Reflection and reflective practice are relevant for educators because we often find ourselves navigating complex contexts:
In the varied topography of professional practice, there is a high, hard ground overlooking a swamp. On the high ground, manageable problems lend themselves to solutions through the use of research-based theory and technique. In the swampy lowlands, problems are messy and confusing and incapable of technical solution (Schön, 1995, p. 28).
The process of reflection can be a very personal undertaking and there is no one way to engage in reflective practice. Whether you’re new to teaching or are an experienced instructor, reflective practice is a skill you can develop over time.
- Reflective practice is purposeful thinking about our actions and decisions in a variety of contexts; it can help you gain a better understanding of yourself and of the ways knowledge is created and shared.
- Reflective practice is essential for your professional growth, continuous learning, and improvement of your teaching competence. It’s also necessary for exploring the Teaching Excellence Framework.
- Engaging in reflective practice can help you make a map of the teaching landscape and adjust your map when the topography inevitably changes.
- Collaborating with the campus community and making use of available services like peer observations can help your students and support your professional growth.
Source: Adapted from NIOP 2021
We have included Gibb’s Reflective Cycle (1988) below as an example. However, you may also wish to check out other reflection models to see which one works best for you. Suggestions include:
- ERA Cycle (Jasper, 2013),
- Driscoll’s What Model (Driscoll, 2007), and
- Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle (Kolb, 1994)