Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Helping Students Reflect

By now students are nearing or at the halfway point in OCCTH 526.  This practical experience is allowing them to apply Year 1 and Year 2 (Fall Term) academic course work and is promoting their clinical reasoning, analytical and evaluative skills.  According to the educator Professor David Boud, effective learning will not occur unless you reflect (McClure, n.d.).

One definition of reflection is that it is "a process of reviewing an experience of practice in order to describe, analyse, evaluate and so inform learning about practice" (McClure, n.d., p. 3).

There is so much that we could cover on this topic but perhaps, for this week's blog, we can offer a few resources and tips that may assist you in enhancing your students' abilities to reflect.

Consider Schon's (1983) Reflective Practice Cycle:

Consider Three Aspects of Reflection: Stages, Components, Time Dimensions (Plack et al, 2005):

1) Stages of Reflection include:
  • Returning to experience - describing an event or incident that stands out, including who, what when, where, why, and how.
  • Attending to feelings - both your own and perhaps others.
  • Re-evaluation - reappraise the current situation vis-a-vis past experiences.  Possibly link new concepts to pre-existing knowledge, begin to integrate new information, validate insights, thoughts, perception, and work this new meaning into your own way of being.
2) Components of Reflection may be:
  • Content based - exploring the problem/experience to better understand it and consider different perspectives
  • Process based - begin to explore other strategies available for use
  • Premise based - recognize and explore or critique own assumptions, values, beliefs, and biases.
3) There are 3 possible Time Dimensions:
  • Reflection on action (R-O-A) - after the action has been completed
  • Reflection in action (R-I-A) - occurs while in the midst of an activity and a result of conscious decisions made on the spot
  • Reflection for action (R-F-A) - anticipate situations and/or plans for future to improve the outcome

Journalling is suggested as a mechanism to facilitate reflection.  We encourage students to journal and it is a requirement in their mental health placements.  In a future blog we hope to focus on journalling as a reflective strategy.  Stay tuned!

McClure, P.  (n.d.). Reflection on Practice.  University of Ulster:
Plack, MM., Driscoll, M., Bliessett, S., McKenna, R., Plack, TP. (2005). A Method for Asssessing Reflective Journal Writing. Journal of Allied Health, 34:199-208.
Schon, D. (1983). The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think in Action. Basic Books: USA.