Contexts - University of Edinburgh

Report
Reflection and
reflective writing
Chris Doye
Institute for Academic Development
University of Edinburgh
November 2012
What is reflection?
Exploration / examination of ourselves and our actions (often
written but also spoken)
considered
rational, unemotional*
in relation to theory / wider context / other perspectives
Why do it?
to develop understanding / learning / skills
and give us a path by which to move forward
*(even though it often deals with feelings, reactions and emotions)
The basics:
Experience
Action
Reflection
Borton’s (1970) cue questions:
What?
(Cited in Jasper, 2003, p.99)
Now
what?
So
what?
What does that mean?
What?
Describing event
or process
Future goals and
actions
Thinking and
analysis
Now
what?
So
what?
Drawing
conclusions
Contexts and purposes
• Episode / experience/ process
Short/specific e.g. lesson we have taught, procedure we
have carried out
Longer process e.g. project work, group work, course,
client-practitioner relationship
• Critical incident
Positive or negative
• Our own development, e.g. skills, strengths,
challenges (may also be required for education or work)
What is a critical incident?
• Something that happened that is, in some way,
significant
For you personally,
Or in a wider context
• and that you can learn from by considering it more
deeply
• It does not have to be earth-shattering
• It can be either positive or negative
Skills involved
•
•
•
•
•
Self-awareness
Description / factual reporting
Critical analysis
Synthesis
Evaluation
(Atkins and Schutz, 2008, p.26)
Self-awareness is the main skill that is not usual in other
academic writing.
8
Preparing: Focused free write
This technique can help you to start thinking freely about something.
• Start from the incident, experience, process you want to reflect on
• Write for 5 -15 minutes without stopping, just following your train of
thought as if you are talking to yourself on paper
• Don’t worry about grammar, spelling, punctuation or anything else
• If you wander off the topic, don’t worry, just bring yourself gently back
• When the time is up, skim through for any interesting/useful words,
phrases, ideas or thoughts
The idea of free writing, from which focused free writing is adapted, was popularised by Peter Elbow (1973)
Exploring experience and perspective
• Look at the hand-outs
• Try one of the techniques (you will not be asked to
share what you have actually produced)
• Share with the group
Which activity did you choose?
What are your reactions to doing it?
Reflective journal
At the time
Later reflection
• Write a description as you
see things now
• Include your feelings
• Note down anything you
might want to refer to as
‘evidence’
• Note questions or things
you might want to explore if
they occur to you
• Look back objectively at
what you wrote
• Compare you now with
then: changes?
• Ask & answer critical
questions
 Relate to wider context
 Justify what you say
• Learning & moving forward
Reflective writing assignments
May use specific model and follow that structure
Usually follows basic phases
1. Descriptive (who? what? where? when?)
2. Analytical & interpretive (why? how? so?)
3. Looking forward (where/what now?)
 cf Borton (earlier)
 Or, more complex, e.g. Gibbs
•
•
More structured e.g. Gibbs (1988)
Description
Feelings
Action plan
Conclusion
Evaluation
Analysis
(Cited in Jasper,
2003 .p.77 but, N.B.
she puts description
instead of analysis!)
Description
Ability to give effective account > others understand what
happened as you saw it:
Pick relevant, significant detail: right amount
Writing = clear, concise, well structured
Objective rather than emotional: thoughts & feelings are
recorded rather than colouring account
Critical analysis/ evaluation
Aims for deeper understanding
•
•
•
•
•
Breaking down into constituent parts
Identifying positives / negatives/ issues
Identifying and challenging assumptions (self & other)
Making connections (other experience, learning)
Relating to external sources, e.g.
 Theory, research, case studies, wider social/political/economic
context
Levels of reflection: 1
Hatton and Smith's (1995) four levels of reflection,
summarised by Gillett et al. as:
• descriptive writing (a straightforward account of
events)
• descriptive reflection (an account with reasons,
justifications and explanation for the events)
• dialogic reflection (the writer begins to stand back
from the account and analyse it)
• critical reflection (the writer puts their account into a
broader perspective).
(Gillett et al., 2009, p.165)
Levels of reflection: 2
Goodman’s 3 levels (1984) often referred to – roughly
equate to:
1. Largely descriptive; looking at practical things in terms
of responsibility, accountability, efficiency ..
2. Moving out from your particular experiences –
relationship between theory and practice; broader
implications, issues, values..
3. Broadening out to consider implications in context of
ethical / social / political influences
(Goodman, 1984, cited in Jasper, 2003, pp.72-75)
Graduate attributes
http://www.employability.ed.ac.uk/documents/GAFramework+Interpretation.pdf
Edinburgh Award
Employers want graduates:
• who are self-aware,
• who capitalise on their strengths,
• who will have impact wherever they work,
• who are committed to personal development and lifelong learning, and
• who can confidently provide evidence for these claims.
• And that’s where the Edinburgh Award comes in…
Edinburgh Award: CARL
• For reflecting on the skills/abilities you
wanted to develop during the Award:
• Context – What is the context, e.g.
what was your role and what was the
skill you wanted to develop (and
why)?
• Action – In that context, what did you
do to work towards developing the
skill?
• Result & Learning – What were the
outcomes of your actions? What went
well? What stretched you? What
didn’t work? What did you learn as a
result? Why does it matter to you?
How does it influence how you would
approach something similar in the
future?
• For reflecting on the impact you had
during the Award:
• Context – What is the context, e.g.
what was your role, its purpose and in
what areas you were trying to develop
personally?
• Action – In that context, what did you
do to try to have an impact?
• Result & Learning – What were the
outcomes of your actions? What
impact did you have on the people
and/or organisation(s) around you?
References
Atkins, S. and Schutz, S. (2008) 'Developing the skills for reflective
practice', in Bulman, C. and Schutz, S. (eds.) Reflective practice
in nursing. 4th edn. Chichester: Blackwell Publishing, pp. 25-54
Elbow, P. (1973) Writing Without Teachers. New York: Oxford
University Press
Gillett, A., Hammond, A. and Martala, M. (2009) Successful
academic writing. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.
Jasper, M. (2003) Beginning reflective practice. Cheltenham:
Nelson Thornes Ltd
Moon, J.(2006) Learning Journals: A Handbook for Reflective
Practice and Development. (2nd edn.) London: Routledge
Websites for further information
The University of Edinburgh’s Edinburgh Award:
http://www.employability.ed.ac.uk/Student/EdinburghA
ward/
Reflective writing, university of Portsmouth:
http://www.port.ac.uk/departments/studentsupport/ask/
resources/handouts/writtenassignments/filetodownloa
d,73259,en.pdf

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