Last Updated 24 Jul 2020

Critical Reflection

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Reflection is one of the most important parts of any forms of learning, and is a great tool to be used to allow for greater learning. Reflection whether being a student at primary school, a university student or a member of the workforce has an effect on constructing knowledge about a person and the world around them. It is a vital part of any learning experience and will form the backbone in the transformation from study to application in a field.

Reflection can be defined as ‘taking a look back’ on experiences in most contexts, and looking back at the experience analysing and learning from it so therefore ‘constructing the knowledge’ and making the person more knowledgeable and informed. Critical Reflection is “the process of analysing, reconsidering and questioning experiences within a broad context of issues (e. g. , issues related to social justice, curriculum development, learning theories, politics, culture, or use of technology). [(Wertenbroch & Nabeth, 2000)] People learn by engaging in experiences that allow them utilise their senses and interact with a subject matter. In addition to this interaction, reflection allows for one to link a recent experience with an interrelated mental experience which allows for the development of ‘higher order thinking skills’. [Dewey (1933)] Many philosophers consider Dewey the contemporary inventor of reflection, as most of his ideas stem from those of many famous philosophers from the likes of Aristotle, Confucius and Plato. Read also Critical appreciation of the poem “Old Ladies’ Home”.

Critical Reflection In an article by Jack Mezirow (‘How Critical Reflection triggers Transformative Learning’) he states that “Critical reflection involves a critique of the presuppositions on which our beliefs have been built. Learning may be defined as ‘the process of making a new or revised interpretation of the meaning of an experience, which guides subsequent understanding, appreciation and action’. He implies by this statement that not just having an experience will somebody just learn from that but also reflecting on the experience and appreciating and understanding the experience in order to reap the full benefits of learning it. (Murray, Kujundzic, 2005) define four activities that are central to critical reflection.

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These are o“Assumption analysis” – This is step number one and involves a person to think in such a way that it challenges how they perceive certain cultural and social values and practices in order to see here impact on their daily lives o“Contextual awareness” – Which highlights the social and personal significance of historic and cultural contexts. o“Imaginative speculation” – Thinking of other ways to go about usual practices to challenge the current ways of knowledge. o“Reflective scepticism” – The interaction of all of the three above mentioned activities, and the ability to think about the subject at hand in order to determine an action or viability of a matter.

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