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Succeeding in postgraduate study
Succeeding in postgraduate study

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1 Reflective practice

Let’s begin by looking at what is meant by reflective practice and how it can be applied in academic and professional settings.

Activity 1 What does ‘reflective practice’ mean to you?

Timing: Allow approximately 5 minutes

Jot down a couple of things that come to mind when you consider the term ‘reflective practice’ – what does this mean to you? List an activity that you have undertaken in the last month or so that you believe required reflective practice.

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You may have arrived at an interpretation or a definition for this term. You will revisit your definition later on in this session, but first let’s explore this concept a little further.

Taking the time to consider how other people’s experiences and culture influence their behaviour or responses under different circumstances can open us up to a greater understanding of others, and ultimately of ourselves. Reflecting on different perspectives can help us make better sense of a situation through considering differing viewpoints, and how those relate to our own work and life experiences. At Master’s level we do this by exploring available literature (published work) and interrogating the ideas presented not only in a ‘critical’ sense, but also by comparing those ideas, analyses and conclusions with our own experiences and interpretations.

By applying this process you will obtain an appreciation of differing perspectives, exploring how discourse, context, culture and other factors have shaped the views of people researching and writing about an area, as well as the extent to which these conditions affect the validity of the ideas they have presented. You can compare these perspectives with your own experience and ask yourself: ‘To what extent do these apply to what I have experienced through a project, activity or a series of tasks?’