5.1 Ensuring reflection leads to learning
So, how can we ensure that reflective practice leads to learning? Both Finlay and Ixer’s criticisms of reflective practice hint at a distinction between surface level reflection (routinised, bland and unthinking) and a deeper level (conscious control, self-analysis, metacognition). As stated by Cartwright (2011), LaBoskey takes this idea further by making a distinction between ‘common sense thinkers’ and those who are ‘pedagogical thinkers’. This distinction gets to the heart of how to ensure reflection is an effective learning tool.
LaBoskey defines ‘common sense thinkers’ as those who reflect in an unconscious way, suggesting they are happy to use a ‘trial and error’ approach to learning to address short-term issues that are context specific.
‘Pedagogical thinkers’ are more conscious of their actions asking the questions ‘What is my intuitive response to this, and why am I feeling or acting this way?’ (Laboskey in Cartwright, 2011). Labosky suggests that it is by taking conscious control, that pedagogical thinkers ‘take a long term view of how to solve problems… remain open to learning… recognise there are no simple answers and the conclusions they reach are likely to be tentative’ (Laboskey in Cartwright, 2011).