Theoretical perspectives on reflection to professional development

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Hello everyone,



As part of my Level 3 Early years Workforce course, I have been asked to research theoretical perspectives on reflection to professional development. I need to share my own findings on an online forum.  I have chosen John Schon’s continuous learning theory and Kolb’s learning cycle.

I find it is highly important to monitor my own practice as it provides me the opportunities to gage the efficiency of my practice and highlight all strengths as well as area that require improvement.

Often coming naturally when working with children, so many different situations arise and automatically I reflection how I handled, listened, reacted and what could have been done differently. By reviewing and adapting my practice this provides me the right tools and opportunities to implement new ideas and strategies in practice.

Researching and viewing the two theoretical perspectives on reflection in relation to professional development and how they have impacted on the way many practitioners view their practice.

 John Schon’s process of continuous learning theory is built on John Dewey’s work, which has linked reflection to professional development and to professional practice. He claims that by using reflection, we are able to recognise more extensive knowledge, this generally underpins what most of us do. From reviewing this we are able to enhance our practice and become increasingly knowledgeable and more experienced.

 

He identified 2 types of reflective methods....

1 ) Reflecting in action – where the practitioner thinks on their feet about what they are doing, how they handle situations and how successful they are with different activities/tasks. This type of reflection process enables practitioners to learn better with the in the moment experiences by continuously observing and collecting a wide range of information in the moment. By repeatedly carrying out this process of reflecting in action it can help to support and build upon previous experiences and progress on professional practice.

2) Reflecting on action- is another reflection where practitioners reflect afterwards and consider what went well and how they can improve or manage situations differently. This type of reflection incorporates previous experiences into the process of developing and learning to improve on their own practice and performance. Knowledge is gained the process of experience. This is apparent by the performance and quality obtained over each reflection to ensure the best practice is given and extended knowledge.

 

The next theorist that I researched and reviewed was Kolb’s experiential learning cycle 1984. Highlighting four 4 phases to his learning cycle. This allow practitioners to be able to reflect efficiently on their own learning. They will need to pass through the four measures, this can begin at any phase of the cycle. But in order for it be effective the complete cycle must be finished, in order to understand effective learning. Each one of his stages are similarly supportive of following into the next.

1) Concrete experience - where the practitioner does something such as teaching a child to make marks (this is from ‘doing’ or ‘experiencing’)

2) Reflective observation – is reviewing and reflecting (mentally processing and analysing) the experience that has occurred. This could be what worked well, or not so well, improvements that can be made.

3) Abstract conceptualisation – is concluding the experience and developing new ideas for next time, enhancing and progressing learning.

4) Active experimentation – where what has been learnt is executed, putting ideas into practice.

 

Kolb’s learning cycle is the most influential, his findings typically depend on trying and repeating actions for the best possible practice, suppose to a step by step approach. Really being cautious about each stage of professional deliverance and ways to incorporate the knowledge and experiences. 

I would really apricate your support and views with this. 

:)


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Gemma Barron

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Posted 8 months ago

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Sarah Bell

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Hi, I am coming up to the same unit, this is brilliant.

From what you have written I'd agree Kolb's theory is beneficial to not only our own practice but also could be applied to children's progress, when you consider planning, assessing the planning as you go to reflect on what went well and what could be improved next time to enhance development (also next steps). In effect, Kolb's theory of professional development os quite similar to this on a personal level to practitioners and improving our own practice.
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Gemma Barron

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Hi Sarah thanks for your reply. It really is insightful, and makes you think about your practice more to ensure that you are implementing the right amount. 
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Marie Priscilla Amadis

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Hi Gemma what you wrote about Kolb's theory I agreed and the idea is that using this cycle, I can think about areas of my practice that need to develop by reflecting on what I do and then putting into action changes, before reviewing them again. 

I also find Gibbs' reflective cycle, so the cycle works like this:
Following to a situation or incident, which could be positive or negative the adult think about what happened, their feelings and also evaluates it. They go on to analyse why it occurred and also what conclusion could be reached. Finally an action plan is drawn up.


1. Description - what happened?
2. Feelings - what were you thinking and feeling at the time?
3.Evaluation -  what was good/bad about he experience?
4.Analyses - What sense can you make of what happen?
5. Conclusion - what can conclude from this?
6.Action plan - What are you going to do now to change the way we work?

I think if we use this in our practice this would help us as practitioner to reflect and to make progress in our professional development.

What do think?
(Edited)
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Rhiannon Antonelli

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Hi, I am also completing my Level 3 Early Years course. I will be writing about the different theoretical perspectives that relate to CPD. I agree with what you have written about the theoretical perspectives of CPD. I think Kolb's learning cycle is a great way of describing a persons progress. The cycle is 
1. Concrete experience
2. Reflective observation
3.Abstract Conceptualization
4. Active experimentation

This basically means that you need to experience something, reflect on what you have experienced, think about what you would change and then try out new ideas. It is also a way that we record a child's progress. We give them an experience, reflect on the experience/activity, see what we would change and that try it out in a new way. 

However, I believe that Gibb's cycle of Reflection is a better portrayal of how we learn new things and progress. That is because I think it relates to me more personally as I think that repeating something again and again until you have learnt it is a great way of developing. His reflective cycle is a iterative model. This cycle consists of this: 


1. Description - what happened?
2. Feelings - what were you thinking and feeling at the time?
3.Evaluation -  what was good/bad about he experience?
4.Analyses - What sense can you make of what happen?
5. Conclusion - what can conclude from this?
6.Action plan - What are you going to do now to change the way we work?

These steps would be beneficial in relation to CPD as it gets you to reflect on what you have done and make a plan of what you will do next. 

Donald Schon's theory on continued professional development is also a great one. It states that you need to be able to reflect in order to engage in a process of continuous learning. This included two processes. 

1. Reflecting in action 
2. Reflecting on action

The first process is thinking as you go and reflecting on what you are doing and how well it is going. The second process is thinking after you have done something. This means that you will have to think about what worked well and what you can do better next time.

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Heather Butcher

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.........A Back up for a theoretical perspective on reflection for me ...... On reading 
Dr Hilde StephansenSENIOR LECTURER  ...There is always progression in criminology from what ever the perspective.  For me I am a writer, who likes to understand the issues of our social and political issues in our country and what we can do to help improve our country.   Working together is the the Key to success and lower crime rates

Hilde Stephansen joined the University of Westminster in 2014, having previously worked at Goldsmiths and the Open University. Hilde teaches on a wide range of modules in sociology, with a particular focus on research methods, and her research focuses on protest movements and citizen media.

Hilde became Course Leader for the BA Sociology and Criminology in 2017 and is excited to be working with two excellent course teams in sociology and criminology to help students get the most out of their degree. Criminology students at Westminster are really motivated and engaged, and come from a wide diversity of backgrounds, which means we all learn from each other in the classroom.....StoneBridge College Student, writer and Youth Worker in our community 

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