My research shows me that there are four elements about reflection and four types of reflective practice that I could choose from:
Descriptive: – no discussion beyond description with no evidence of reflection
Descriptive reflective: – description of events with some evidence of deeper consideration in relatively descriptive language. No real evidence of alternative viewpoints.
Dialogic reflection: – There is a ‘stepping back’ from the events and actions which leads to different levels of discussion. A sense of ‘mulling over’ events is shown. Evaluation of judgements and a consideration of possible alternatives for explaining and hypothesising about them is shown. The reflection is analytical or integrative, linking factors and perspectives.
Critical Reflection: – aware that actions and events may be ‘located’ within and explicable by multiple perspectives, but are located in and influenced by multiple socio-political contexts.
My reflections today are about the way in which the ‘reason for reflecting’ and the selected reflection tools themselves influence the type of reflections being used. Let me unpack my ‘reasons for reflecting’ in this blog and then look at the differences that have occurred in the nature of the reflections that I have posted over a period of time. I first began blogging in 2002 during my year as a Flexible Learning Leader – you’ll notice only one post in that year. I was testing the waters between 2004 and 2006 with a greater attention to blog posts, but interestingly no blogs in 2003, only one in 2004 and two in 2005. This was me reflecting on my work – but just for me – no desire for alternative viewpoints. Another interesting suite of posts (11 to be exact) happened in February 2009 and I was intrigued to go find out what was happening in my life then. A new grandchild – worthy of a post; and several postings from an Eportfolio Symposium – the point at which my eportfolio dreamtime began.
Early years of blogging reveal a descriptive reflective style and the latter years a dialogic reflective style. In the latter years I enlisted the aid of the Comments in WordPress to invite the opinions of others. And in 2010 utilised the commentary to add to my dialogic reflective practice. It has only been in the latter years where I have become more interested in creating and maintaining an eportfolio and the various tools I have learned to use for that purpose have changed the way in which I think about the: the types of artefacts I wish to include and display as well as the types of reflective practice that I include about them in the eportfolio. Much of my learning about the pedagogy of eportfolios has been from Dr Helen Barrett and I recently followed her lead and prepared yet another eportfolio for myself in a Google site. This process has helped me in the task of advising others about their eportfolios – the type of reflections they do – and the type of tool they choose.
In September I facilitated an online event in Elluminate about Reflective Practice for the Eportfolio Community of Practice (EpCoP) and engaged with the audience about their methods of reflective practice.
In October I will facilitate another online event in Elluminate about the Functionalities of Eportfolios and will begin a Voicethread and ask members of the EpCoP to contribute to it. The Voicethread activity will be my final presentation for the Facilitating Online program and will be one of the deliverables for that project in my capacity as Facilitator. So you could say ‘two birds with one stone’ – a smart approach to reflective practice – and hopefully a move towards Critical Reflection.