One Size does not fit all.
I agree with Findlay who suggests that different models are needed at different levels for individuals within an organisation relevant to that organisation to use in different contexts. However we have to be careful that they do not turn into checklists which then become less reflective and more mechanical. If an organisation chooses to use only one model then I believe the way to avoid this is by people working with colleagues in groups of 2-3 when critically reflecting on their practice. The models need to ensure that general insight, personal growth and professional development occur as a result of this personal reflection.
The New Zealand Teaching as Inquiry cycle supports Schon's idea of reflection-on-action and reflection-in-action.
This learning inquiry takes place both during and after teaching as I monitor my students’ progress towards the identified learning outcomes and reflect on what this tells me. I use this new information to decide what to do next to ensure continued improvement in student achievement and in my own practice.
Before I read this article I never really gave credence to the importance of my affective skills needed for sound reflection. Together with cognitive skills they combine in the process to avoid superficial responses to the critical, questioning and challenging elements of critical reflection. Put forward for consideration by Findlay is the suggestion that you also run the risk of the reflection becoming self-justified, colluding with existing practice and rationalising it. Atkins and Murphy's model supports this deeper level of reflection.
In the New Zealand Teaching as Inquiry cycle this is not explicitly mentioned therefore it could be seen as not as important. The way to overcome this is to not work independently, but work with other colleagues to support one another in our inquiries and nurture critical reflection. We all have basic beliefs and assumptions that guide our thinking and behaviour and we need other people to provide us with different perspectives and to share their ideas, knowledge, and experiences to challenge us in our reflections. This is particularly important for new teachers who have little experience to draw upon and may initially also need a more explicit model like that of Atkins and Murphy to go alongside the Teaching as Inquiry model.
In Findlay's article Loughran points out that in order for change to happen good reflective practice is done through practical experiences and practice. This endorses the coaching that happens in my school across departments, as teachers watch a colleagues lesson and later sits with the colleague to reflect on that lesson. The coach is also supported by a professional from outside the school who assists the coach to learn how to work collaboratively with the colleague and bring the skills of listening, questioning and paraphrasing to the conversations about practice and to make meaning of classroom observation data. This coaching is cooperative and reflective, not just telling or following advice. The power is that the locus of control for the learning needs is with the teacher.
Models should be used to trigger broader reflection not just be an end in themselves.
Atkins, S. and Murphy, K. (1993) ‘Reflection: a review of the literature’, Journal of Advanced Nursing, vol. 18, pp. 1188–1192.Atkins, S. and Murphy, K. (1993) ‘Reflection: a review of the literature’, Journal of Advanced Nursing, vol. 18, pp. 1188–1192. Retrieved from: http://www.open.edu/openlearn/ocw/mod/oucontent/view.phpid=14520&am...
Finlay, L. (2008) Reflecting on reflective practice. PBPL. Retrieved from http://www.open.ac.uk/opencetl/files/opencetl/file/ecms/web-content...
Ministry of Education. (2007). The New Zealand Curriculum Retrieved from: http://nzcurriculum.tki.org.nz/Curriculum-stories/Case-studies/Teac...
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