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Learning to teach: becoming a reflective practitioner
Learning to teach: becoming a reflective practitioner

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2 What is critical reflection?

Critical analysis and reflection is a key tool in helping us learn from the contradictions and complexities we encounter.

Activity 2: Importance of critical reflection

Listen to the clip of Dave and Sarah explaining what is meant by critical reflection and the importance of critical reflection in learning to teach. (Please note that The Open University’s PGCE course mentioned in this audio has now been discontinued.)

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Audio 2
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Both Dave and Sarah emphasise the importance of being able to analyse lessons and basing that analysis on the evidence available.

Critical reflection allows us to synthesise different perspectives (whether from other people or literature) to help explain, justify or challenge what we have encountered in our own or other people’s practice. It may be that theory or literature gives us an alternative perspective that we should consider, it may provide evidence to support our views or practices or it may explicitly challenge them.

Critical reflection also allows us to analyse what we have learned and how we have learned to enable us to take control of our own development. It is in light of these two functions that a great deal of importance is placed on critical reflection in the professional development of teachers.

The rest of this course will help you to understand critical reflection and introduce some tools to support effective reflection.