Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Activity 3 - Response to Finlay's (2008) Article.

Purpose of the article:
The purpose of this article is to explore ideas and debates around reflective practice and how it is currently used in professional organisations.

Defining reflective practice:
Finlay recognises many different meanings of reflective practice and that it means different concepts to different groups.  To me, I see reflective practice as a way of studying own experiences to improve the way things are done.
In her article she states that reflective practice is hard to do and equally hard to teach. It is even harder to do and teach effectively (p.15).

Reflective 'In' and "On' practice:
This section was interesting reading and thinking about how it related to me in the teaching profession.
Reflection-on-action (after-the-event thinking) and reflection-in-action (thinking while doing) became clearer as I related it to how I reflected on my own practice.
As I re-read this section it became clearer to me that Schons (1983) concept of reflective practice developing more from a "reflection-on-action" type of reflection to 'reflection-in-action' as teachers confidence and experience grow in teaching.
During discussion with provisionally registered teachers, I can see that reflection comes at the end of a lesson taught, at the end of the day or at the end of the week.  With experience, I think 'reflection-in-action' comes naturally and becomes relevant as one is continually reflecting on how the lesson and going and if the lesson needs to be adjusted to meet different needs.
When planning lessons and in fact during lessons, it is always important to think about practical and critical questions to improve your practice.  Some are outlined by Grushka, Hinde-McLeod and Reynolds in their 'reflection for action' section (p.4). For example; are these instructions clear?  Do I (as the teacher) know what I want my students to get out of the lesson?  Do I have specific learning intentions and are the success criteria co-written and understandable?

Reflection, critical reflection and reflexivity:  
Personally I found this section hard to understand.  The term 'reflexivity' is new to me and I had to do some searching to understand what the term meant.  I think it means the relationship between cause and effect.
This is something that I am going to have to continue to learn more about.

Modelling reflective practice:
Although the most commonly cited reflective model is Gibbs (1998), I found the model by Boud, Keogh and Walker (1985), easier to follow.  I liked the revisiting aspect that follows on to an outcome easy to incorporate into my thinking.  This model also aligns with our Elm Park School Inquiry model.

Critiquing reflective practice:
I found this section of the article very interesting.  Many of the points raised highlighted my concerns with reflective practice.
In particular:
Ethical concerns - Quinns (2000) point about students/practitioners appearing to have little choice about having to do reflection, as it is often a significant component demanded by those in authority, in my opinion is quite true.  Who are the reflections for?  Are these reflections helping or hindering a student or practitioners abilities as a teacher?  As Finlay points our "when required of individuals through learning and assessment exercises, reflections can end up being superficial, strategic and guarded" (p.14).
Professional concerns - If reflective practice is done badly, ineffectively or inappropriately, its value goes unrecognised or undervalued.  Mentors need to be encouraging and supportive to students.  But these mentors also need to be aware of positive critical reflections and be able to share their knowledge in a positive manner with their students.

Overall I found this article a difficult read.  It has given me a lot to think about in terms of what reflective practice means to me.
I know that reflection is an intrinsic part of teaching and learning, and that it directs the next steps in my lesson, but it is important and necessary for others to read my reflections?  More to think about.

Finlay, L. (2008). Reflecting on ‘Reflective practice’. Open University, Practice-based professional learning centre. Retrieved June 16, 2015, from http://www.open.ac.uk/opencetl/files/opencetl/file/ecms/web-content/Finlay-%282008%29-Reflecting-on-reflective-practice-PBPL-paper-52.pdf

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