1 Reflective Practice: What, Who, When, Where, & How A Brief Overview of theWork in Progress Discussion Paper No.4Reflective Practice: A Way of Learning for Community Development PractitionersPrepared by Liz McDougallMarch 2014
2 Reflection: What is it?Reflection, in its simplest form, is when we give something “serious and careful thought”.‘Thinking carefully’ is not only about what happened but deeply exploring experiences, giving meaning and examining “possibilities and options” to inform action.Reflection is not an end point but a continuous process.
3 Reflective Practice: What is this? Reflective practice is what practitioners do when they actively engage in an intentional process of learning.It is an iterative (repeating) process of reviewing a “practice experience in order to describe, analyze, and evaluate to inform and change future practice”.Reflection involves:self-awarenessunderstanding the experienceapplying/transferring the learning from one situation to anotherNOTE: This process does not always offer a solution but brings understanding and clarity to situations that could otherwise remain an obstacle to practice.
4 Who, When, Where?Reflection is not a new concept. We do it all the time in our work and in our everyday experiences. No one discipline owns reflection.Reflection can happen at any time, in any place, and with anyone. It can be:undertaken prior to action (anticipatory reflection), during action (reflection-in-action), and/or after the action (reflection-on-action)done privately (self-reflection), with another person (one on one) or in a group (guided group reflection)applied to adverse events/experiences as well as positive ones
5 Why Do It?Overall, being a reflective practitioner can enhance community practice.It gives us a lens from which to view the complexity of our community work and grants us the space to pause and critically analyze our practice, exploring:where things are at in our day-to-day workwhat directions hold promisewhat may need to be reconsideredThis sharpens our capacity to view community change as it unfolds and allows our practice to be flexible and responsive.
6 Why? Some Other ReasonsSpecifically, reflective practice has the potential to enhance our professional and personal growth.Examples of professional growth – bridge the theory/practice gap, foster the application of knowledge, permit the resolution of practice-related concerns through a deliberate process.Examples of personal growth – improve self-esteem and self-awareness and increase interpersonal effectiveness.
7 Reflective practice tells us that “not paying attention to our behavior is not an option…our behaviour has a major impact on those we work with; reflection, adaptation and changing is a necessity in practice”.Reflective practice provides a mechanism to challenge our established ways of thinking and practicing (“habits of the mind”) that we may not be aware of.It gives us permission to step back and take a closer look at the role(s), beliefs, values and assumptions we bring to situations and their impact.It may lead us to change our perspective and/or undertake different actions in situations.
8 How is it Done? There is no one right way to reflect. Reflective practice is active and experimental – the best way to learn about reflective practice is by doing it! HOW TO GET STARTED?read some literature on reflectionfind some-one (or a group) to reflect withuse a reflective model/framework to help you get startedpractice reflective writingwork on your basic reflective practice skillsKEY INGREDIENT: Have the courage to challenge and change.
9 Basic Reflective Practice Skills 5 basic skills underlying reflective practice:descriptionself-awarenesscritical analysisevaluationsynthesisThese skills provide a helpful guide to review values, challenge assumptions and consider broader social, political, and professional issues.
10 Reflective Model/Framework REMINDER:There is not a standardized approach to reflection, no one right way (no recipe or formula). However, using a reflective model can stimulate and frame the reflection experience.CAUTION:Don’t get boxed in or restricted by a model. A model is simply a guide that helps with exploration, regardless how one chooses to reflect.KEY:What matters is going though the entire reflective process.Don’t stop at describing the experience, don’t get marred in endless analysis, don’t jump to solutions.The richness comes with moving though the process.
11 Reflective Practice Pilot Model ?So What?What?Now What?GeneralizingDeveloping real-world principles + understanding(Synthesis)SharingExchanging reactions + observations(Self-Awareness)ExperiencingThe activity phase(Description)ApplyingPlanning effective use of learning(Learning in Action)ProcessingDiscussion patterns(Evaluation & Critical Analysis)
12 Sample Template for Reflective Practice (For Template see Work in Progress Discussion Paper No. 4, pg. 27)This template is based on a simple ‘WHAT’, ‘SO WHAT’ and ‘NOW What’ model.Questions under each heading:provide prompts or cues to deconstruct and reconstruct experiencehelp to understand what is brought into practicehelp analyze experiences from many angles to make sense of what happenedact as a springboard for dialogueallow for both structured and creative reflectionguide deeper exploration of practiceREMINDER: No need to answer all questions, there is no set order. Go with the flow - the process is fluid!To locate original sources for quotes in this PowerPoint, please refer to the Work in Progress Discussion Paper No. 4 and its bibliography– thank you.
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