Effective learning is not just about attending a courses and conferences, it requires you to reflect on your practise and integrate new information where it is relevant to improve your practice. It may include:
- Self-assessment of practice / competence in a given situation to identify areas for development and ultimately improve competence
- Looking for learning points within the scenario or situation on which you reflect and considering how you might apply that learning in other situations to further enhance performance
- Identifying learning / development needs e.g. as part of the CPD cycle and planning to meet these in order to improve practice
- Changing or modifying practice in response to the learning undertaken
There are three types of reflection:
Reflection in Action: Reflection-in-action is the ability to conduct such reflection not only after the experience, but also during the experience – the ability to think on your feet, to understand what is happening and why, and to deal with the uncertainties of practice in situations.
- Thinking one step ahead (oh good, if that's happened the next thing is to... )
- Being critical (no, not there, try just here…)
- Storing experience for the future (I could have said that better - next time...)
- Analysing (she's saying that to test me out - better respond cautiously here) etc.
Structured Reflection: Structure reflection involves systematically moving through one or all of the following:
- What happened?
- Identifying significant events/incidents?
- How did you feel, think, feel, and do?
- What assumptions, beliefs, customs, or values underlie the event?
- What were the environmental demands?
- What are the implications for future practice?
- What was learned?
- What could be changed?
- What concepts/assumptions could be challenged?
Informal Reflection: Most of us engage in reflection activities without even being aware that we are, in activities such as:
- Talking over a situation you have found difficult with a partner, friend or colleague e.g. a difficult patient, a treatment that isn’t working etc.
- Thinking over the events of the day on the way home.
These activities however often tend to lack a focus on change or learning points. Try in improve the effectiveness of informal reflection by including a ‘what will I change/improve’ question in your discussion.
Making Time for Reflection
Becoming a reflective practitioner requires time, practice, and an environment supportive to the development and organisation of the reflection process. This is a highly individualized process and you should find the structure and method of reflection that best you.
Some examples of reflective practice options include:
|Immediately after the experience
At the end of the day
During my planning time
First thing in the morning
Wednesday during my lunch
|In my office
In the shower
On the way to work
|On the computer
Verbal reflection with peer
Reflective Practice & You
- What types of reflection do you typically engage in?
- When, where and how do you engage in reflection?
- How can you make time for reflective practice?