How important do you think reflective practice is?

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Do you think reflection helps you to improve practice? How? What do you consider when you reflect on what you have done? Do you think about how you have done during or / and after you have done the task?
Many thanks in advance for helping me to have a discussion as part of my Continuing professional development assignment!
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Sophie Taylor

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Posted 1 year ago

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Becky Sharpe

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On looking at the 3 main theorists for reflection i find that i use part of Schon's theory without even thinking about it. For example if something went horribly wrong on really right then i always find i think on the spot about what is happening and why (reflection in action). I also find i would use Kolbs theory with his idea of the 6 steps cycle more relevant. His theory is much more in depth and allows a practitioner to really think about their strengths and weaknesses to allow for a thorougher reflection. 
In answer to your questions, i do think reflection improves my practice. For this course we have had to reflect on every activity and i have actually carried these out since with my improved ideas and they have had a vast difference. I tend to consider on what i think went wrong and why or what went right and why. was it something i can have changed or was it just the mix of children on the day etc. 

If you could reply with the same questions, i would be very grateful. 
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Mercy Clement

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Hi Becky, I think your taught is same as mine. Reflection really improves our practice and relating the theoretical perspectives on reflection to professional development enables us as practitioners have deeper understanding of the children's learning so as to nurture and stimulate their development.
This enables us refect on our own practice in a variety of ways in order to enhance our professional development and improve our practice.
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Mercy Clement

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Also Schon's theory is seen as being mor concerned with professional practice and the development of the expert practitioner and he tends to ignore the effect of emotions when considering reflection.

John Dewey is thought to be the founder of reflection as it relates to personal learning. Dewey highlighted that reflection in learning context is not just a passive recall of an event but a deliberate and active process and it is also about thinking of how to learn. He believed that reflection could be really useful for making sense of situations or events that we found puzzling or hard to explain.
He suggested that reflection for learning should include calling the event and then posing questions to explore why things turned out the way they did and what possible actions could have given a different outcome.

In looking at all this theories, they offer opportunities to reflect on how these theories, research and policies relate to distinct understanding of children's development and learning. It also enables us to explore different ways of understanding our practice and linking them with theories and policies. It again enables us as practitioners to think about ways of improving our practice.
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Sophie Taylor

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Hi Becky,
Thanks for your reply.
I believe that Kolb's cycle seems the most relevant, and is probably used by the majority on a more frequent basis without them realising. Gibbs' cycle seems more thorough, and probably more useful when trying to make a fuller professional plan (e.g. planning future career development). I also think Schon's 'reflecting in action' has its place in the early years as you often have to "think on your toes" and adapt during a situation as things arise (e.g. a child taking an activity in a different direction to that you had planned).
Reflection seems very important for professional development. It leads to the revision of practice and the acquisition of knowledge, improving job performance and probably making progression in a role more likely.
I agree with you that evaluating every activity completed during the course has continually improved my performance in planned activities. I always consider what was good, what went slightly wrong, how I could have reacted differently and how I would carry out the activity next time. 
Well done on nearly being at the end of the course!
Sophie

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Mercy Clement

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Hi Sophie, to me in looking at Kolb's theory he highlights an important point which is based on the fact that individual tend to have a preference for carrying out one part of the learning cycle over others. For example, theorising in the 'abstract conceptualization'. To him if an individual develops a very strong preference for one part of cycle, then they may neglect and become diskilled in the other areas.
This can cause the subsequent learning to become skewed and unbalanced. Therefore to him maintaining a level of competence in all parts of the learning cycle is essential to ensure comprehensive learning.