Learning to teach: becoming a reflective practitioner
How often do you find yourself replaying in your head the events of the day or an incident in your life? Whether it is going through a conversation that happened to digest what has been said, thinking about sequences of events that led to a certain conclusion, or thinking about how you felt or reacted at a point in time. At this level, we are quite used to the idea of reflecting on our own actions.
Reflective practice is a term strongly associated with learning in professional contexts such as teaching, nursing or social work and can be thought of in a number of ways. It can be described as a learning tool, something that is going to help you to synthesise, explain, make sense of and ultimately develop meaning from, your experiences.
It can be considered to be a professional competence, as reflected in the standards you are expected to achieve by the end of your Initial Teacher Education (ITE) course. Finally, it might be thought of as a type of dialogue or prose, a particular type of conversation or a writing style that captures your personal views and relates them to evidence you have collected from elsewhere.
Before considering the nature of reflection and the theoretical ideas that underpin it, it is worth considering why reflective practice is considered so important both within ITE and within career long learning in education.
Reflection point: Think of a situation where, through reflecting on what has happened, you have acted differently or changed your initial view of a situation.
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