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The Reflective Practitioner


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I'm after some good ideas and inspiration please...

 

I've 'agreed' to deliver a three hour workshop on becoming a reflective practitioner (the music stopped and I was the one without a chair!)

 

Are there any tutors out there who have found effective ways of presenting this subject or anyone who's been on a similar training course recently who can remember some good activities?

 

Any ideas gratefully received.

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I deliver workshops on this and am about to write an article on it for Practical Pre School.

 

They need to understand reflective practice and how it impacts on and benefits them, the setting and the children. We look at different ways you can reflect and then I have sets of questions and group people so they can begin the reflection process.

 

What else would you like to know?

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Thanks for replying Jenny.

 

The workshop is aimed at level 3/4 practitioners, some of whom have already had an introduction to reflective practice as part of their NVQ3 underpinning knowledge course. Therefore, some of them are already familiar with the concept of reflective practice and its benefits and have carried out many of the exercises I was intending to do.

 

My biggest fear at the moment is that I won't be able to find enough to fill up the 3 hour slot.

 

As a new tutor I would be really interested in the types of activity you do as I've been warned by my more experienced colleagues that this is a difficult subject to teach if the group don't know each other and are reluctant to interact (which is probably why I've ended up doing it!) I thought I might get delegates writing SMART targets having identified an area of their practice which they feel needs improvement, but this is an individual activity and I am desparately stuck for ideas which will involve group work.

 

Any tips or suggestions will be very gratefully received.

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I led the team on action planning at xmas, against the 5 outcomes. Whilst it didn't teach them to be reflective, it required them to be - as I had written down key statements, and they then had to rate the nursery against each of them, pick the priorities for development, and then set actions.

 

It really made them think and be relective - something which many of them had not been required to do before.

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Some good quotes for you, I used them in a short essay about reflective practice in my own setting :)

 

Sally Featherstone and Ross Baley (2002:56) stress “Nothing is too good for the youngest children, we must keep exploring all the avenues we can to improve what we already have, we must not be satisfied with second best. However difficult our individual circumstances there are likely to be things we can do to improve them.”

 

Margaret Edgington (2005) encouraged my enthusiasm to facilitate and stimulate colleagues learning and thinking; she affirms “Reflective practitioners are, outward looking and thrive on new challenges, enjoy and are committed to their work.” “It is essential to keep the functioning of your whole team under review” (Issue 52).

 

“Effective practice in the early years requires committed enthusiastic and reflective practitioners with a breadth and depth of knowledge, skills and understanding.” (DFES, 2005)

 

Ghaye and Ghaye (1998:3) define reflection not only as thinking about what you do, but as ‘practice with principle’; ‘Being professionally self critical without being destructive and overly negative’.

 

Meaningful, reflective conversations can sustain and nourish us. They can raise individual and collective consciousness. Above all else they involve a discussion of values. This is at the heart of the improvement process.

(Ghaye and Ghaye, 1998, pl.122)

 

The recent Speel (2005) research recognised that “Professional thinking includes the ability to reflect on practice and to make informed decisions through well-conceived examination and analysis of pedagogy. It involves the thinking practitioner in articulating and evaluating practice and a continuous striving to improve.” - “Practitioners who are reflective and on-going learners, recognise that principles are capable of adaptation” and “change in the light of further evidence.”- “Pedagogy is both the behaviour of teaching and being able to reflect on teaching.”

 

Speel (2005) noted, that in their research, Frede et al. (1993) identify a relationship between supported, reflective practice and effective teaching, and additional factors are suggested (curriculum content, learning processes, teacher-child ratios and relationships with parents).

 

Shulman (1999) defines reflection as “this what a teacher does when he or she looks back at the teaching and learning that has occurred, and reconstructs, re-enacts, and / or recaptures the events, the emotions, and the accomplishments.”

 

As practitioners working with young children, and their families, we need to challenge ourselves, our assumptions and our ways of working if we are to achieve effective relationships. Most importantly, we need to address how we interact and communicate with others. We need to promote the importance of working together and to improve our ability to do so. Some of us may need to reconceptualise the way we regard young children. We need to be aware of how we renegotiate the roles and relationships we have with existing partners and how we integrate new ones. Most importantly of all, we need to develop trust between all who are working together for young children.

(Willan et al, 2004:141)

 

References

Edgington, M. (May, 2005) What makes a reflective practitioner? Practical Pre-School:

Step Forward Publishing.

DfES (02/2005) Key Elements of Effective Practice (KEEP): Crown Copyright

Featherstone S. & Bayley R. (2002) Foundations for Independence, Developing

independent learning in the Foundation Stage, Featherstone Education p53-64

Ghaye, A. and Ghaye, K. (1998) Teaching and Learning Through Critical Reflective

Practice. London: David Fulton Publishers.

Moyles J, Adams S, Musgrove A. (2002) SPEEL Study of Pedagogical Effectiveness

in the Early Years, Brief No: RB363, DFES.

Shulman, L. (1999) Knowledge and Teaching: Foundations of the New Reform. In Leach, J. and Moon, B. Learners and Pedagogy. London: Paul Chapman in association with the Open University.

Willan, Parker-Rees, Savage: (2004) Early Childhood Studies, Learning Matters ltd

 

 

Carla Booth x

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Hi, I've also pasted from some research notes about experential learning, they may be helpful :)

 

Experiential Learning: 'learning from experience' or 'learning through experience'.

‘Kolb (1984) provides one of the most useful descriptive models of the adult learning process available, inspired by the work of Kurt Lewin’

 

This suggests that there are four stages which follow from each other: Concrete Experience is followed by Reflection on that experience on a personal basis. This may then be followed by the derivation of general rules describing the experience, or the application of known theories to it (Abstract Conceptualisation), and hence to the construction of ways of modifying the next occurrence of the experience (Active Experimentation), leading in turn to the next Concrete Experience. All this may happen in a flash, or over days, weeks or months, depending on the topic, and there may be a "wheels within wheels" process at the same time.

(Pickles T, n.d.)

 

Reflective Practice

 

“The importance of reflecting on what you are doing, as part of the learning process, has been emphasised by many investigators. Reflective Observation is the second stage (in the usual representation) of the Lewin/Kolb learning cycle.

 

Donald Schön (1983) suggested that the capacity to reflect on action so as to engage in a process of continuous learning was one of the defining characteristics of professional practice. He argued that the model of professional training which he termed "Technical Rationality"—of charging students up with knowledge in training schools so that they could discharge when they entered the world of practice, perhaps more aptly termed a "battery" model—has never been a particularly good description of how professionals "think in action", and is quite inappropriate to practice in a fast-changing world.

 

The cultivation of the capacity to reflect in action (while doing something) and on action (after you have done it) has become an important feature of professional training programmes in many disciplines, and its encouragement is seen as a particularly important aspect of the role of the mentor of the beginning professional. Indeed, it can be argued that “real” reflective practice needs another person as mentor or professional supervisor, who can ask appropriate questions to ensure that the reflection goes somewhere, and does not get bogged down in self-justification, self-indulgence or self-pity!

 

The quality and depth of the reflection, however, is not specified within this formulation: and it is interesting that two different traditions of professional development emphasise seemingly contradictory aspects. Reynolds (1965), and particularly Dreyfus and Dreyfus (1986) discuss how developing practitioners come gradually to take for granted aspects of their practice which initially preoccupied them, and move on to be concerned about (reflect upon) wider matters. This taking-for-granted on the one hand, and reflection on the other, offers a view of how reflection-on-action deepens in the course of a career.

 

Argyris and Schön (1978) differentiate between "single-loop" and "double-loop" learning, drawing on a distinction made by Ashby (1960) in a seminal work on cybernetics. For our purposes, single-loop learning is a simple version of the Lewin/Kolb cycle, in which performance is evaluated through reflection and then corrected or improved. In double-loop learning, the whole activity is part of a larger cycle, in which the reflection takes place on the fact of engaging in the activity and the assumptions implicit in it. This is the kind of reflection explored in Boud, Keogh and Walker (1985), and relates to Bateson's learning II and even learning III.”

(Atherton, 2005)

 

Effective early years practitioners are those who both possess and apply to their practices specific values, qualities, knowledge and thinking which ensure they have a positive effect on children’s learning and development.

(SPEEL 2002)

 

High/Scope, which developed from the Head Start project, is a structured approach based in children being active learners; through a process of Plan → Do → Review, children are encouraged to assume responsibility for their own learning

(Hohmann and Weikart, 1995).

 

“The ability to be critical and to examine children's learning is dependent on practitioners being sufficiently informed so that they can be discerning.”

(SPEEL:121, 2002)

 

Schon (1983) distinguishes between reflection in action, reflecting while doing something; and reflection on action, reflecting following the action.

 

Reynolds (1965), and particularly Dreyfus and Dreyfus (1986) cited by Atherton (2005) discuss how developing practitioners come gradually to take for granted aspects of their practice which initially preoccupied them, and move on to be concerned about (reflect upon) wider matters. This taking-for-granted on the one hand, and reflection on the other, offers a view of how reflection-on-action deepens in the course of a career.

 

“Reflecting on practice enables practitioners to discover, rediscover or understand the complex range of knowledge, skills and understanding they have and to develop and use the intellectual and emotional power within themselves to try and improve their situation”

(Ghaye and Ghaye 1998).

 

 

 

References

Atherton, J. S. (2005). Learning and Teaching: Reflection and Reflective Practice. Retrieved September 24, 2006, from http://www.learningandteaching.info/learning/reflecti.htm

Hohmann, M. and Weikart, D. (1995) Educating Young Children. Ypsilanti, US:

High/Scope Press.

Ghaye, A. and Ghaye, K. (1998) Teaching and Learning Through Critical Reflective

Practice. London: David Fulton Publishers.

Moyles J, Adams S, Musgrove A. (2002) SPEEL Study of Pedagogical Effectiveness

in the Early Years, Brief No: RB363, DFES.

Pickles, T. (n.d.). http://reviewing.co.uk/research/experiential.learning.htm. Retrieved September 24, 2006, from http://reviewing.co.uk/: www.reviewing.co.uk

Schon, D. (1983). The reflective practitioner. New York: Basic Books.

Shulman, L. (1999) Knowledge and Teaching: Foundations of the New Reform. In Leach, J. and Moon, B. Learners and Pedagogy. London: Paul Chapman in association with the Open University.

 

 

Carla Booth x (PS I'm a huge believer in Reflective Practice so GOOD LUCK in inspiring the team x)

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I didn't like to say I thought 3 hours was a long time!

 

As they are experienced I'd start with a quick referesher overview and maybe get them to think of a key area they feel needs developing, they could then discuss in groups each others area, so they reflect together and bounce ideas and then individually complete an action plan with SMART targets. Not sure that will fill 3 hours though!

 

You could also get them to think about how they could support their teams to be reflective practitioners.

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Thanks for your responses everyone - in order to fill my 3 hours I intend make us of everything you've suggested!

 

Unfortunately the delegates are not actually a team - just a collection of people from various settings so getting them to think about one area for improvement and then reflecting on it will be difficult. It's the group activities that I'm really having a problem with but I've got a couple of weeks yet so I'm hoping inspiration will strike. :o

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Even of they are from different settings they can still support each other to reflect on an aspect of practice. If someone describes the scenario to the others they can share what happens in their settings and between them may come up with some good ideas. In a way this will work better if they are from different settings, as the discussion will have perspective.

 

When people attend training one of the aspects they enjoy most is chatting to practitioners from other settings, you'd just be giving them a focus for this discussion.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I agree, at training sessions I've attended we usually wish that we could spend 50% just to chat, we learn most during tea break when we reflect on practise :)

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