4 Features of reflection
As we have discussed already, teaching is a complex activity, in which decisions are made in complex contexts. In addition, there are theoretical perspectives to consider, and the process of reflection brings all these aspects together.
Reflective practice is widely considered to be an important activity for professional development. There is a huge amount of literature exploring and debating reflection and reflective practice in education. There are some key features of reflection that are widely accepted:
- Reflection results in learning – through changing ideas and your understanding of the situation
- Reflection is an active process of learning and is more than thinking or thoughtful action
- Reflection involves problematising teaching by recognising that practice is not without dilemmas and issues
- Reflection is not a linear process, but a cyclical one where reflection leads to the development of new ideas which are then used to plan the next stages of learning
- Reflection encourages looking at issues from different perspectives, which helps you to understand the issue and scrutinise your own values, assumptions and perspective.
Therefore, when the term ‘critical reflection’ is used, it refers to a combination of the analytical, questioning (or critical thinking) and reflective approaches. It is this combination that would characterise a critically reflective conversation.