Extract from Issue#32 of Teaching Tuesdays@CSU
All issues of Teaching Tuesdays can be accessed through the folder at this link
How to Deepen Learning through Critical Reflection
By: Dr Barbara Jacoby
Source: https://www.magnapubs.com/magna-commons/?video=3039 (87 minutes)
engaging and very practical webinar provides teaching strategies, case
studies and practical examples to promote reflective practice for
students at all stages of their degree study. Dr. Jacoby draws from the
literature and from her own experience in teaching critical reflection.
introduction provides definitions of critical reflection and argues for
its benefits for professional practice and lifelong learning in our
QUOTE: … critical reflection is the powerful process of making meaning out of a purposeful combination of experiences and academic content. It adds depth and breadth to meaning by challenging simplistic solutions, comparing varying perspectives, examining causality, and raising more and more challenging questions.The Four Cs of Critical Reflection is one practical model that is proposed, based on the work of Eyler, Giles & Schmiede (1996). It provides a framework for designing high quality reflections aligned to subject learning outcomes. Critical reflection is:
- Continuous – occurs throughout the course, not just at the end – before, during and after experiences.
- Connected – builds bridges between content, personal reactions and first-hand experiences.
- Challenging –
avoids simplistic conclusions, examines causality, raises deeper
questions – but not so challenging that it is overwhelming, and students
- Contextualised – form and process are guided by context (setting, critical incidents) – includes a long discussion on contexts.
It is also important to clarify with students that high quality critical reflectionis not:
- A didactic retelling of what happened
- Only an emotional outlet – although consideration of emotional responses is helpful/important
- A time for soap-boxing
- A neat & tidy exercise that brings closure – rather it can be ongoing, messy, with more openings than closings.
Modes of Reflection
In this practical section of the webinar, Dr Jacoby expands on common modes of critical reflection with examples that can be used across various disciplinary contexts.
• Telling – benefits apply both to the listener and to the speaker
groups; Structured dialogue; Class discussions; Presentations; Teaching
a class; Story telling; Preparing real or mock testimony; Poetry slam
• Writing – challenges students to organise their thoughts and produces a permanent record
logs – e.g. the double entry journal; Problem analysis; Case studies;
Essays; Theory-to-practice paper; Portfolios; Press releases; Drafting
legislation; Letters to politicians, the editor, self; Published
• Activities – (at the 30 min mark)
play – e.g. victims of domestic violence case study; Problem-based
learning; Interviews; Program development; Yarn web; Forced choice
exercise – includes extended explanation, and examples
• Media – can capture subtle emotional truths – students can literally “see” their own growth
- Photo or music collages; Musical compositions; Drawings, paintings; Collective murals; Digital stories
Critical Reflection: 4 Steps
with strategies and tips and examples from specific disciplines (at 44 min mark)
- Identify desired learning outcomes
- Design reflection activities to achieve learning outcomes
- Engage students in reflection
- Assess learning through critical reflection
Examples and case studies of the use of the four steps:
– Psychology of domestic violence
– Clinical nursing practice
– Contemporary art theory
– Chemistry subject
FOOTNOTE: Also worth watching is the webinar Dr Jacoby presented more recently, Designing and Teaching a High-Impact Capstone Course in which she presents her student experiences with critical reflection in her capstone subject Now What? Composing a Life of Meaning and Purpose.
J., Giles, D., Schmiede, A., (1996). Practitioner’s guide to reflection
in service-learning: Student voices and reflections. Nashville, TN:
Web resources listing strategies and activities:
Service-Learning: Using structured reflection to enhance learning from service. Campus
Facilitating reflection: A manual for leaders and educators. J. Reed & C. Koliba.