Reflective Practice

Reflective Practice and Methods used
Moon defines reflective practice as “a set of abilities and skills, to indicate the taking of a critical stance, an orientation to problem solving or state of mind” (1999: 63). This encapsulates the wide range of activities associated with thinking about your learning. It has also been suggested that learners are reflecting in an educational sense when they analyse or evaluate one or more personal experiences, and attempt to generalise from that thinking. However, as Biggs points out, “a reflection in a mirror is an exact replica of what is in front of it. Reflection in professional practice, however, gives back not what it is, but what might be, an improvement on the original” (1987: 6).
Work by Schön and Kolb has given reflective practice currency in recent years, using and applying a basic principle of reflecting on experience to improve action and professional practice. However, this is not a new or original idea; it has been developed by education such as Dewey and Lewin and can be traced back to the work of Socrates and a form of learning through questioning and feedback. It forces us to question what it is that we know and how we come to know it. More currently, Claxton et al have suggested that “learning to learn, or the development of learning power, is getting better at knowing when, how and what to do when you don’t know what to do” (1996: 18). This lack of certainty forces the individual to examine the basis on which s/he believes something to be true.
When we speak of ‘reflective practitioners’ we usually refer to adult learners who are engaged in some kind of activity (often professional) which they can use to reflect on their strengths, weaknesses and areas for development.
Reflective practice is perhaps best understood as an approach which promotes autonomous learning that aims to develop understanding and critical thinking skills. Techniques such as self and peer assessment, reflective logs and personal...