Teaching Reflection

Since reflection is such a crucial component of a successful experiential learning process, it is imperative that students understand exactly what reflection is and how to use the process to deepen their learning. To do so, Moon has articulated a two-stage process for training students in reflection. The first stage is called “presenting reflection.” In this stage, students are provided with examples of reflective writing, and are led through a discussion and some small exercises that get them accustomed to the concept and methodology of reflection. The second stage works to deepen the students’ understanding of reflection, moving from basic to more complex forms (Moon, 2004, p. 134). Here is a skeleton of this model, as laid out by Moon:

Stage 1: Presenting reflection

  1. “Discuss how reflective writing differs from more familiar forms of writing
  2. Consider the issues around the use of the first person
  3. Give examples
  4. Generate discussion of learners’ conception of reflection
  5. Enable practice and opportunities for feedback
  6. Give a starting exercise that does away with the blank page
  7. Support the further development of reflective writing with exercises/activities
  8. Set up situations in which learners can share their ideas
  9. Be prepared to support some learners more than others
  10. Be open about your need to learn about this form of learning and how to manage it
  11. Consider what reflection, reflective writing, reflective learning are
  12. Consider why reflection is being used to facilitate the current area of learning”

Stage 2: Facilitating deeper reflection

  1. “Introduce a framework that describes levels of reflection. Use example to demonstrate deeper reflection activity
  2. Introduce an exercise that involves ‘standing back from oneself’
  3. Introduce exercises that involve reflection on the same subject matter from different viewpoints (people, social institutions, etc.)
  4. Introduce exercises that involve reflection on the same subject matter from the viewpoints of different disciplines
  5. Introduce exercises that involve reflection that is obviously influenced by emotion reaction
  6. Introduce methods of deepening reflection by working with others (eg critical friends, collaborative activities)
  7. Use second-order reflection” (Moon, 2004, p. 143).
Extract from :
Prepared by Michelle Schwartz, Research Associate, for the Vice Provost, Academic, Ryerson University, 2012 http://www.ryerson.ca/lt 
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