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‘All that hard work I did ought to count’

‘All that hard work I did ought to count’ Creme (2010)

A student, habitually wrote up her reading in a descriptive formulaic fashion without exploring the content or the process she was going through. She felt grieved that she was marked down having felt she had put in the effort. The effort, despite guidance, had not delivered what was being marker.

Some further notes:

Academic reflection is … more structured and more formal than what we will term ‘informal’ reflection. Moon (1999)

There is no point in defining reflection in a manner that does not relate to the everyday use of the word if further confusion is not to be created. Moon (2001)

  • It is an everyday, ever apparent process that is over theorised. It is simpler than academics want it to be.

‘Reflection is a simple process but with complex outcomes that relate to many different areas of human functioning.’ Moon (2005:4)

  • Surely the outcomes are meant to be simple and finite, while the process can be complex.

Reflection is theorised in so many different ways that it might seem that we a looking at range of human capacities rather than apparently one. Moon (2001)

  • It can be misinterpreted and misunderstood.

Dewey (1933) saw reflection as a specialised form of thinking. ‘a kind of thinking that consists in turning a subject over in the mind and giving it serious thought’

  • Like composting.

Dewey defined reflective thought as ‘active, persistent, and careful consideration of any belief or supposed form of knowledge in the light of the grounds that support it and the further conclusions to which it tends’ (Dewey 1933: 118)

The cycle revolves with new learning undergoing active experimentation and ‘recycled’ through new experiencing. In this way what was a cycle becomes a spiral (Cowan 1998).

  • Or flying a Peter Powell Stunt Kite.
  • [Has this got anything to do with Spiral Dynamics: Mastering Values, Leadership and Change. 1996?] No, though the thinking developed as a management practice sounds similar. See where Google gets you? Call this serendipity. Our Cowan is Cowan, J. 1996)

A kind of cognitive ‘housekeeping role’ as well as generating new learning (Moon, 1999).


Cowan, J. and Creme, P. ((1998)) New forms of student writing in social anthropology. Learning Matters 8 , pp. 11-12.

Creme, Phyllis (2010) ‘Should student learning journals be assessed?’, Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 30:3, 287 – 296

Dewey, J. (1933) How We Think. A restatement of the relation of reflective thinking to the educative process(Revised edn.), Boston: D. C. Heath.

Moon, J (1999) Reflection in Learning & Professional Development: Theory and Practice.

Moon, J (2001) Reflection in Higher Education


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