Saturday, March 15, 2008

A Perfect Reflection?

I'm thinking about my students again ... asking them to reflect on their learning, reflect on their experiences, reflect on their feelings ...

The ability to reflect is such a critical part of the qualification they are completing at the Uni. For one of my units, a reflective assessment has been set for another purpose too - to assist them to do some self-debriefing in what can be endless reading and viewing about the horrors of past historical treatment of marginlised people.

So I am finally biting the bullet. In my own post grad study on tertiary teaching, I have decided to look at the act of reflection. What do we mean when we ask our students to reflect? How does this look as a behaviour and how would it read as an article/journal entry/tutorial.

I thought it only fair to record some of my summary thoughts here as I go.

Defining reflection is obviously the starting point - and while I will be looking at all kinds of philosophical and pedagogical musings on this ... I want to record some early thoughts I have, where I think they might be of some assistance for students ...

My first link to the material world was to think about reflections in mirrors or water ... where a reflection is a copy of another image - and two things immediately came to mind.

In the mirror we see what we choose to concentrate on - the good, the bad, the ugly! Then there are those lovely fun house mirrors which are a great example of how the reflection in a mirror can be distorted for us.

A reflection in nature, say a tree reflected in a lake, or the picture at the beginning of this blog posting, is open for some interpretation too. The reflection is never quite like that of the original picture. While it is close enough to see what it represents, it is never as clear as the original is it?

Dear students: There is a powerful lesson here. Your reflection is just that. A reflection, and not a perfected image of the experiences you are having. Some distortion of the experience and feelings is going to be a part of the experience.

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