Critical Thinking
Reflective Learning
Glenys Hook
“…reflection in the context of learning
is a generic term for those intellectual
and affective activities in which
individuals engage to explore their
experiences in order to lead to new
understandings and appreciations”
Boud 1985
What is Reflective Practice?
Taking the opportunity to think about the work you are
doing, as you do it, or after you have done it.
‘… looking back on an experience and making sense of it
to identify what to do in the future.’
(Drew and Bingham, 2001 p221)
‘…do something, think about it what you did, come to
conclusions about what you did and plan to try again.’
(Kolb 1984)
‘ The art of writing things down helps you to clarify your thoughts
and emotions, to work out strategies, and to focus on your
development and progress…’
(Cottrell, 2001 p67)
This can be done in a ‘weblog’, or blog – you will need to:
 reflect on personal, academic and professional development
For assessment, keep four entries
 Start of module – expectations, skills
 Report assessment experiences
 Presentation assessment experiences
 End of module – the full experience!
Why should you be reflective practitioners?
To enable professional development
 The ‘knowledge’ economy
 Continuous professional development
To maintain quality
 Reflecting on what went wrong and why =
 Reflecting on what went well and why = good
Reflection then includes hard systematic thinking
and a soft initiative insight, leading to a plan of
action based on critical evaluation of all the
available evidence.
Don’t just think about what went wrong/well and why
– also plan to improve skills if necessary, or to use
those skills in future events
A 'reflective practitioner' is someone who does something
and is automatically reflective
Reviews what happened and asks 'why?', 'how?’, ‘where?’,’
What skills can you take forward/ need to
How will I do this?
The best practitioners are constantly learning, evaluating
and refining their practice, even after years of
The next stage is to apply what you have learned from
one situation to the next
What can reflective practice
do for me?
Enhance your self awareness
Develop creative answers to difficulties
Enhance your problem solving skills
Enhance your ability to evaluate
Enhance your ability to action plan for success
Make you an effective manager
Kolb’s Learning Cycle (1984)
Taking stock
What do I know?
How can I take my
learning further?
What do I need to
Feedback/ evaluation
How much and how well do I
Reflection on Practice (Ghayle 1998)
Navel Gazing
Learning from the day’s
Talking about what you
do with others
Learning from experience Reasoning
Remembering when
Being honest with yourself Becoming more aware
Constructive criticism
Improving what you have Doing it after a lesson
Understand your feelings
Re-assembling what you
Questioning yourself
Letting go of personal
Something done by
reflective practitioners
Gaining confidence in
your work
Hard work
The latest bandwagon
What you do
Dwelling on mistakes
Justifying what you do
Personal growth
Helping you to see what
you would or would not
do again and why
Critical Thinking
investigation whose purpose is to explore
a situation, phenomenon, question, or problem
to arrive at a hypothesis or conclusion about it
that integrates all available information and
that can be therefore be convincingly
justified” Kurfiss 1988
CT as a process (Cottrell 2005)
Identify other people’s positions/ arguments/
Evaluate the evidence for alternative points of view
Weigh up opposing arguments/ evidence fairly
Read between the lines
Identify false/ inaccurate assumptions
Recognise techniques to make certain positions
Reflect on issues in a structured way, bringing logic to
Draw conclusions- valid/ justified
Present a point of view
Improved attention and
Integration of theory and
New and expanded knowledge
Safe and effective practitioners
Protection of the public
Context of practice
Changing needs
Ownership and responsibility
Ability to identify key points in a
text/ message
Stimulates enquiry,
increases self awareness.
Develops analytical skills
Encourages learning
Assists practice teachers in
analysing the quality of the
student’s competencies
Implications for future
Focused reading
Ability to respond to
appropriate points in a
Barriers to Critical Thinking
(Cottrell 2005)
Misunderstanding of what is meant by criticism
Over estimating personal reasoning abilities
Lack of methods, strategies, practice
Reluctance to critique experts
Affective reasons
Mistaking information for understanding
Insufficient focus and attention to detail
Critical Analysis (Edwards 1998)
Re-evaluation (Boud 1985)
Reflection in and On Action (Schőn 1987)
Gibbs 1998
Driscoll 1994
Johns 1995
Reflecting in and on Action
(Schőn 1987)
In Action:
practising, influences decisions and care at that
Promotes skilled and flexible responses of the expert
On Action:
After the event, views different interventions, adds
Promotes development of professional skills and
Gibbs reflective cycle
( 1998)
Description – what happened?
Feelings- what were you thinking and feeling?
Evaluation- what was good and bad about the
Analysis: what sense can you make of the situation?
Conclusion- what else could you have done?
Action plan- if it arose again what would you do?
Driscoll’s model of reflection
( 1994)
 Returning to the situation
 Understanding the context
 Modifying future outcomes
Matter of choice
Adoption of a reflective approach
Organisational structure which inhibits rather than
encourages reflection
Resistance to change
Lack of time
Past negative experiences/ presumptions
Lack of self awareness/ intervening skills
Other’s expectations
Negative factors which impede learning
References and Bibliography
Boud D, Keogh R& Walker I edit (1985) Reflection: Turning
Experience into Learning. London Kogan Page
Cottrell S. (2005) Critical Thinking Skills. Basingstoke. Palgrave
Edwards SL (1998) Critical thinking and analysis: a model for writing
assignments. BJN 7(3) 1590166
Gibbs G (1988) Learning by doing: a guide to teaching and
learning methods. London FEU
Driscoll JJ (1994) Reflective Practice for Practise- a framework of
structured reflection for clinical areas. Senior Nurse 14 (1) 47-50
Ghaye A & Ghaye K (1998) Teaching and Learning through Critical
Reflective Practice. London Fulton Publishers
Johns C (1995) The value of reflective practice for Nursing. JCN 4,
References and Bibliography
Johns C (2000) Becoming a reflective Practitioner. Oxford Blackwell
Kolb DA (1984) Experiential Learning: experience as the source of
learning and development. New Jersey Prentice Hall.
Moon J (2004) A Handbook of Reflective and Experiential Learning:
theory and practice. London Routledge Falmer
Osterman K& Kottkamp R () Reflective Practice for Educators. 2nd
edit. California Corwin Press
Palmer AM, Burns S& Bulman C (1994) Rrflective Practice in Nursing:
the growth of the professional practitioner. Oxford Blackwell Science
Scaife J (2010) Supervising the reflective Practitioner: an essential
guide to theory and practice. London Routledge
Schőn DA (1987) Educating the Reflective Practitioner. San Francisco
Jossey Bass.
Thompson S& Thompson N (2008) The Critically Reflective
Practitioner. Basingstoke Palgrave Macmillan

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