Reflection is an evaluation process to help verify if current practice is effective and if not, how to adapt and modify it.
It “undergrids the entire pedagogy of portfolios”. Dialogue and discussion are the undercurrents that keep reflection afloat. If reflection does not encourage a dialogue that includes reasoning and judgment about knowledge, it is unlikely to lead to in-depth learning.
Reflection is a form of mental processing – like a form of thinking – that is used to fulfill a purpose or to achieve some anticipated outcome. It is applied to relatively complicated or unstructured ideas for which there is not an obvious solution and is largely based on the further processing of knowledge and understanding, as well as on emotions that already exist.
A teacher may construct her portfolio based on the reflective practices and outcomes of a successful educational programme.
When we use the word 'reflection' we usually want to describe a process of thought that is active and careful. It is an activity in which people 'recapture experience' and evaluate it. It involves three aspects:
• Returning to experience - that is to say recalling or detailing salient events.
• Connecting with feelings - this has two aspects: using helpful feelings and removing or containing obstructive ones.
• Evaluating experience - this involves re-examining experience in the light of one's aims and knowledge. It also entails integrating this new knowledge into one's conceptual framework.
There are two types of reflection:
• Reflection on action: This type of reflection is at a distance from the actual events that required reflection. It is situated on an abstract level, it can be generalized, and it is possible to express the reflection. This type of reflection involves descriptions, analysis and evaluation of occurred events, decisions made etc. Therefore reflection on action gives the reflective individual an opportunity to get wiser.
• Reflection in action: This type of reflection is tied to the context in which an event occurs. The reflection is often very tangible and have a tendency to appear as implicit knowledge/tacit knowledge.
Reflective practices Mean to create learning environments that are open, collaborative and support learning
Art of effective reflection
Reflective thinking is directly proportional to effective teaching. A daily diary or notes along with the daily planner should be incprporated as a practice as esssential as writing notes or comments after a class.
The art of effective teaching draws heavily on the skill of critically reflective thinking.
For the effective teacher, each instructional opportunity and each interaction with learners serves as a tool for continuous improvement as the teacher reviews, evaluates and enriches his/her understanding of the experience for future performance.
The teacher is repsonsible to create a reflective student. Learning from experience is one of the easiest and most effective ways to achieve this purpose. Teachers can require that students keep journals or publicly discuss different events such as meetings, projects or even personal relationships. Teachers must take into consideration the different learning styles of their students, as well as their different interests and needs.
A well developed description provides basic information about the activity or experience by answering the following questions:
• What was the setting in which the lesson was taught and who were the students?
• When was the lesson taught?
• What philosophy or research base guided your decisions in preparing the lesson?
• What were the intended learning outcomes of the lesson?
Questions to answer through Reflection
A well-developed teacher reflection will answer questions such as:
- What were the intended learning outcomes?
- What were the essential strengths and weaknesses?
- What specifically might have been changed to improve the learning outcomes?
- What were the unintended and unanticipated learning outcomes?
- What specifically was learned as a result of developing, planning and teaching?
- What factors negatively or positively affected the success of the programme?
There are few key principles for effecive reflection:
1. Outcomes must be specified precisely. If outcomes are specified too broadly it may be difficult to devise appropriate reflection activities and to develop appropriate assessment techniques.
2. Before designing reflection, teachers must select appropriate reflective activities and consider the question: How can reflection be used to enhance a particular outcome? Activities may be self appraisal, discussion, action research based or peer assessment.
3. Finally, teachers must consider how the outcomes will be assessed.
Now as teachers and teacher educators are we indulging in such practices or not? We need to delve into the indepth analysis of the practice and make it more user friendly and collaborative in approach. We may use the e-mails for this purpose and interact to share experiences which I think will form the major premise of a reflective practice and self assessment assessment.