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ART OF REFLECTION

ART OF REFLECTION

By Irena van Nynatten-Janikowska (Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences)

The component Feeling is totally absent in our art of reflection at the universities of applied sciences or assessment courses in the Netherlands. When using the START-model (Situation, Task, Activities, Results and Transfer) we do not include students’ feelings when remembering an event and reflecting on it. The START-model is concrete, tangible and almost technical. Not really inspiring for students nor for lecturers. We lack the liberal approach. We definitely do not see a student as a “whole person”, which is so common in the U.S., especially in the excellence oriented education.

Many interesting tips can be found in the digitcal library of Regis University, Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, Denver, Colorado.

Weekly teaching tips from Dr. Ken Sagendorf (Regis University)

Reflection is often abstract and it is placed in the middle of the model CERAE (Context, Experience, Reflection, Action, Evaluation) between two seemingly concrete items. But, it is also the most important component as this is where students make sense of their learning and prepare for action. Reflection needs to be critical in order to have students truly understand themselves and how they are changing through their experiences. John Dewey, the famous American education philosopher, describe reflection as a process of inquiry. Carol Rodgers summed up Dewey’s criteria for critical reflection:

  1. Reflection is where students make meaning of their experiences so that they can approach subsequent experiences with a better understanding of relationships and connections to other experiences and ideas.
  2. Critical Reflection is a systematic, rigorous, and disciplined way of thinking. Its roots are in scientific inquiry.
  3. Reflection should happen in community and in interaction with others.
  4. Attitudes that value the personal and intellectual growth of oneself and others is required in reflection.

Reflection has three components: remembering, feeling and connection/understanding.

The first component is remembering. When remembering an event, you want to focus on what was said and its purpose. It is not quite time to add your own voice, but rather, try to remember an event exactly as it happened, without bias.

The second component is feeling. Now that you have recreated the event in your mind, it is time to bring your feelings to the surface. Did what was said make you angry? Did the volunteer work make you feel happy? Whatever the feelings are, it is important to open your mind to them and allow yourself to recall the experience as it was.

The third component is connection/understanding. It is in this third part where you want to begin to recognize why you feel the way you do and grow into deeper understandings of the effects of this experience.”

Reflection is based in opinions and how one feels. It needs to be iterative and the complexity and depth has to increase each time with some feedback. This idea is easy to understand and difficult to envision and enact in our courses. As you consider how the assignments and activities in your course are sequenced and build upon one another, follow this example of how one instructor scaffolds critical reflection assignments.

Sagendorf, K. 2014 http://libguides.regis.edu/c.php?g=53870&p=346895 (weekly tip) with his references to:
Rodgers, C.A. (2002). Defining reflection: Another look at John Dewey and reflective thinking. Teachers College Record, Volume 104, Number 4, pp. 842-866.
Esparza, K. (2014, October 22). What is reflection? Retrieved from From Student to Teacher: A College Student’s Experience at http://studenttoteacher.blog.com/.  
Watson, G. (2014, February 21). How we scaffolded critical reflection. Retrieved from Gavan P.L. Watson at: http://www.gavan.ca/academia/teaching/how-we-scaffolded-critical-reflection/

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