Week 17 / My Reflective Practice
After watching the Reflective Writing Video and looking back on previous reflections I have made, it is evident that I have just written about events, issues and situations in a descriptive manner. There has been no specific focus on “why?” or “how?”. Also, in my reflections, there has been no consideration of implications and little focus on the “so what?” (SkillsTeamHullUni, 2014). This raises the question of whether I am accurately reflecting about the learning? I often reflect on my way home in the car, critically analysing my actions and focussing on:
- How could it have been done differently, and
- If it can not change, how can I adapt, or even worse avoid?
The written component of reflecting on my practice is something I have struggled with for two reasons:
- Taking time to stop and actually write.
- The content of my reflection usually ends up being a rambling of feelings and regrets.
Using research to explore ways in which I can reflect in a more concise and meaningful manner is something I have not previously considered. I find it interesting knowing that reflection is part of the Professional Learning Standard from the Education Council (p. 20). when reviewing the responses to the survey, written reflection is something that as a collective of teachers we are not doing regularly. For example, a small number of responses (12/145) ‘Always or Frequently’ write a reflection in some form, while the majority ‘Sometimes, Rarely or Never’ write reflections. It is unclear if the reasons for the lack of written reflection is:
- Due to a lack of time
- Not knowing how to compartmentalise our thoughts/feelings into a written, coherent piece of reflective writing, or
- We find talking to others to reflect is easier.
A majority of responses (122/145) ‘Always or Frequently’ reflect on their practice by talking to colleagues. However, how do we assess that these discussions are truly meaningful reflections? Dewey (1933) (as cited in Finlay, 2008, p.3) highlighted an interesting point, which made me question my own reflections and reflective practice: Do I capture the essence of reflective practice or is it just routine thinking?
The quality of my reflective practice falls more into the ‘Critique of self and practice’ category than a reflection that has depth and meaning. I spend more time looking back on the past event or situation and analysing it with a fine tooth comb than I do thinking about moving forward (SkillsTeamHullUni, 2014). Furthermore, I often focus on negative issues, associations or problems. I rarely reflect on successes or things that are working and how I could review and apply successful outcomes into other contexts (Ghaye, 2010). To further develop my own reflective practice, I will continue to use a reflective model like Jay and Johnson’s (2002). This is because this model provides a structure for writing reflections (description, comparative and critical reflection) that is helpful and makes sense. I will also use more research and retheorising when writing reflections as these are areas in which my practice is lacking.
Education Council. (June, 2017). Our Code Our Standards. Retrieved from https://educationcouncil.org.nz/sites/default/files/Our%20Code%20Our%20Standards%20web%20booklet%20FINAL.pdf
Finlay, L. (2008). Reflecting on reflective practice. The Open University.
Ghaye, T. (2010). Teaching and learning through reflective practice : a practical guide for positive action. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral.proquest.com
Jay, J.K. and Johnson, K.L. (2002). Capturing complexity: a typology of reflective practice for teacher education. Teaching and Teacher Education, 18, 73-85.
SkillsTeamHullUni. (2014, March 3). Reflective writing.. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QoI67VeE3ds