Why L&D practitioners must engage in reflective practice and continue CPD. Analyse own values, beliefs and attitudes and the impact on their practice. Engaging in Reflective practice is associated with the improvement of the quality of care, stimulating personal, professional growth and the closing gap between theory between theory and practice. J Dewey was among the first to consider the questions of psychology and the theory of knowledge, I liked Brookfield (1998) as his concept explained discussing and talking and contemplating through the learner’s eyes. The appeal of the use of reflective practice is that as teaching and learning are complex, and there is not one right approach, reflecting on different versions of teaching, and reshaping past and current experiences will lead to improvement.
Schön’s (1983) reflection–in-action assists practitioners in making the professional knowledge that they will gain from their experience in the classroom an explicit part of their decision-making. Research base practices strongly supports the importance of the teacher/ facilitator being a highly trained, reflective professional. The importance of reflecting on what you are doing, as part of the learning process, has also been empathised by many investigators, for example the second stage of Kolb’s (1984) learning cycle, reflective observation.
Reflective observation can be an important tool in practice based professional learning settings where individuals learning from their own professional experiences, rather than from formal teaching or knowledge transfer, maybe the most important source of personal professional development and improvement. Another way to look at it is through Lewin/Kolb’s single-loop learning, and the Argyris and Schön concept double-loop learning which were mapped from the works of Ashby (1960) while working on cybernetics.
Single-loop learning is like a thermostat that learns when it is too hot or too cold and turns the heat on or off. The thermostat can perform this task because it can receive information (the temperature of the room) and take corrective action. Double-loop learning occurs when an error is detected and corrected in ways that involve the modification of an organization’s underlying norms, policies and objectives. Double loop learning uses feedback from past actions to question assumptions underlying current views. Davies (2012) explained the benefits to reflective practice Increased learning from an experience for situation
Promotion of deep learning
Identification of personal and professional strengths and areas for improvement
Identification of educational needs
Acquisition of new knowledge and skills
Further understanding of own beliefs, attitudes and values
Encouragement of self-motivation and self-directed learning
Could act as a source of feedback
Possible improvements of personal and clinical confidence
There are a number of ways to monitor your performance regularly, capturing incidental/experienced learning by keeping a self-reflective journal, by reading it over and over again I can begin to analyse achievements however small they seem and develop a greater level of self-awareness. This is where I try to recognise the needs to enhance my own learning so that a bigger benefit for the learner to progress and achieve something in their future. Firstly I identified my own preferred learning style as everyone learns in different ways. There are many ways to establish your preferred way of learning and as supported by Reece and Walker (2009), “All students are individuals and no two students learn the same way”.
To move forward in life, we all need to improve our ideas, broaden relevant knowledge and skills. Getting constructive feedback (for example, learners, peers, mentors and colleagues) are important aspects of reflection. Performance indicators of the organisation are identified, it shows whether I am current with the ways of facilitating and is it having an impact on learners. It will also show how I am performing, what is going well and where I need training or guidance i.e. learning Microsoft office at college, enabling me to have computing vocational skills. Utilising the S.W.O.T analysis where I am able to identify my strengths:
Imaginative and observant
I am able to identify my weaknesses:
Inability to refrain from helping
Being too talkative
This ensures me I am performing to the best that I can and that I am meeting all the standards and expectations within the organisations policies and procedures.
The guidance of a mentor is an advantage for they have had similar experiences and understanding of their issues with self-development. There will be times when I will need support and advice to move my career forward and achieve life goals, so it is best to have an effective relationship. Some factors that help to build an effective relationship;
Honesty and direct communication
Acceptance and flexibility
Some shared values
Willingness, to work through obstacles
“Mentoring is to support and encourage people to manage their own learning in order that they may maximise their potential, develop their skills, improve their performance and become the person they want to be” (E Parsole, The oxford school of coaching & mentoring)
I believe that all individuals are created equally, thus all have the ability to learn equally. Resisting from a classroom culture of control, with the correct amount of care and tutoring, learners would be able to participate in classes with simplified understanding. Providing adequate feedback is an important aspect, I always try to rephrase a question with learners so not only do they understand and try to answer correctly, they feel great when they receive feedback which motivates them to learn. When I provide learners with time and space to be aware of their own knowledge and their own thinking, student ownership increases. Research shows that metacognition can be taught (Visible Learning, 2009). Using reflective practice I am able to instil values that the learner can use in their life and work.