Facilitating Reflective Learning in Higher Education

By Anne Brockbank; Ian McGill | Go to book overview

4
Requirements for Reflection

We examine the term reflection more closely in this chapter. We are using the term reflection in two senses. First, the process or means by which an experience, in the form of thought, feeling or action, is brought into consideration, while it is happening or subsequently. Secondly, deriving from the first, the creation of meaning and conceptualization from experience and the potentiality to look at things as other than they are. The latter part of the second definition can embody the idea of critical reflection.

We will consider the key requirements for reflection or reflective practice to prevail. We name these as dialogue, intention, process, modelling and the notion of personal stance. In achieving this we will need to examine these terms. Each of these key terms and actions contribute to the effectiveness of reflection by the learner and therefore the quality of their learning.

Before examining these conditions we will refer to the idea of learning as embodying relationship.


Relationship

Underlying the capacity for teachers to engage in reflection with learners is the explicit recognition of the interaction as a relationship with learners. Without explicit recognition of the interaction as embodying a relationship, then in working with these conditions we may be less effective. We have already referred in Chapter 1 to the tendency in higher education for knowledge to be treated as a product where students may be detached rather than a connected process.

In recognizing the interaction for dialogue as constituting a relationship between teacher and learner and between learners we are saying that knowledge that is the material of the interaction comes through communication. As one writer has expressed it: 'and what is implicit in

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