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Nothing is sacrosanct. I believe in change.

Nothing is sacrosanct. I believe in change.

I understand the value of reflection as a formal or informal process, serving a purpose beyond a person’s own ‘giving it some thought,’ even to its use in work and when studying. The process can be made easier to gauge if there are parameters, best of all if the reflective process is instigated by a common set of questions, and in the work setting managed by the HR department.

Should practises change to mirror society’s change or should it stay the same so we can continue to actually measure/quantify that change from whatever historical base-line we choose?

Both all, or whatever works … or typifies the culture of the institution, society or individual. I feel still there is a gap in my knowledge of learning theory; studying this requires me to look at the history of learning. In relation to the ‘front line’ of learning, ‘e-learning’, any tool, old, new or adapted that facilitates its possibilities is of worth. Reflection, especially given the inclination of so many to do a version of this in blogs and forums, has its place. But do students need to know it is happening? What if they follow a set of questions? Or listen to a podcast and respond with the spoken word?

The term ‘reflection’ has become diluted; its myriad of meanings (a way Jenny Moon describes it) leads to the confusion. How humans think is dictated by the meanings (words) they attribute to objects and ideas. Hitchings (2008:208) remarks that ‘As knowledge increases, vocabulary has to increase too.’ For me the word ‘reflection’ has been hijacked by educators (e-educators especially) and I struggle therefore to impose on it their meaning when I have my own. My take is that of Nabakov, with reflection requiring a study of memories, not ideas, of events and feelings. There is no attempt to change ways of doing things as a result of such reflection, but just to enjoy the moments for what they were and ponder how different things may have been.

“The more you love a memory the stronger that memory becomes.” Nabakov.

Whereas the academic meaning for the term is more analytical, pragmatic, and focused and if it is going to be assessed then as we know, students will be led not by their quest for ‘truth,’ which reflection should mean, but a quest for marks which if it means a deviation from the path I would take it would require dalliance with ‘untruths.’

You say that, ‘the choice is the individual’s and the model does not in itself impose restriction’ so why are people so touched when they score well on their reflective writing but so prickled when they are marked down? And might I surmise that the more heartfelt the reflection, and therefore the less it is on brief, the poorer the mark that is received?

How can a tutor judge what matters most in a piece of reflection to the person writing it?

I’d hope a therapist would make a fair guess, but their professional stance would be to invite their client (or patient) to offer their own judgment. As reflection is self-analysis I suggest that students give themselves a mark, the tutor gives a mark, and the final result is found by splitting the difference.

Playing devil’s advocate? Offering every kind of resistance (Pressfield, 2003) instead of writing a piece of reflection myself? Probably. Able to understand what H808 requires and deliver? I hope so.

We’ll see.


Hitchings, H (2008) The Secret Life of Words. How English became English.

Moon, J (2005) Guide to busy academics No. 4. Learning through reflection.

Pressfield, S (2003) The War of Art. Winning the Creative Inner Battle.

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