Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Reflection in Higher Education Learning Essay

Personal breeding planning (PDP) privy involve distinct castings of reproach and reflective study. Much has been create verb ally and give tongue to ab pop contemplation in recent clock times, simply for many, it remains a somewhat mysterious performance or is it a capacity? any(prenominal) it is, if the titles of modules and courses, and references in QAA benchmark statements atomic number 18 anything to go by, we be using it extensively in a range of contexts in listenedness and maestro growth in higher(prenominal) bringing up. This paper is intended to provide a basis to reprimand and reflective acquisition for the development of PDP inwardly the higher commandment sector. It go forth provide a brief reach to current opinion or so reflectance, a discussion of its application in higher nurture development and some practical realise for the apply of reflective activities. employation a conception of expressionLike many topics in higher educatio n, the nonion of reprimand has encouraged both a theoretical and a practical literature. The focus of this paper is primarily on the practical uses of face further a brief discussion of theoretical improvementes will dumbfound up the thinking in an academic context and it will facilitate pass on study of the topic where this is needed. The aim in this section is to produce a conception of rumination that takes account of the guess but that can be applied practically and profit fittedly in formal and informal acquisition contexts. But we start from where we are..Starting from where we area parking area-sense pur escort of verbalismthither is no point in defining reflection in a manner that does non relate to the everyday use of the word if further confusion is not to be created. criticism a word we use in everyday conversation. What world power we mean by it?In common-sense terms, reflection lies somewhere around the notion of information. We reflect on something in order to consider it in much detail (eg allow me reflect on that for a moment). Usually we reflect because we make believe a nominate for reflecting a goal to reach. Sometimes we find ourselves organism reflective and out of that being reflective, something pops up. in that respect has been no conscious purpose as such but on that point is a useful outcome and there may live with been a subconscious mind purpose. It is also apparent that we reflect on things that are relatively complicated. We do not reflect on a simple addition junction or the route to the corner shop. We reflect on things for which there is not an obvious or immediate solution. Often the latter will be instigated by or associated with a range of feelings and the experience of such reflection may be emotional or spiritual. We return to issues concerning emotion and reflection later.It would look that reflection is thus a substance of running(a) on what we know already. We put into the reflection swear out acquaintance that we already form (thoughts, ideas, feelings etc), we may add invigorated information and then we draw out of it something that accords with the purpose for which we reflected.A simple comment of reflection might beReflection is a form of psychic processing like a form of thinking that we use to fulfil a purpose or to achieve some anticipated outcome. It is applied to relatively complicated or unstructured ideas for which there is not an obvious solution and is more often than not found on the further processing of knowledge and fellow feeling and possibly emotions that we already possess (establish on Moon 1999)Some theoretical approaches to reflectionReflection is theorised in so many divergent ship focus that it might descrym that we a looking at range of human capacities rather than simply one. To start with, we re hitch briefly several of what might be called the immaculate approaches.John Dewey wrote on the educational implications of a range of human mental turn tails over the earlier years of the twenty first snow. His work was based on keen reflectivity of the functioning of early(a)s and reflection on his sustain processes. Deweys interest in his own processes makes his writing subroutineicularly raise in the current context. It appears that somewhere in the middle part of this century education researchers forgot that they are people in like manner with, between their finger-tips, an amazingly useful resource from which to learn about human functioning. The return to this understanding could be meetn to be an important benefit of the interest in reflection. The legitimacy of I and my functioning is being re-established and the role of individualized development planning will also carry this forward in the near future.Dewey saw reflection as a specialised form of thinking. He described it as a kind of thinking that consists in turning a flying field over in the mind and giving it serious though t. His definition of reflection is that it isActive, persistent and careful consideration of any tactile sensation or supposed form of knowledge in the light of the grounds that bet on it, and further conclusions to which it leadsit includes a conscious and voluntary effort to establish belief upon a firm basis of tell apart and rationality (Dewey, 1933).Jurgen Habermas (1971) focused on the way in which humans process ideas and construct them into knowledge. Reflection plays a role in this process. Habermas talked about three kinds of knowledge instrumental knowledge where we know how or that and where the concern of the knowledge is to understand and thereby function within, and control our human environment. knowledge that is relate with the interpretation of human motion and behaviour. We largely interpret in the social acquisitions in order to break dance our understanding of society and human behaviour. knowledge that is a way of working with knowledge, acting on the f irst two forms of knowledge. This form of knowledge is developed through full of life or evaluative modes of thinking and leads towards the emancipation or transformation of personal, social or new(prenominal) situations. It concerns the spirit of the bases on which we make judgements.There is some disagreement about the role of reflective processes in the development of instrumental knowledge given that the development of sophisticated science can match this form of knowledge. However, it certainly has an important role in the interpretation and comparisons of understanding in the second level and in the critical and evaluative modes of the third.David Kolb (1984) is thoroughly known for his development of the Kolb rhythm method or oscillation of experiential erudition. The cycle is drawn in many different ways using different words that sometimes seem to affect its meaning. It is depicted below in a simplified manner that it is not too far from Kolbs wordsConcrete expe riencing( submit an experience)Active experimentation meditative observation(try out what you have learned)(reflect on the experience)Abstract conceptualising(learn from the experience)The cycle revolves with new knowledge undergoing active experimentation and recycled through new experiencing. In this way what was a cycle becomes a spiral (Cowan 1998). Thus Kolb considered reflection as a mental activity that has a role in scholarship from experience. In the Kolb cycle, reflection features as a development of the process of observation and apparently it occurs before a person has learnt. Others would see reflection as part of cultivation and part of the processing of veridical already learned, having akind of cognitive housekeeping role as well as generating new development (Moon, 1999a). The notion of reflection as part of the means of study something new seems to conflict with the common-sense use of the term (above).There is a massive literature on experiential learning , much of which is based on the Kolb cycle, and much of which perhaps over simplifies what is an immensely complex activity. While the cycle does have has value, it may say more about how we manage the learning of others, than about the process of learning per se (ie. it is more about the precept process).Donald Schon focused on reflection in professional knowledge and its development (1983, 1987). He suggested that there is a crisis in the professions cogitate to a mis-understanding of the descent of theory to practice and of the kind of theory that a professional uses to guide her practice. The espoused theory as learnt in formal institutions and in professional training is not the theory that proficient professionals eventually use to guide practice. They take a shit up an expertise from their practice (theory-in-use) by being reflective. Schon noted that the theory in use tends to be tacit. Professionals are not necessarily able to describe the basis on which they act. A p articular role of professional development is to make this knowing-in-action explicit so that it can be the take of further reflection and conscious development.Schon suggests that there are two types of relevant reflection. Reflection-on-action is the reviewing that occurs after an event piece reflection-in-action is part of the processing of an effective practician while actually acting. There are doubts expressed about the organism of a form of reflection that occurs while an individual is acting (eg Eraut, 1994) and sometimes Schon has been inconsistent in his writing. However he has had great influence in stirring up debate on the constitution of professional knowledge and the role of reflection in professional education.Many others have written about reflection, most developing ideas from those mentioned above. Examples are Boud, Keogh and Walker, 1985 Boud andWalker, 1998 Cowan, 1998, and Brockbank and McGill, 1998. Much of the material in this paper is derived from Moon, 1999 which takes a broader and sometimes more critical view of reflection and focuses on its congenericship to learning.We thus have described a common-sense view of reflection and those of four influential theorists but we could be reviewing four different human activities that happen to have the aforesaid(prenominal) name reflection. Might there be a common idea lurking there, or an explanation as to how the ideas could fit together?Moon (1999) suggests that the differences in approach are accounted for largely by different focuses either on the process of reflection, on the purpose for it or the outcomes of reflection in effect, how it is used. Schon, for example, is concerned about reflection as a mechanism for professional and perhaps personal development while Habermas is concerned with its role in the building of theory. Kolb explores the role of reflection in learning inuredting a context for it, but referring relatively weensy to reflection itself. Dewey is exceptio nal in pickings a holistic view of reflection as a process a view that accords with the common sense definition above.Before we pull these ideas into a summarising flummox there is one more stray factor that some, but not all of the approaches to reflection mention and that is the role of emotion in reflection. Some theorists see the role of emotion in reflection as very meaningful and frequently neglected (eg. Boud, Keogh and Walker, 1985). However, there are questions to be imploreed. Is the emotional issue of reflection always present and influential? We would seem to be able to reflect on a number of ideas without emotional content to the reflection. accordingly are emotional effects the subject matter of the input and widening of reflection (like other ideas on which reflection occurs), or do they signal the process of reflection (acting as a kind of milieu in which reflection takes place). Could they be part of the process of reflection? If they are part of the input and / or outcome is it knowledge of how I feel or is it the actual feeling that is part of theinput and / or outcome? whole of these seem to fit experiences of reflection and there is no clear resultant in the literature.A relatively simple input outcome model of reflection seems to summarise the variety of approaches to reflection in the literature. It locates the approach of Dewey and the common-sense definition as concerned with the input and the actual mental event of reflecting with others largely concerned with the outcomes of reflection. In other words, it suggests that reflection is a simple process but with complex outcomes that relate to many different areas of human functioning. shape 1 provides a summary of these ideas and a basis for the consideration of reflection in PDP. Broadly it withdraws the definition for the process of reflection on varlet 2 but recognises that there are different contexts for reflection that often influence our understanding of its meani ng.Fig 1 An input / outcome model of reflectionThe relationship between reflection and learningWhat is the relationship between reflection and learning? Much has been written about both reflection and learning and there seems to be an assumption that reflection is related to learning but what is the relationship? We explore it in this section (there is more detail in Moon, 1999)Reflection and the savants approach to learningOne set of ideas that seems to be significant to unravelling the relationship between learning and reflection within the process of learning seem to be the research on approaches to learning (Marton, Hounsell and Entwistle, 1997). This research suggests that there is a fundamental difference in advantage in learning between adopting a stockyly approach and a surface approach to a learning caper. A deep approach is where the intention of the learner is to understand the meaning of the material. She is willing to integrate it into her exist body of previous ideas, and understandings, reconsidering and altering her understandings if necessary. The new ideas are filed carefully and incorporate. In contrast, a surface approach tolearning is where a learner is concerned to memorise the material for what it is, not trying to understand it in relation to previous ideas or other areas of understanding. It is as if the new ideas need to be retained for the moment, but not filed for any lasting purpose.These approaches to learning are not either or situations, but at extremes of a continuum and the resembling learner may choose to learn differently according to the task at hand. The conception of a continuum of approaches to learning allows us to hypothesise a hierarchy of stages of learning along the continuum that characterise surface and then more and more deeper approaches to learning. This is a useful device when we attempt to locate reflection in the process.It is important to note that we cannot actually see that learning has occurred , we can see only the results of learning which can be termed the even upation of learning. The same area of learning might be represented in different ways writing, oral account, graphic display and so on and it is through the description of the representation of learning that we identify the stages of learning. The stages are as followsNoticing, the least detailed form of learning you cannot learn something if you do not denounce it at some level (which could be unconscious). Representation is of the material is as memorised, modified only by the phase to which it is forgotten.Making sense getting to know the material as coherent but only in relation to itself. Facts may be fitted together like a reciprocating saw but not related to previous understandings. Representation is coherent reproduction, but not related to other ideas and not processed.Making meaning the beginnings of deep approach there is a sense of meaningfulness but there is not much evidence of going bey ond the given. Representation is of ideas that are integrated and well linked. There is the beginning of development of a holistic view. working(a) with meaning a sense now of going beyond the given, linking into other ideas. There is the creation of relationships of new material with other ideas. Representation is reflective, well structured and demonstrates the linking of material with other ideas which may change as a result.Transformative learning evidence that the new learning has transformed current understandings in reflective processes. Representation demonstrates strong restructuring of ideas and ability to evaluate the processes of reaching that learning. There are creative / idiosyncratic responses.On the basis of this model, There are at least three ways in which reflection might be seen as relating to learning.a) Reflection has a role in the deeper approaches to learning the last three stages described above, but not in surface approaches to learning (the first two s tages)b) We learn from representing learning when we write an testify or explain something or draw a picture of it, we represent it to ourselves and learn from the re-processing (Eisner, 1991). This is a reflective processc) We upgrade learning. For example, we can go back to ideas learnt only to the stage of making sense (eg in the form of facts bits and pieces) and can reprocess those ideas through reflection, integrating them with current understandings (Vygotsky, 1978). This might be conceived as a kind of chewing the cud exercise or cognitive housekeeping (see earlier).These forms of learning from reflection are commonly victimized in the patterns of higher education pedagogy. In the case of the first (a), there is much literature on the encouragement of students to take a deep approach to learning (Marton et al, (1997). At the same time, there is acknowledgement that nature of current higher education may inhibit these attempts (lack of contact with students, the box nat ure of learning in a modular outline etc). In particular it is worth remembering that assessment tends to drive student learning and if students (can) perceive that a deepapproach is the manner in which to play along in a learning task, they are more likely to adopt such an approach.In terms of learning from the representation of learning (b), we ask students to reprocess their learning into essays, examinations, reports and explanations in tutorials. It is interesting to consider the implications of Eisners proffer that we learn differently from different forms of representation. In different forms of representation we intercept reflection differently. We probably do not fully enough exploit the representation of learning as a means of enhancing learning in current higher education.A well functioning tutorial system is an example of a means by which we encourage students to upgrade their learning (c). A student lecture is not ideal ground for fetching a deep approach to learni ng. It seems likely that the attempt to get notes deplete on paper would interfere with the processing involved in taking a deep approach to learning. Preparation for and involvement in a tutorial is the opportunity for many students to reflect on and process their learning into a more meaningful state in other words, to re-file it. fiat for examinations is another opportunity for review of previous learning such that understanding is deepened (Entwistle and Entwistle, 1992).It is interesting to note that the value of the Kolb cycle (see above), and the whole notion that learning is enhanced through experimentation or doing is explained by a) and b). If learners are required to represent their learning in some meaningful activity, they will have have been forced to adopt a deep approach to the learning in the first place or to upgrade their surface quality learning (c ) into more meaningful material.Reflection provides the right conditions for learningWe have suggested above som e ways in which reflection is immediately related to the learning process, but there also seem to be other forms of this relationship that are usefully described in the notion that the activity of reflection provides the right conditions for good learning (Moon, 1999a).We summarise these ideas below, continuing the garner system from above since these are more ways in which learning and reflection are interrelated.d) Reflection slows down activity, giving the time for the learner to process material of learning and link it with previous ideas. There is evidence that when a lecturer pauses in a lecture, the wait time enables students to learn better (Tobin, 1987). We could more often stop and ask students to think about an issue that has arisen in a lecture (etc).e) Reflection enables learners to develop greater ownership of the material of learning, making it more personally meaningful to themselves and upward(a) their grasp of it (Rogers, 1969). It will also enhance the students vox in her learning (Elbow, 1981).f) A particularly important means by which reflective activity generally supports learning is through the encouragement of metacognition. Metacognition is the cognizance of ones own cognitive functioning in this case, learning. There is evidence that good learners have better metacognitive processes than poor learners (Ertmer and overboldby, 1996). Study skills programmes that support learners awareness of their learning processes seem to be more successful than those that focus on techniques (Main, 1985).g) We suggested above that reflection occurs when we are traffic with material that is relatively complicated or ill-structured. If we are encouraging students to reflect, we are, in a sense, challenging their learning. 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