MOSEP Module 2/reading
|MOSEP structure for module development: Sub-Module 2||Overview Structure Activities Resources|
In order to understand the role of reflection in the ePortfolio development process, here is a collection of background materials. The most important aspects relate to:
1. Understanding Reflection:
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.
2. Reflection aspect of ePortfolio.
The reflection aspect of a portfolio is in many ways the most important part of the process. Students are given the opportunity to look back at their work and see the changes that have occured as they develop over time. Students also need the most guidance from the teacher during the reflection process and the resulting actions prompted by the process. It is at this point that students look critically at their own work and decide whether or not each individual piece is representative of the student's knowledge, skills, and abilities as a whole.
3. Prerequisites for effective reflection
- 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.
- Before designing reflection, teachers must select appropriate reflective activities and consider the question: How can reflection be used to enhance a particular outcome?
- Finally, teachers must consider how the outcomes will be assessed.
4. Practicing Reflection: how often, how much and why
Reflective practice is simply creating a habit, structure, or routine around examining experience. A practice for reflection can vary in terms of how often, how much, and why reflection gets done. At one end of the spectrum, a work group could go on an extended retreat after a long period and could spend a great deal of time documenting and analyzing the learning that has emerged since it last took the time to stop and deeply examine its work. At the other hand, a person could reflect very frequently, bringing a high level of awareness to her thoughts and actions, but rarely stopping to look across what she has noticed to consider what could be learned by exploring her patterns of thinking across different situations. This spectrum hints at the many diverse ways that reflective practice can be structured. Reflection can be practiced at different frequencies: every day, at long intervals of months or years, and everything in between. Reflection can also vary in depth—from simply noticing present experience to deep examination of past events—as well as in the numerous purposes it can serve, such as examining patterns of thinking, documenting learning, realigning daily activity with deeper values, developing shared thinking, and many other objectives. Designing a practice of reflection means both clarifying the purposes it needs to serve and identifying opportunities to locate reflection in our work that are realistic and yet occur at the right intervals and with sufficient depth to be meaningful. Maintaining a practice of reflection, however it is structured, transforms the possibility of learning from our work into a reality.
5. Reflection with peers vs. individual reflective practice
If reflective practice “illuminates what the self and others have experienced” is this an individual or collective activity? It can be either; individuals and groups alike can engage in reflective practice around their work. Whether you choose to learn from experience at the individual or on a group level depends on your learning agenda. Is an organization interested in documenting the learning embedded in its work over the past several months? If so, the experiences its members focus on and the questions they pursue in their reflection process will be about their collective practice. Is an individual needing to make sense out of a week’s worth of meetings, frustrations, and turning points in order to decide how to proceed with a project? Then she might explore her experience of the significant moments and key issues that are connected to the decision she needs to make. Individual and collective reflection need not be sequestered from one another—in fact, they can be mutually supportive of each other inside of the same learning process. For example, in a reflection group focused on individual practice, each person takes a turn recounting a key event and getting feedback on analyzing it, naming assumptions, making connections, and formulating critical questions that emerge. In one version of an organizational learning process, each person identifies significant events from the perspective of their role, allowing the group to craft collective learning through exploring the connections across those multiple perspectives. Each of these reflection processes is oriented differently according to the aim of the specific learning needs, yet each relies on retaining the complexity of the differences in the group. And although both processes are oriented around inquiry into experience in order to learn, each will yield different types of questions. The kinds of questions that emerge from reflection aimed at individual experience tend to relate to the development of practitioner thinking, whereas reflection oriented around collective work often yields questions connected to aligning actions with organizational values and goals.