Ben R. Atkinson

EDU710 Week 2 – Reflective Practice

EDU710 Week 2 – Reflective Practice

This week, I have learnt much more about the role of reflective practice in Higher Education. The two readings from Moon and Scales et al. were very useful in helping me to assimilate my own ideas on what reflection is, against my experiences of teaching and learning practice.

The idea that reflective practice provides some form of outlet for emotion is a particularly interesting one. It can be all too easy to have very strong emotional feelings in the time after a teaching session has finished, be they positive or negative, and as Moon points out, funnelling this emotion into the art of reflection, is far more appropriate than letting it infiltrate other areas which may not be as appropriate. Similarly, reflection should not be considered an ‘add-on’, instead, it should inform all aspects of teaching and learning practice in order to facilitate improvement and personal growth. In this way, I believe reflection is always a positive thing allowing you to see negatives in a new light and learn from them and take comfort in the positives that can be identified. All of this can be linked to the idea of ’embracing change’ as suggested by Scales et al. where reflection can only be successful when it takes place in all areas ‘in action, on action and for action’. You must be open to what reflective practice will tell you and use this for ‘development and meaningful conscious action’. All of this should be done with due consideration of emotional intelligence.

Image of a brain in a light bulb to illustrate best practice.

Obviously engaging in reflective practice will have a meaningful impact on the students that you are supporting as the process encourages you to continuously improve. In m own experience, this has certainly been the case and yet I don’t feel as if I have paid enough heed to reflective practice in the past. I do tend to get het up on the negatives of any session I deliver and should focus more on funnelling these worries into a positive re-assessment of the learning activity itself so that it is better the next time I deliver it. Similarly, setting aside enough time to engage in reflective practice is very important. As I’ve already mentioned, it cannot be seen as an ‘add-on’ and should inform everything that we do as practitioners within Higher Education. Thinking more about the students I support, the platform used for reflection takes on a much bigger role as, of course, all students will have a different approach to learning. Personally, I find writing a blog post very challenging and so the idea of keeping this CRJ each week is a worrying one, others may find the process cathartic, or work better within the bounds of a discussion board with a more conversational approach.

Overall, I have been surprised by my own response to reflective practice. I knew that I didn’t engage in it enough before starting this PGCHE course, but now that I have spent a week focusing on reflection I find that I am not nearly as nervous about it as I thought I would be. In fact, I am very much looking forward to the opportunity of embedding elements of reflective practice into my micro-teaching session. This is something I wouldn’t have thought possible at the start of the course, given that I normally feel as if I don’t have time to reflect on my practice. In terms of challenges, I feel a big discussion point would be the different types of learning and the platforms that are associated with them. This feels like such an expansive topic and I am hopeful that future weeks of study on this module will allow me to take a deeper approach to this area of reflective practice.

Overall, I hope that the main takeaway from week two will be that I engage more deeply in my own personal reflection after each teaching session I deliver. Keeping this CRJ is a good place to start as it allows me to consolidate my thinking in one place, but I know there is more I can do. Moon and Scales et al. suggest some good approaches, particularly for those new to or unsure about reflective practice and I hope to make use of them in my own future reflection. More than anything I am excited to try embedding elements of what I have learnt about reflective practice, in the planning of my micro-teach session which will start to take shape through the rest of this module.

About The Author

Ben R. Atkinson is a writer, musician, and presenter who can be heard broadcasting on radio stations around the world, is known for his novels, radio dramas, and who writes and performs his own music in the country/folk genre. Ben is currently studying for his PhD in Ethnomusicology at the University of Lincoln in the UK.