’t really considered how it could be more interactive – a two-way conversation between my reader and myself. I want to develop this aspect and encourage engagement; inviting commentary. If my students are really going to maximise their learning, I want them to engage with me … but also with each other and the wider blogging community.

Why reflection is important for students

Reflection is important as it encourages the students to think about what they’re learning, rather than simply accepting everything at face value. I want them to question everything and form their own opinions and ideas. I encourage them to challenge what is said in the classroom, so this blog should be no different.

The act of reflection should also assist them in develop critical thinking skills which will help them both academically, and long term, professionally.

Many professional bodies require their members to engage in reflective practice and complete CPD logs annually; this tied together with employers’ continued use of some form of professional/personal development planning and recording as part of performance management systems means that the students are developing skills and habits that will be beneficial to them after completion of their studies.

The Dilemma inherent in using my blog as a teaching aid

Despite my belief that using the blog will benefit my students and hopefully a wider audience, I am concerned about a dilemma I see. In my teaching I have always tried to be impartial, to present both sides of an argument without taking sides or expressing my own opinion whereas a blog contains my reflections and is the expression of my own ideas. If I want to encourage reflection and the development of critical thinking skills, then I hope to use my blog to encourage reflection and the development of critical thinking skills, then I hope to use my blog to encourage discussion and the expression of alternative opinions.

On reflection, I can still put across the various viewpoints, but then provide my arguments to support my own opinions, modelling the critical thinking skills I’m hopefully encouraging my students to develop.

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14 comments

  1. An interesting post, Brenda. I wonder whether the parameters and understanding of reflective practice have changed with the expansion of social media. It seems that information happens at a much quicker pace than in previous generations and, is the brain changing to adapt with this? I have noticed that I have to sometimes battle to keep my concentration on one thing for an extended period of time, these days.

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    • I agree, there is an issue with getting students to focus for any length of time. But I think its like everything, practice and give them something that engages them

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  2. Thanks for your post, Brenda and cheers to the power of reflection! I appreciate what Macalder02 said above — “without reflection, there is no understanding of what has been studied.” Agree! For me, time to reflect is where I ‘make meaning’ of things. Oh — and I hope you got some sleep, Brenda! 😉

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  3. Thank you macalder. Yes, things have changed a lot since I was in school. Although I do find that the students coming straight from school seem to expect to be spoon fed, encouraging them to think for themselves is sometimes a challenge, but using questions in class to encourage reflection does help. Teaching them that it’s ok to question the theories etc I teach

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  4. Times have changed in education today and rote learning has been losing validity in education. Without reflection, there is no understanding of what has been studied. I’m sorry for your insomnia. You have a good day.

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  5. Thanks Stuart. I’m suffering insomnia tonight so doing quite a bit of reflecting. But I agree, it’s important to reflect so we can learn from our experience and consider ways to make improvements. So encouraging students to reflect on their learning, hopefully it will help them engage with their learning and embed that learning more.

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  6. You are a good teacher, for sure. As someone who grew up in Malaysia, all I had for education was rote learning. No reflection, no thinking for yourself, just spitting out everything you’ve memorised. As Socrates said, a life not reflected on is not worth living. Thanks for this, Brenda!

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