Reflection Task Characteristics
Nature of the stimulus questions, directions, or probes
The nature of the stimulus to reflect will impact the quality of the reflection. Surbeck, Han, and Moyer (1991) identified three levels of reflection:
- Reacting – commenting on feelings towards the learning experience, such as reacting with a personal concern about an event.
- Elaborating – comparing reactions with other experiences, such as referring to a general principle, a theory, or a moral or philosophical position.
- Contemplating – focusing on constructive personal insights or on problems or difficulties, such as focusing on education issues, training methods, future goals, attitudes, ethical matters, or moral concerns. The nature of the stimulus or directions initially provided to the learners, as well as the feedback they receive after the initial reflection, will determine the extent to which they reach the contemplation level of reflection.
Format required for reporting reflections
Yinger and Clark (1981) believe that reflection results written down are more powerful than reporting them orally. However, handwriting is slow, requires a writing surface, and revisions or extensions of what has been recorded are less likely than for products produced on a word processor. Word processing has the advantage of easy revision, but requires that equipment be readily available.
Quality of the feedback provided following reflection
Feedback takes several forms, ranging from no feedback, to acknowledging that the work was done, to commenting on how well it was done, to extending beyond or elaborating on what was submitted.
Consequences of Reflecting
Liston and Zeichner (1996) posited a five-part taxonomy of reflection, of which reflection upon completion of the action is only one type:
1. Rapidly during an action.
2. Thoughtfully during an action.
3. Briefly as a review after action.
4. Systematically over a period of time after action.
5. Long-term as one attempts to develop formal or informal theory.
Retrieved from: The Performance Juxtaposition Site. (2011). Learning through reflection. http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/hrd/development/reflection.html
Surbek, E., Eunhye, P., & Moyer, J. (1991). Assessing reflective responses in journals. Education Leadership. March, 25-27.
Yinger, R., Clark, M. (1981). Reflective journal writing: Theory and practice. (Occasional Paper No. 50). East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University. Institute for Research on Teaching.
Zeichner, K., Liston, D. (eds.) (1996). Reflective Teaching: An Introduction. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.