Critical Reflection


The end of a term is an ideal time to reflect, make sense and ponder continuous improvements in teaching. Therefore, I would like to share a CTL website on the topic of Critical Reflection (CR) by the University of Waterloo. They define CR as a “meaning-making process” that helps us set goals, use what we’ve learned to inform future action and consider the real-life implications of our thinking. It is the link between thinking and doing, and can be transformative (Dewey, 1916; Schön, 1983; Rodgers, 2002)."

The authors provide Guidelines for Integrating Reflections, which include creating curiosity; making CR continual; connecting CR to other approaches; giving CR context; modeling the reflective process; breaking down the assignment; encouraging multiple perspectives; providing a safe environment where students can explore and articulate emotional responses; assessing CR; and providing clear criteria and exemplars.

They suggest choosing reflection that suits your goals, reminding us that there are two basic types, one that helps students focus on their growth and development; and another that fosters students’ capacity to think deeply about concepts. The reflection types include Process; Inward and Outward-looking; Forward and Backward-looking. The authors share 40 Reflection Prompts, which could be helpful.

Dewey, J. (1916). Democracy and education: An introduction to the philosophy of education. NY: The Free Press.

Rodgers, C. (2002). Defining reflection: Another look at John Dewey and reflective thinking. The Teachers College Record, 104(4), 842-866.

Schön, D. A. (1983). The reflective practitioner: How professionals think in action. Basic books.

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