Information for Students
|Why should students use reflective practice and what is its role in their study?|
Why should students use reflective practice and what is its role in their study?
Two changes to modern society have markedly changed our learning needs and the role of students in educational settings. Firstly, information is becoming increasingly easy to find whether it be in books, internet or media. Secondly, the rate of technological and knowledge change has increased dramatically, requiring life long learning skills. Therefore, it is no longer the business of students to learn as much as it is the business of students to learn to learn.
Reflective practice allows students to understand their learning and improve their learning skills by analysing their strengths and weaknesses in knowledge, skills, attitudes and behavior within the learning process by discovering their feelings towards learning, towards themselves and others. In other words, reflective practice encourages deeper learning and engages students in conscious and continuous improvement. Moreover, identification of exactly what skills and knowledge has been learnt as well as strengths and weaknesses will become useful for students when they start looking for employment.
Furthermore, reflective practice enables both teachers and students to share their experiences and thoughts, which may strengthen their relationship and enhance the learning of both teacher and student.
Suggestions of what to reflect upon
Here are some questions that may help to prompt reflection on your learning
(Adapted from Subject Centre for Education Escalate, 2006):
What did I actually achieve with this piece of work? Which were the most difficult parts, and why were they difficult for me? Which were the most straightforward parts, and why did I find these easy?
How well do I think I achieved the intended learning outcomes for this task? Where could I have improved my achievement? Why didn't I improve it at the time?
What have I got out of doing this assignment? How have I developed my knowledge and skills? How do I see the payoff from doing this assignment helping me in the longer term?
What else have I got out of doing this assignment? Have I developed other skills and knowledge, which may be useful elsewhere at another time? If so, what are my own emergent learning outcomes from doing this assignment?
What was the best thing I did? Why was this best thing I did? How do I know that this was the best thing I did?
What worked least well for me? Why did this not work well for me? What have I learned about the topic concerned from this not having worked well for me? What have I learned about myself from this not having worked well for me? What do I plan to do differently in future as a result of my answers to the above questions?
With hindsight, how would I go about this assignment differently if doing it again from scratch? To what extent will this assignment influence the way I tackle anything similar in future?
What did I find the greatest challenge in doing this work? Why was this a challenge to me? To what extent do I feel I have met this challenge? What can I do to improve my performance when next meeting this particular sort of challenge?
What was the most boring or tedious part of doing this assignment for me? Can I see the point of doing these things? If not, how could the assignment have been re-designed to be more stimulating and interesting for me?
Has it been worth the effort I put in? Do the marks represent a just reward? Should this assignment be worth more or less marks in the overall scheme of things?
Do I feel that my time on this assignment has been well spent? If not, how could I have used my time more sensibly? Or should the assignment have been designed differently? Which parts of the assignment represent the time best spent? Which parts could be thought of as time wasted?
How useful do I expect the feedback to be, that I receive on my efforts for this assignment? What sorts of feedback do I really want at this point in time? What sorts of feedback do I really need at this point in time? What are my expectations of getting useful feedback now, based on the feedback (or lack of it) that I've already received on past work?
Overall, how has this assignment helped (or hindered) my motivation to learn more about this part of my syllabus? Has it encouraged me, or disillusioned me?
To what extent has this assignment helped me to clarify what I need to learn about this topic? Have I a clearer picture after doing the assignment, or a foggier one? Who can help me gain a clearer picture, if the latter?
To what extent has this assignment helped me to see where the goalposts stand for future assessments such as exams? Has it given me useful insights into what will be expected of me in future?
What advice would I give go a friend about to start on the same assignment? How much time would I suggest that it would be worth putting into it? What pitfalls would I advise to be well worth not falling into?
What are the three most important things that I think I need to do with this topic at this moment in time? Which of these do I think is the most urgent for me to do? When will I aim to start doing this, and what is a sensible deadline for me to have completed it by?