Critical Analysis and Critical Incidents

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In this assignment, I will analyse and reflect on two critical incidents and draw conclusions relating to personal learning outcomes. The significance of critical analysis and critical incidents will briefly be discussed followed by the process of reflection using the chosen models.

A Critical incident is something we interpret as a problem or challenge in a context, rather than a routine occurrence. The incident is said to be critical because it is valuable and has some meaning. Pollard (2008) points out that reflection can help to develop the quality of teaching.

In addition, being reflective allows one to analyse and consider ways to improve professional development. Nonetheless, Cottrell (2017) argues that there can be barriers to critical thinking because some may assume that it is a negative activity.

Therefore, one may feel that it is only necessary to make positive comments rather than seeking for areas of development. Tripp (1993) advocates that reflective teaching is crucial because it enables one to evaluate the decisions that they have made and consider ways to develop and progress in their professional development.

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One incident in which I will critically analyse in my first essay using option A of BG choices. Was a time in which I confronted during my school placement and the other is option C which is a reason I got into teaching. I will reflect on the implication that my critical incidents have had on my practise and I will relate it to theory.

Therefore in addition, within one critical incident I will make reference to this analysis which has been outlined by Tripp (1993) using all 4 approaches and in my second incident I will analysis Gibbs, Reflective Cycle Model (1988) in which will examine the ways in which I can develop my teaching practice.

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Essay 1 " Option A Should Students with Special Educational Needs (SEN) Be Included in Mainstream Education Provision? In this essay I will discuss my critical incident that happened to me whilst I was on my school placement, I will be using Gibbs reflective cycle model (1998) to help me analyse the incident as I feel that this is a simple model, which is well structured and easy to use. The Gibbs (1988) model of reflection suggests that the process of reflection is systematic and follows a number of specific steps in order to be successful.

This model of reflection is a type of formal reflection, which draws on research and puts forward a theory as to how most effectively put into practice to process of reflection. The process can be broken down into six key steps:

  1. Description: this step explores the context of the event and covers fine details such as who was present at the event, where it happened and what happened.
  2. Feelings: this step encourages the reflector to explore their thoughts and feelings at the time of the event.
  3. Evaluation: this step encourages the nurse to make their own judgement about the event and to consider what went well and what went less well about the event.
  4. Analysis: this step delves even deeper into reflection on the event and encourages the nurse to break the event down into smaller episodes in order to facilitate analysis.
  5. Conclusions: this step explores the potential alternatives that may be used to deal with the situation that is being reflected upon.
  6. Action Plan: this is the final step in the reflection process.

The action plan is put into place in order to deal more effectively with the situation if or when it may arise again.

Step 1: Description

My incident happened when I was on my self-arranged placement. I was in a Year 2 class, it was in a class of 26 pupils and in that class, there was one child with Down Syndrome that had severe hearing and vison problems. Children with the condition are generally slower to learn skills such as reaching, sitting, standing walking and talking. Unfortunately for the child she also was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum disorder which affects her social interaction, communication, interests and behaviour. The child was unable to partake in any of the activities that the other children were doing and had to one on one care at all times, this will be a continuous thing throughout school life. During a lesson the SEND child would not sit down at a table and started climbing on the furniture, she then had to be led by the TA outside of the classroom for a walk.

Step 2: Feelings

I was confused when it happened I didn't understand why she was behaving this way. After I thought more about why this incident may have occurred and why she was in the class considering her circumstances. Not only was she disturbing other pupils. What was she getting from being in that class? Could she be placed in a school with specific help for her needs? (specialised help). Could she be somewhere with other pupils with the same ability / peers with same ability level? Or is she benefiting from that class to build her social awareness? And where all parties included when discussing what is best for the child? Some of the many questions that where going through my head at the time of incident.

Step 3: Evaluation

I was neither happy or unhappy, I was more confused with a bunch of questions. As I know how appropriate it was to ask specific questions on that child. This incident was something that was out of my control, as I lack experience with SEN it was not my job nor duty to take her elsewhere and quite frankly I would not have known what to do. As this left class without teaching assistant I helped out where I could with other children. I also, without bombarding the teacher asked questions such as child disabilities etc and anything she was able to disclose to be so maybe this would help my understanding more about the situation as on first impressions I would have said she should not be in mainstreamed school she needs extra supported help. I also during this week asked to go and spend time with child and TA during one lesson where she brought her into a private room to see if I could gain better understanding of the child. (FOR/AGAINST SEN CHILDREN BEING IN MAINSTREAMED SCHOOLS)

Step 4: Conclusion

Not to jump to conclusion based on disability, getting to build a relationship with each individual child and getting to know their back ground and capabilities. Why was she placed in the mainstreamed school? What is her back ground? What is she benefiting from it if any?

Step 5: Action Plan

My action plan is if this was to occur again and I was in a situation I would defiantly not jump to a conclusion without doing my research. If I am the given teacher of that child then it would be my responsibility to know as much information on the SEND child as possible to give them the best school experience if in mainstreamed or not. Its looking out for every child's best interest'. Disadvantages of using the reflective model;A more critical approach can be required. The questions provided by this model may be too general and in need of refinement to apply to a particular context.- Cycle may not take into account the difference between teaching practice and the requirements or expectations of learners.- (Jasper 2003) Explains that Gibbs' model comes from an educational context as opposed to a practical context.

However Ghaye and Lillyman (2006) state that it is miscontructed as ideal for only negative experiences. On the other hand they emphasise that it its strengths lies with the incorporation of knowledge, feelings and action in one learning cycle. Taking action is the key; Gibbs prompts to formulate an action plan. This enables to look at my practice and see what I would change in the future, how I would develop and improve my own practice.Advantages; - Encourages people to think systematically about the phases of an experience.- Useful basic questions to structure the evaluation of an experience; accessible and straight-forward- Encourages a clear description of an experience or situation


To conclude I believe that Gibbs reflective cycle gives a clear description stage by stage of your reflection of the incident. I will defiantly us this in the future when being reflective on my own work. As I believe Gibbs reflective cycle is clear and precise allowing for description, analysis and evaluation of the experience helping me to make sense of experiences and examines my practice.Gibbs cycle aims to challenge your assumptions, To explore different/new ideas and approaches towards doing or thinking about things, to promote self-improvement by identifying strengths and weaknesses and taking action to address them.

Updated: Apr 12, 2021
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Critical Analysis and Critical Incidents. (2019, Aug 20). Retrieved from

Critical Analysis and Critical Incidents essay
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