6. Frameworks for reflective practice Part 2

Models and theories for reflection for learning

This next section provides a brief description of some of the other key theories involving reflection for learning and as you can see there is a wide choice. You may already know of a model that you prefer to use for reflection. As you read about the range of models, consider which model you might like to try out for your own reflections.

At a basic level, the first model is a fairly simple way of reflecting on an event by Rolfe (Rolfe, 2001) and involves three steps with questions to answer on experience:

What, So what, What next?
Figure 2: Reflective model adapted from Rolfe, (2001)

You may find this model useful for a quick summary of events and to look forward. It starts the process of reflection using a simple three step approach.

As we have seen earlier, Kolb's cycle (1984) involves a more complex observation and description of a situation, how people reacted and what changes you might want to make going forward as a result of these observations. Building on this approach, Pedler et al (2001) set out a model which involved some of Kolb's suggested steps but in addition asks the reflector to consider his/her own feelings and emotions. They suggest that this approach to reflection through emotions can influence the way we act. These are often implicit, that is, we are often unaware of them and we may need others to point them out. Thus our assumptions and inner feelings need deeper exploration to expose our implicit or tacit beliefs, expectations and values.

So reflection using the Pedler et al model can add another dimension to your reflections and can deepen your understanding of your own actions and help you to learn and possibly change practice. Have a look at the model below and notice how- action tendencies - habitual actions are informed by our emotions and thoughts. These action-tendencies are often less obvious to us so reflection can help surface these for consideration. Sometimes it is useful to ask other people for feedback on how we react in the heat of the moment to our on-going assumptions and feelings.

Blog: Have a look at the diagram below. How important do you think emotions may be in understanding the underpinning reasons for incidents in the workplace?

What happened feeds into feelings, which interact with thoughts, ideas and action-tendencies to produce action
Figure 3: Reflective model adapted from Pedler et al, (2001)

Another reflective model commonly used in reflective practice was proposed by Graham Gibbs (1988). He provides a number of steps in a cycle with some searching questions to explore the situation in detail. Have a look at the detailed stages and questions and the model as a diagram below. Notice that Gibbs asks the reflector to consider his/her feelings as well as observations.

  • Description: What happened? It's important simply to describe and not make any judgements at this stage nor reach conclusions. This step is simply about trying to describe as accurately as possible what happened.
  • Feelings: What were your feelings and reactions? Just a further list and description as in step 1.
  • Evaluation: What was good or bad about the incident? This is where you can apply your own judgement on what happened in your view that was positive or negative.
  • Analysis: What do you make of the situation? What was really happening? What were other people's perceptions of what happened? Do you agree with their views? If not, why not? Why did it happen this way? Look for causes and different opinions. You might want to apply theory if appropriate to help to understand the situation.
  • Conclusions: What can be generalised from your analysis in the earlier steps? What can be learned about your own personal approach or view? What is your overall feeling about the event? What else have you learned?
  • Action plans: What will you do differently next time? What plan will you put in place to take things forward based on your learning? What commitment do you have to the change and how will you evaluate the changes?

Activity 6.1

Blog: Have a look at the diagram of the Gibbs model below. Notice the important step of evaluation - so making judgements based on the observed facts and feelings of participants. How important is this extra step in your view?

Post your thoughts in the Chat room if you wish and discuss with other students. There will be an opportunity to compare these models and evaluate them for your own use in the next sessions.

Description, feelings, evaluation, analysis, conclusion, action plan, description.
Figure 4 :Reflective model adapted from Gibbs, (1988)

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Last modified: Tuesday, 1 Sep 2015, 14:26