A load of research has been done on learning and reflective practice and its effectiveness on the practitioners and one of the first people to research reflective Practice was Donald Schon in his book “The Reflective Practitioner” in 1983. Schon was an influential writer on reflection and had two main ways of identifying reflection and they were reflection in action and reflection on action. “The practitioner allows himself to experience surprise, puzzlement, or confusion in a situation which he finds uncertain or unique. He reflects on the phenomenon before him, and on the prior understandings which have been implicit in his behaviour. He carries out an experiment which serves to generate both a new understanding of the phenomenon and a change in the situation”. (Schon 1983)
Reflective practice has been described as ‘paying critical attention to the practical values and theories which inform everyday actions, by examining practice reflectively and reflexively. This leads to developmental insight’. (www.wikipedia.org, 3rd Jan 2011). Reflection is an important part of the learning process and is needed for effective learning. Reflection is a form of self-awareness and learners that can reflect are better able to understand themselves and the learning process. Reflection can help us control over our own learning and achievements. Reflection leads to learning from experience and outlines strengths and weaknesses; by completing action plans to work on weaknesses will lead to continued learning and improvement. Rogers (1996,) states “Reflection on experience to action forms a large part of the learning process”. The process of reflection helps the practitioner to assess, understand and gain knowledge through experience leading to potential improvement and change. This is a positive process that lets me go over and examine and then evaluate so I can develop as a learner and a youth worker. The ability to reflect on practice helps me to consider my needs and then I plan to meet those needs so I can develop my innovative and learning skills. To assist the learning process, reflection can be a powerful tool to help identify strengths and weaknesses. To develop new skills as a learner I must reflect upon experience to access my own performances and plan for my future needs. Reece and Walker (2000, p.7) states “What is not so natural but very important is that reflection takes place to ensure learning from experience takes place”. To reflect upon my own experiences and to develop my own needs I have evaluated as a learner and as a youth worker. First I must identify 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 (2000, p.9) “All students are individuals and no two students learn the same way”. It is important to indicate my learning style in order for me to achieve my highest potential. To identify my learning style will outline my strengths and weaknesses. Rogers (1996, p.116) states that “Learning takes place in a number of different domains and different strategies are called into play to cope with different types of learning”. Identifying my strengths and weaknesses is important so that I can reflect on the outcome and then improve my skills” Kolb (1984) provides one of the most useful descriptive models available of the adult learning process. He suggests that there are four stages in learning which follow on from each other. Concrete experience is followed by reflection on the experience on a personal basis. This may then be followed by the application of general rules describing the experience, or the application of known theory to it and hence to the experimentation, leading in turn to the next concrete experience. All this may happen in a flash, overnight, over days, or over weeks and months, depending on the topic, and there may be a wheel within wheels process at the same time....
References: Thompson N. “People Skills second edition” Hampshire and 175 Fifth Avenue New York, Palgrave Macmillan (2002)
Thompson S. & Thompson N. “The Critically Reflective Practitioner” Hampshire and 175 Fifth Avenue New York, Palgrave Macmillan (2008)
Redmond, Bairbre. (2004) Reflection in Action Developing Reflective Practice in Health and Social Services. Aldershot, England: Ashgate
Share, P. & Lalor, K. (2009) Applied Social Care (2nd Ed). Dublin: Gill & Macmillan
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