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Theoretical perspectives on reflection to professional development

Hi,

As part of my Early Years Educator course I have been asked to research theoretical perspectives on reflection to professional development and share the summary of my findings with others on an online forum. I have chosen to write about Kolb’s learning cycle and Gibbs reflective cycle.

KOLB’S EXPERIMENTAL LEARNING THEORY 1984

Kolb’s experimental learning theory presents a cyclical model of learning, consisting of four stages. This cycle helps people to understand what is involved in the reflective process and sets out four easy stages to follow in the process. By progressing through each of the four stages of the learning cycle in a logical order we are learning effectively.

The four stage of the learning cycles are:

1. Concrete Experience

This is the first stage of the learning process. This is where something has been done or an experience has been had.

2. Reflective Observation

This is the stage after the concrete experience has been had and its now time to reflect on that experience. This would include thinking about how it went, what went well and what didn’t go well. This stage also relates to receiving feedback from others. In an Early Years setting this may be in terms of a peer observation.

3. Abstract Conceptualisation

At this stage conclusions are made from the reflective process and decisions are made about how improvements can be made in the future and what has been learnt from the experience.

4.Active experiment

This is the stage where the changes and new ideas are put into practice that have been made from the Abstract Conceptualisation stage. This then leads back to the beginning of the cycle to continue learning, development and reflection.

GIBBS CYCLE OF REFLECTION 1988

Gibbs produced a 6 step cycle based on continuous learning through reflection. This cycle helps to make sense of an experience or situation. The cycle can work well when used to reflect on a single experience or repeated experiences.

The 6 steps are:

1. Description

What has happened?

2. Feelings

This step encourages you to think about how you felt during the situation and whether these feelings had an impact.

3. Evaluation

At this stage you evaluate what has happened and think about what went well and what didn’t go well.

4. Analysis

At this stage you analyse the situation thinking about why things went well or didn’t go well.

5. Conclusion

At this stage everything is drawn to a conclusion thinking about what has been learnt and how things could be done differently next time.

6. Action plan

An action plan is now put into place to put changes into action. In terms of professional development this could be by adding an area of learning or development to a Professional Development Plan.

Both of these cycles are beneficial in terms of professional development. The cycles are based on learning and reflecting from experiences. I try to take advantage of new experiences and opportunities to support my development. I follow Kolb’s cycle when planning and evaluating activities that I carry out in my setting or reflecting on how I have learnt from a situation or experience and how I could improve in the future.

I like that Gibb’s cycle has a step that encourages you to think about your feelings and whether these have had an impact on what has happened. This is a key element in taking ownership in recognising your own role and in self reflection.

These theories lend well to the EYFS where reflective practice is encouraged.

I strongly believe that reflection is an important part of professional development. By being reflective we are more aware of our strengths and development areas. Being aware of development areas allows us to plan on how we can improve our practice and seek the support to do so.

I welcome your own views.

Is there any theories that you have come across that you have found supportive in the reflection process?
(edited 4 years ago)
Dear Tanya, thank you very much for sharing with us the theoretical perspectives on reflection on your professional development. This is also part of my Early Years Educator course to research theoretical perspectives on reflection to professional development and share the summary of my findings with others on an online forum. I have chosen to write about Maria Montessori and her approach.
Montessori approach state that teacher should provide an environment where carefully prepared to meet children developmental needs. Teacher also should carefully observe children to connect them with that environment. As a result, children will be able to build themselves through their own activity.
Mixed age groups live in harmony with others in the classroom which offer a wide range of activities to spark children’s interest in order to allow children to learn from others and learn by helping others.
The environment provide freedom for children to work at their own pace, without interruption, choosing from a range of appropriate activities.
The materials are designed to allow the child to recognize the errors by themselves, make mistakes and correct them independently. This exploration is encouraged so that they become responsible for his/her own learning.
Adults provide an environment for children to work with concrete materials to explore the world around them and develop basic cognitive abilities through their natural curiosity.
As I understand that, the environment is a key to support and extend children’s development and learning. The use of appropriate learning materials help individual needs of children such as interest creativity and forward thinking.
In the Montessori approach the environment which supports the children’s self-construction should be carefully prepared to make sure children’s developmental needs are met.
In addition, children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates, and all areas of learning and development are equally important and inter-connected.
Respect for each child as an individual personality with unique talents and respect for others and the environment.
Adult is an observer and a guide in the classroom. The adult stimulates the child with all his/her effort. This helps them to develop confidence and self-discipline.
The supports natural development enables children to develop their capacities and skills. This environment also provides opportunities to the child to freely choose work.
A well-organised environment provides children THE experience to become active and dynamic with the world around them. And during all the activities and daily routine, teacher should carefully observe children to understand their development and needs and make further planning.
According to Montessori perspective each child has a hidden potential. To reveal this potential, we need to give children the opportunities to develop trust independent, which help improve children confidence, self-esteem and courage.
According to the Montessori perspective the parents are their child’ first educators and need to be respected. As a result, I work in partnership with parents in order to give children opportunities to develop their full potential and become unique, strong and independent with consideration for themselves and others.
Also, Montessori believes that freedom is the most important factor which is allowing children to develop individuals include providing freedom, make decision to build confidence, self-esteem and courage.
Children are free to choose what to do and to put it away. During this exploring time, adults should through detailed observations of children choice. When a child is choosing freely within an environment carefully, it supports children independence. For practitioners in early years it give them an opportunity to easily observe children need and interests to plan next step for them.
Montessori approach emphasise that adults/teachers need to create environments to observe children’s learning and development naturally, and it facilitates the adults to follow of the children lead while they are focusing on their interests. In this occasion the adults/teacher aim is to ensure that these interests cover all aspects of the learning and development stage as observation is a key factor in Montessori education.

In conclusion, as an early year practitioner in training, the Montessori approach reflect on my professional development including the way I teach, my approach and connection to the children, the choice of activities and materials I would use according to the situation. It also gives me many beneficial aspect such as increasing my confidence and being more efficient and develop my abilities in my personal life and in early years setting as I am also learning thorough this prosses.
In my journey within Montessori experience, I also find out about other educators such as Rousseau Froebel and Steiner who also placed the child at the centre of the education process.
Reply 2
Thank you for sharing! I really enjoyed reading this and found it very interesting. One day I would love to volunteer in a Montessori nursery to gain some experience as I love the sound of the approach. Good luck with finishing the course!
Reply 3
Hi Everyone,I hope everyone is doing well :-)

I am doing my Early Years Educator Level 3 and this is one of the assignments where I need to summarise theoretical perspectives on reflection in relation to professional development and I share the summary my findings in online forum.

There are two theories that have been particularly influential in helping people to understand the reflective process.

Kolb’s learning cycle
Kolb proposed a learning cycle where can be used to help me to reflect on my learning and therefore is used for reflective practice. Kolb suggested that, for effecting learning, four processes need to take place.

Concrete Experience: This is about doing something. Like in early years settings, this could be like teaching children to play a game of snap.

Reflective Observation: This is about reviewing and reflecting on the experience. This might mean the nursery practitioner thinks about which elements of the game of snap seemed to work well and which elements were less successful.

Abstract Conceptualisation: This is about developing new ideas. Playing a game of snap, it might mean that I need to decided to use pictures on cards that link to the children experiences and to have extra cards that match to prevent children to become bored easily.

Active Experimentation: This is about putting into practice new ideas. Example, play the game of snap again with new pictures and more opportunities for the children to find a ‘snap’.The process that Kolb proposed is represented as cycle, this is because once I tried out new ideas, I may need to reflect once more.

Links to professional development - This cycle has been used as a basis for many models of reflective practice and so has been very influential. The idea us that, using Kolb’s cycle I can think about areas of my practice that need developing by reflecting on what I do and then putting into action changes, before reviewing them again.

Gibb’s reflective cycle
Graham Gibbs adapted Kolb’s work to create more structured approach which could be used after situations have arisen to help adults to reflect on their responses, but also to come to some conclusions about what they could do different in the future.

How the cycle works
Following a situation or incident, which could be positive or negative, the adult thinks about what happened and their feelings, and also evaluated it. After they go on to analyse why it occurred and also what conclusions could be reached.

How Gibb’s cycle links to professional development
One of the conclusions that might be reached is that more training is needed or that more opportunities to learn from others would be useful. This would then be fed into the action plan and therefore link to professional development.

Have a great day! Thanks in advance!

Marcos Catulo
(edited 3 years ago)
Reply 4
good afternoon to you all i have been asked to have a online discussion as below.To summarise theoretical perspectives on reflection in relation to professional development, join in an online forum with your peers to discuss the importance of reflection in relation to professional development. Undertake your own research and use the forum to share theoretical perspectives on reflection.i would like to have a discussion or join it with you all as i'm completing my level 3 in child care with cache, i have been researching Kolb's learning cycle about how we reflect practices, Kolb's suggested that for effective learning there is four processes that need to take place for this to be possible.concrete experience- completing or doing something in the setting with the children- for example playing a game- using Jenga blocks reflective observations - reviewing or reflecting, how well did the children grasp the concept of the game, could they remove a block without the others falling.abstract conceptualisation- developing new idea's of the game- if we can stop the blocks from falling how can we use them instead? what can we do to make it interesting?Active experimentation- putting in to practices our new ideas- we have turned the blocks a different way or used a smaller tower. this cycle is to represent how we try out our new ideas and how we reflect them.
Reply 5
i welcome your views.
Hi!I am also completing my level 3 and I'm on my last unit! it is about professional development and reading all your insights to the theorists is so useful! My placement is actually in a Montessori setting and it is so interesting reading about her approach to professional development!
Hello. I have also been asked to write about the importance of reflection in relation to professional development for my level 3 course. The theorist I will be talking about is David Kolb. Kolb's theory is a learning experimental theory what is important, which I will talk about later on. David Kolb was influenced by other theorists such as John Dewey and Jean Piaget. When Kolb talked about his theory, he stated that this type of learning is through a process of experience what a child will or may go through. A quote from him was 'Knowledge results from the combinations of grasping and transforming the experience'. From this, experimental learning is different from other theorists such as cognitive and behavioural theorists. This is because cognitive theories are focused on mental processes, whereas behavioural theories ignore how experiences what a child may go through affect how a child learns. Leading on to this, Kolb explains that the experimental theory has to take more of an holistic approach and show how experiences including different factors influence children's learning process. When talking about his theory, he explained two ways of grasping experiences and two ways of transforming experiences. He made these ideas in to a cycle. From this cycle, concrete experiences provide information that will show a basis of reflection. When given reflection, it will form abstract concepts. When we think about different ideas, it is from experience we have in our life. We gather information through ideas. However, ideas may not start from experience as the cycle shows. From this, children will choose a way on how they learn more efficiently. Some people may ask, 'How do we know what mode of experimental learning is best?'. Well, it is learnt through situational variables, and our own preferences. For example, Kolb described people who are 'watchers' will prefer reflective observations and people who are 'doers' will prefer in engaging in an active experimentation. From this, preferences serve the basis of Kolb's learning styles. From the four learning styles I have talked about, they all have dominant learning abilities in two areas. Kolb also suggest that there are factors what can influence someone's learning style. Two examples of factors what can influence someone's learning strategy is there personality and career choice. Whilst researching and writing about David Kolbe, I have thought about how his theory could have an affect on myself and my own professional development. I do believe that some of the things he says does relate to my current job in childcare, and why I wanted a profession in this field. I have always wanted to work with children, it has always been an interesting subject for me. From this, I do believe that my learning process has been influenced by my career choice. However, I do not think that this is the same for everyone. Everyone learns differently at their own pace. Some people may relate to his theory more than others. Reflection in professional development is significantly important so you can learn and grow in your career path and reflect on what you can improve on.
Original post by hayleyg39
Hello. I have also been asked to write about the importance of reflection in relation to professional development for my level 3 course. The theorist I will be talking about is David Kolb. Kolb's theory is a learning experimental theory what is important, which I will talk about later on. David Kolb was influenced by other theorists such as John Dewey and Jean Piaget. When Kolb talked about his theory, he stated that this type of learning is through a process of experience what a child will or may go through. A quote from him was 'Knowledge results from the combinations of grasping and transforming the experience'. From this, experimental learning is different from other theorists such as cognitive and behavioural theorists. This is because cognitive theories are focused on mental processes, whereas behavioural theories ignore how experiences what a child may go through affect how a child learns. Leading on to this, Kolb explains that the experimental theory has to take more of an holistic approach and show how experiences including different factors influence children's learning process. When talking about his theory, he explained two ways of grasping experiences and two ways of transforming experiences. He made these ideas in to a cycle. From this cycle, concrete experiences provide information that will show a basis of reflection. When given reflection, it will form abstract concepts. When we think about different ideas, it is from experience we have in our life. We gather information through ideas. However, ideas may not start from experience as the cycle shows. From this, children will choose a way on how they learn more efficiently. Some people may ask, 'How do we know what mode of experimental learning is best?'. Well, it is learnt through situational variables, and our own preferences. For example, Kolb described people who are 'watchers' will prefer reflective observations and people who are 'doers' will prefer in engaging in an active experimentation. From this, preferences serve the basis of Kolb's learning styles. From the four learning styles I have talked about, they all have dominant learning abilities in two areas. Kolb also suggest that there are factors what can influence someone's learning style. Two examples of factors what can influence someone's learning strategy is there personality and career choice. Whilst researching and writing about David Kolbe, I have thought about how his theory could have an affect on myself and my own professional development. I do believe that some of the things he says does relate to my current job in childcare, and why I wanted a profession in this field. I have always wanted to work with children, it has always been an interesting subject for me. From this, I do believe that my learning process has been influenced by my career choice. However, I do not think that this is the same for everyone. Everyone learns differently at their own pace. Some people may relate to his theory more than others. Reflection in professional development is significantly important so you can learn and grow in your career path and reflect on what you can improve on.


Hi hayleyg39,
Thank you for your post on David Kolb. This theory is incredibly interesting and in particular the point about how people who are 'watchers' will prefer reflective observations and people who are 'doers' will prefer in engaging in an active experimentation. This makes sense as it is similar to the idea of learning in theory and then practical learning; people may have a preference. Like you, I am also required to join an online forum to discuss the importance of reflection in relation to professional development. I have found the research fascinating because I didn't even realise how many theories there are in relation to professional development. One theory I would like to discuss here is Schon’s process of continuous learning. The Schon reflective model presents the concept of 'reflection in action' and 'reflection on action'. Reflection in action is all about thinking ‘as you go’ about what you are doing, how well you are performing and how successful you are with different tasks. Further to this, it is about thinking on your feet; thinking about what to do next and acting straight away. On the other hand, reflection on action is all about thinking ‘after the event’ when you have completed a task you can consider afterwards what worked well, or how things could have been managed differently. In addition, it is about reconsidering the situation and thinking about what needs changing for the future. I agree with this theoretical perspective on reflection in relation to professional development. This is because, reflection can always happen during the moment and further in-depth reflection is invaluable afterwards. For example, in the moment during a play activity I may think to myself "next time I should have let the children decide what they wanted to paint rather than telling them to paint the flower in the vase that is on the table" and then a few hours after the play activity, I may reflect back and think "it was helpful giving the children the idea but for future painting activities I am going to have options and/or just tell the children to paint whatever it is that they are feeling". I can see the difference in both kinds of reflection; reflection in action allows me to pinpoint an area that I can work on and reflection on action allows me to be more constructive and think about practical next steps, which will help in my professional development.
Original post by Shahida123*
Hi hayleyg39,
Thank you for your post on David Kolb. This theory is incredibly interesting and in particular the point about how people who are 'watchers' will prefer reflective observations and people who are 'doers' will prefer in engaging in an active experimentation. This makes sense as it is similar to the idea of learning in theory and then practical learning; people may have a preference. Like you, I am also required to join an online forum to discuss the importance of reflection in relation to professional development. I have found the research fascinating because I didn't even realise how many theories there are in relation to professional development. One theory I would like to discuss here is Schon’s process of continuous learning. The Schon reflective model presents the concept of 'reflection in action' and 'reflection on action'. Reflection in action is all about thinking ‘as you go’ about what you are doing, how well you are performing and how successful you are with different tasks. Further to this, it is about thinking on your feet; thinking about what to do next and acting straight away. On the other hand, reflection on action is all about thinking ‘after the event’ when you have completed a task you can consider afterwards what worked well, or how things could have been managed differently. In addition, it is about reconsidering the situation and thinking about what needs changing for the future. I agree with this theoretical perspective on reflection in relation to professional development. This is because, reflection can always happen during the moment and further in-depth reflection is invaluable afterwards. For example, in the moment during a play activity I may think to myself "next time I should have let the children decide what they wanted to paint rather than telling them to paint the flower in the vase that is on the table" and then a few hours after the play activity, I may reflect back and think "it was helpful giving the children the idea but for future painting activities I am going to have options and/or just tell the children to paint whatever it is that they are feeling". I can see the difference in both kinds of reflection; reflection in action allows me to pinpoint an area that I can work on and reflection on action allows me to be more constructive and think about practical next steps, which will help in my professional development.

Hi Shahida123*
Schon’s process of continuous learning is really interesting. Like you, I also use both types of reflection in my work setting. I have found that reflection on action allows me to really sit with my thoughts and analyse the way in which I planned a play activity for example, which then allows me to better prepare myself for when it comes to the next play activity that I need to plan. Further to this, I can also reflect on whether further training may be required for myself in terms of how to effectively plan play activities for babies for example.
Original post by TaniaSeaFish
Hi Shahida123*
Schon’s process of continuous learning is really interesting. Like you, I also use both types of reflection in my work setting. I have found that reflection on action allows me to really sit with my thoughts and analyse the way in which I planned a play activity for example, which then allows me to better prepare myself for when it comes to the next play activity that I need to plan. Further to this, I can also reflect on whether further training may be required for myself in terms of how to effectively plan play activities for babies for example.

Hi TaniaSeaFish
Yes, agreed and I also think that reflection on action overlaps with Kolb's Experiential Learning Cycle the Abstract Conceptualisation stage of concluding and learning from the experience, which for me includes asking myself "how might I change things for next time?" For example, following a play activity with 2–3-year-olds, I realised that I needed to make the activity more engaging because young children lose interest quicker and so upon reflection, I decided to liaise with my work colleagues and ask them how they make play activities more engaging for children between 2 - 3 years.
Reply 11
Hello everyone.
Also here to engage in a discussion about reflective practice and relate that to theorists as part of EYE Level 3. It's great to read your reflections and thoughts on the importance of reflective practice in the early year's context. Particularly the Montessorian approach. I am studying Froebel professional Early childhood practice certificate alongside my Level 3 EYE studies, I can see how both approaches align in their view of the importance of reflective practice in holistic educational environments.

I have been developing an outdoor classroom and practising reflective
throughout this time with colleagues.

My takeaways from this discussion are that through CPD we can learn something new, reflect deeper on our knowledge to improve and achieve best practices and most importantly advocate for enriching environments for children. We can also understand ourselves a little more by learning our strengths and weaknesses as Practitioners when we converse with our colleagues and gain their insights into our practice of provision.
I can link to the two theorists that I am most familiar with in the context of CPD, the Kolbs Learning Cycle, and the Gibbs Reflective Cycle based on your discussions.
It's beneficial to draw upon our existing experiences and evidence, to use concrete knowledge to reflect with each other and share our individual opinions/ experiences to improve our practice collectively.
Practising abstract conceptualisation by sharing new ideas can be enriching for the whole team, valuing each other as professionals and being more holistically creative to establish enriching and enabling environments for practitioners and children.
The process of auditing your environment enables Gibbs Reflective Cycle to take action in our approaches to CPD as we plan with our teams and evaluate our input during the session.
We can consider what improvements we can make to our practice, and what further training we need. We can also plan a time to create action plans as a starting point for any improvement or changes to our provision or career.
It's empowering to use reflective practice to engage in CPD to highlight our aspirations and next steps in professional development as individuals or as a team.
Reply 12
Hi all,

I'm currently studying Unit 4.1 of my Level 3 childcare qualification in relation to ‘theoretical perspectives on reflection in professional development’ and I would love to share my findings!

As practitioners, we should all want to be effective and amazing at what we do, for the sake of the children that we look after. Part of being able to stay an effective practitioner is to undertake continuous professional development, in order that we improve our practice and stay up to date with all of the current guidance and research that we also need to incorporate. I find myself self-evaluating my own practice regularly and this does get easier with more time and experience, as it can be quite daunting to evaluate ourselves and to reflect on activities/situations objectively to see where we can improve our practice. However, evaluation is important for professional development and therefore, two main theorists set out cycles for reflection in professional development, to make it easier to be able to analyse ourselves in order that we can learn from situations and continually improve.

These cycles can help us to reflect as we work through each process of the cycle after a situation, activity or discussion. Kolb set out 4 simple processes for reflection as below:
1. Concrete experience (the experience)
2. Reflective observation (reflecting on the experience)
3. Abstract conceptualisation (learning from the experience)
4. Active experimentation (planning with what you’ve learnt from the experience)

These four processes take place one after the other and then it continues round in a cycle. When you plan according to what you learnt from the experience, this then becomes ‘the experience’ to be reflected on and learnt from again. For example, you set out an activity about emotions which you then reflect on (what went well, what could be improved on, how effective you were in the situation), you then learn from this reflection of the activity (think of ways to improve from what you believe could be improved on, reflect on how you could be more effective) and next time, try out an activity about emotions which incorporates what you learnt (i.e. additional training has been undertaken into teaching emotions to children and what language to use, more research has been undertaken about teaching PSED for this age group). This new activity about emotions which has been adapted then potentially becomes the new ‘experience’, hence, a cycle. We then test out this new activity and can reflect, learn and then experiment again, continually improving our practice if needs be and identifying any professional development opportunities each time. I really like this model/cycle because it is easy to follow and it means that even new practitioners can use this cycle to help them to reflect on their effectiveness and the activity itself, with it being effective but not overcomplicated. Once this cycle has been used to support reflection a few times, it will become more like second nature and practitioners should then think through the processes to continually reflect, as we should always be learning and developing as practitioners within this role and identifying areas we can focus on/improve in.

For reflecting on situations and incidents, the cycle which can be used to undertake a greater depth of reflection is Gibb’s reflective cycle. This cycle was adapted from Kolb’s cycle and sets out six stages for evaluating situations, whether they are positive or negative, which I think is a great benefit of this cycle as it can therefore be applied to any situation for reflection. The six stages of the cycle are as below:
1. Description- what happened in the situation?
2. Feelings- what were your thoughts and feelings during the situation?
3. Evaluation- evaluate what went well and what didn’t
4. Analysis- analyse the situation to make sense of it
5. Conclusion- what is the conclusion/’sum up’ of the situation
6. Action plan- what will be implemented/changed next time a similar situation arises

I believe that Gibb’s cycle incorporates all of the necessary stages to prompt an in-depth review of a situation so that it can be analysed and learnt from. It is beneficial to analyse both negative and positive situations with this cycle so that you can analyse exactly what worked well and what didn’t within situations, in order that we can modify our practice or to recognise a skill, method etc that we should continue to keep in our practice. By using this cycle, we can analyse exactly how we can improve our practice for another similar situation, or where a gap in knowledge/training is within our practice so that we can look into changing this.

Without these two cycles, it would be harder to analyse my own practice and to identify areas of strengths and weaknesses as I feel that these models help me to stay objective when reflecting. By working through the cycles, each stage provides a prompt to encourage deep reflection into every part of an activity/situation so that I can develop. Both cycles are beneficial and can be applied to different situations, I will continue to refer back to these cycles to ensure I am continuing to identify areas for professional development within my role as a practitioner.
Hi Tanya I total agree with your representation of Kolb’s
Experimental learning theory, I personally feel this is a fantastic way of growing as a person developing myself through on going training and developing, his cycle breaks down how we can develop our methods in more detail, thank you for sharing Tracey Clarke
Hello as part of my study, I have to join an online forum of the theoretical perspectives on professional developments, I have read the previous threads and I have to agree with the points made. I have always wondered whether we learn more from the reflect of actions or whether we learn more by watching other practitioners perform. Do we learn best after the activity or during the activity or both? How important is reflective practise?

I have recently as a practitioner realised the importance upon reflection by which theorist is more likely to relate into today’s practise. I have decided to look into both Kolb four learning practises and also Gibbs reflective cycle what are the similarities, differences and how they impact practise.

Kolb uses four stages concrete experience which is the action E.G engaging with the children during an activity then this goes on to the reflective observation reviewing and thinking about the activity> Abstract conceptualisation is concluding what was learnt from the experience the analysing stage and finally this leads into the active experimentation changing and improving using the knowledge that was learnt.
Kolb stages relates everyday practise and has been very influential thinking of the areas of practise that need developing and putting what has been learnt into practise.
The critics of the model believe that it is over simplified and does not take into perspective of others involved, or feed back that could be given.
Gibbs changed Kolbs work to create a more structured approach containing more steps;
Description- what actually happened
Feelings- What were you thinking and feeling at the time
Evaluation- what went well? What didn’t go well?
Analysis- What information can you take from what happened?
Conclusion- What can you conclude from this?
Action plan- What are you going to do now to change the way you work?
Gibbs is a more in-detailed plan the Kolb’s theory of reflection putting in steps to how the practitioner feels however this could be a negative due to be subjective. The theory can help to find out more about the practitioners in the setting by using the steps in the cycle to analyse a situation by opening up and talking about feelings and thoughts at the time. As humans we all have bad days and good days this theory highlights the human imperfections that we all have. The theory makes you challenge your assumptions, look into new ideas and ways of doing things, helps at looking at new strengths and weaknesses This helps to link theory into every day practise.

Maybe a better approach could be Schon’s process of continuous learning in todays practise this could relate by;

Having two different processes of reflection thinking ‘as you go’ during an activity, observation and play think about how you are performing how well the plan is doing and how to adapt it during to make it a success. Think about how to extend play, what are the children getting from the play and how are they feeling.

The other process of reflection is thinking after the event, after the activity consider the ways that the activity, plan worked well and what could be changed for next time. Think of ways to manage the task differently.
By using Schön’s concept of improvisation and incorporating life the practitioner learns how to continually improve on their work and achieve being a reflective and effective practitioner.

Can anyone extend on the theory and share their experiences in reflective practise?

Many thanks for reading;

Cara
Reply 15
Original post by Mollercara91
Hello as part of my study, I have to join an online forum of the theoretical perspectives on professional developments, I have read the previous threads and I have to agree with the points made. I have always wondered whether we learn more from the reflect of actions or whether we learn more by watching other practitioners perform. Do we learn best after the activity or during the activity or both? How important is reflective practise?

I have recently as a practitioner realised the importance upon reflection by which theorist is more likely to relate into today’s practise. I have decided to look into both Kolb four learning practises and also Gibbs reflective cycle what are the similarities, differences and how they impact practise.

Kolb uses four stages concrete experience which is the action E.G engaging with the children during an activity then this goes on to the reflective observation reviewing and thinking about the activity> Abstract conceptualisation is concluding what was learnt from the experience the analysing stage and finally this leads into the active experimentation changing and improving using the knowledge that was learnt.
Kolb stages relates everyday practise and has been very influential thinking of the areas of practise that need developing and putting what has been learnt into practise.
The critics of the model believe that it is over simplified and does not take into perspective of others involved, or feed back that could be given.
Gibbs changed Kolbs work to create a more structured approach containing more steps;
Description- what actually happened
Feelings- What were you thinking and feeling at the time
Evaluation- what went well? What didn’t go well?
Analysis- What information can you take from what happened?
Conclusion- What can you conclude from this?
Action plan- What are you going to do now to change the way you work?
Gibbs is a more in-detailed plan the Kolb’s theory of reflection putting in steps to how the practitioner feels however this could be a negative due to be subjective. The theory can help to find out more about the practitioners in the setting by using the steps in the cycle to analyse a situation by opening up and talking about feelings and thoughts at the time. As humans we all have bad days and good days this theory highlights the human imperfections that we all have. The theory makes you challenge your assumptions, look into new ideas and ways of doing things, helps at looking at new strengths and weaknesses This helps to link theory into every day practise.

Maybe a better approach could be Schon’s process of continuous learning in todays practise this could relate by;

Having two different processes of reflection thinking ‘as you go’ during an activity, observation and play think about how you are performing how well the plan is doing and how to adapt it during to make it a success. Think about how to extend play, what are the children getting from the play and how are they feeling.

The other process of reflection is thinking after the event, after the activity consider the ways that the activity, plan worked well and what could be changed for next time. Think of ways to manage the task differently.
By using Schön’s concept of improvisation and incorporating life the practitioner learns how to continually improve on their work and achieve being a reflective and effective practitioner.

Can anyone extend on the theory and share their experiences in reflective practise?

Many thanks for reading;

Cara


Thank you Cara for posting such a great summary of some of the different approaches to reflective practice. I find it interesting to note that many of these theories are not dissimilar to many of the theoretical perspectives used for discussing child development. For example, notice the similarities between the four stages of Kolb’s experiential learning cycle and some of Piaget’s theories: that learning and adaption occur as a result of interplay between Assimilation (interpreting new experiences to fit existing concepts) and Accomodation (adjusting concepts to fit new experiences). i.e. 1. Concrete experience 2. Reflect 3. Conceptualise 4. Change thought patterns.
Obviously this is not an exact 1:1 match, but surely it is unsurprising that our own adult development might follow similar patterns and thinking processes to children’s. I wonder if we could maybe use some of the other child theorists to help with our own reflection in other ways? For example, could we use Howard Gardner’s multiple Intelligences framework as a checklist to look at the way we carry out our own practice in each of the dimensions of his eight (or more?) different abilities?
I look forward to hearing other’s ideas on this topic.
Jenna
Reply 16
As part of my Early Years Level 3 Course, I will be summarising theoretical perspectives in reflection to professional development, I would like to discuss this with anyone available.

Reflective practice is important when working in Early Years, it ensures that we carry out good practice throughout everyday play and learning. As Early Years Practitioners it is our role to ensure that children are provided with the best care and support to develop their skills and development further in every sector. Reflective practice ensures practitioners get to look into their practice, they can learn what their strengths and weaknesses are and where they can make improvements, and they can look at how they could do things differently to have a better impact on the children.

Theoretical perspectives such as David Kolb’s suggest to us practitioners that learning is an integrated process where each stage feeds into the next stage. He believes that anyone can enter the stage at any point as long as they follow through with its sequence. Kolb’s learning style cycle was set up of four stages, these stages were as follows:

1.

Concrete Experience - This is where a new experience or situation is met, or an existing experience is reinterpreted.

2.

Reflective Observation of the new experience - Reflecting on this experience. Are there inconsistencies between your experience and your understanding? What did you notice?

3.

Abstract Conceptualisation The reflection in the previous stage produces a new idea, or modifies an existing concept in a new direction.

4.

Active Experimentation This is where the learner applies the new or modified idea to the world around them to see what happens.

Kolb’s four learning styles outline the different ways in which a person learns. Knowing your learning style allows you to focus your learning on that method. Everyone responds to each learning style to some extent, though one style is likely to be favored over the others. These learning styles are often seen as a two-by-tow matrix whereby each learning style is a combination of two preferred styles, as follows:

1.

Diverging (feeling and watching) These people see things from differing perspectives. They prefer watching to doing and can use their imaginations to be creative in their overall learning styles. This style is so-called due to these individuals learning best in instances where they are required to gather information or generate new ideas.

2.

Assimilating (watching and thinking) These people can explore and analyse models logically and are more interested in concepts and tasks than in relationships or working in groups. Examples of preferred learning situations for these types of learners include lectures, readings, and individual learning that gives them time to analyse and think rather than discuss.

3.

Converging (doing and thinking) These people are good problem-solvers and are seen as being practical in their analyses of ideas and tasks. They tend to converge on the answers they want and prefer learning activities like technical tasks that involve finding solutions rather than interpersonal or group learning.

4.

Accommodating (doing and feeling) These people tend to be more practical in their outlook on learning, and they like to see problems from an intuitive point of view. They may rely more on gut feeling and like new-found challenges that involve taking an experiential approach.

The concepts developed by David Kolb can be used to initiate new ideas in learning sessions in three ways:

1.

Target more specific learning sessions for people we are working with

2.

Design training and coaching exercises that link up with the specific way our learners absorb information

3.

Personalise any learning intervention for people in line with the four stages listed above

By providing different learning initiatives, we increase the chances of the person assimilating the information effectively and helping them create ideas that may have been inaccessible if the learning had been in a style that didn’t suit their preferences.
Another Theoretical perspective is from Gibbs. Graham Gibbs developed his reflective cycle in 1988 based on each stage of David Kolb's experiential cycle from 1984. He suggested how a fully structured analysis of a situation could take place using prompt questions at each stage. It offers a framework for examining experiences, and given its cyclic nature lends itself particularly well to repeated experiences, allowing you to learn and plan from things that either went well or didn’t go well. It covers 6 stages as follows:

1.

Description of the experience

2.

Feelings and thoughts about the experience

3.

Evaluation of the experience, both good and bad

4.

Analysis to make sense of the situation

5.

Conclusion about what you learned and what you could have done differently

6.

Action plan for how you would deal with similar situations in the future, or general changes you might find appropriate.

I believe every practitioner should be able to pick and choose parts of these theoretical perspectives, they will be able to reflect on their practice very easily and they can find ways of improving their practice to ensure children are always well cared for and supported throughout their learning and development stages.
Reply 17
Original post by MeghaP28
As part of my Early Years Level 3 Course, I will be summarising theoretical perspectives in reflection to professional development, I would like to discuss this with anyone available.

Reflective practice is important when working in Early Years, it ensures that we carry out good practice throughout everyday play and learning. As Early Years Practitioners it is our role to ensure that children are provided with the best care and support to develop their skills and development further in every sector. Reflective practice ensures practitioners get to look into their practice, they can learn what their strengths and weaknesses are and where they can make improvements, and they can look at how they could do things differently to have a better impact on the children.

Theoretical perspectives such as David Kolb’s suggest to us practitioners that learning is an integrated process where each stage feeds into the next stage. He believes that anyone can enter the stage at any point as long as they follow through with its sequence. Kolb’s learning style cycle was set up of four stages, these stages were as follows:

1.

Concrete Experience - This is where a new experience or situation is met, or an existing experience is reinterpreted.

2.

Reflective Observation of the new experience - Reflecting on this experience. Are there inconsistencies between your experience and your understanding? What did you notice?

3.

Abstract Conceptualisation The reflection in the previous stage produces a new idea, or modifies an existing concept in a new direction.

4.

Active Experimentation This is where the learner applies the new or modified idea to the world around them to see what happens.

Kolb’s four learning styles outline the different ways in which a person learns. Knowing your learning style allows you to focus your learning on that method. Everyone responds to each learning style to some extent, though one style is likely to be favored over the others. These learning styles are often seen as a two-by-tow matrix whereby each learning style is a combination of two preferred styles, as follows:

1.

Diverging (feeling and watching) These people see things from differing perspectives. They prefer watching to doing and can use their imaginations to be creative in their overall learning styles. This style is so-called due to these individuals learning best in instances where they are required to gather information or generate new ideas.

2.

Assimilating (watching and thinking) These people can explore and analyse models logically and are more interested in concepts and tasks than in relationships or working in groups. Examples of preferred learning situations for these types of learners include lectures, readings, and individual learning that gives them time to analyse and think rather than discuss.

3.

Converging (doing and thinking) These people are good problem-solvers and are seen as being practical in their analyses of ideas and tasks. They tend to converge on the answers they want and prefer learning activities like technical tasks that involve finding solutions rather than interpersonal or group learning.

4.

Accommodating (doing and feeling) These people tend to be more practical in their outlook on learning, and they like to see problems from an intuitive point of view. They may rely more on gut feeling and like new-found challenges that involve taking an experiential approach.

The concepts developed by David Kolb can be used to initiate new ideas in learning sessions in three ways:

1.

Target more specific learning sessions for people we are working with

2.

Design training and coaching exercises that link up with the specific way our learners absorb information

3.

Personalise any learning intervention for people in line with the four stages listed above

By providing different learning initiatives, we increase the chances of the person assimilating the information effectively and helping them create ideas that may have been inaccessible if the learning had been in a style that didn’t suit their preferences.
Another Theoretical perspective is from Gibbs. Graham Gibbs developed his reflective cycle in 1988 based on each stage of David Kolb's experiential cycle from 1984. He suggested how a fully structured analysis of a situation could take place using prompt questions at each stage. It offers a framework for examining experiences, and given its cyclic nature lends itself particularly well to repeated experiences, allowing you to learn and plan from things that either went well or didn’t go well. It covers 6 stages as follows:

1.

Description of the experience

2.

Feelings and thoughts about the experience

3.

Evaluation of the experience, both good and bad

4.

Analysis to make sense of the situation

5.

Conclusion about what you learned and what you could have done differently

6.

Action plan for how you would deal with similar situations in the future, or general changes you might find appropriate.

I believe every practitioner should be able to pick and choose parts of these theoretical perspectives, they will be able to reflect on their practice very easily and they can find ways of improving their practice to ensure children are always well cared for and supported throughout their learning and development stages.

hey megha
i am doing the same course would you like to join me so we can help one another?
Im on the last module od my level 3 early years practitioner course and would like to discuss the below.

In the context of professional development, reflection refers to the process of critically examining one's experiences, actions, and outcomes to gain insights and improve future performance. This will play a crucial role in enhancing professional practice and promoting continuous learning and growth. Several theoretical perspectives shed light on the significance of reflection in professional development.

1. Dewey's Reflective Practice: John Dewey's work emphasized the importance of reflective thinking as an essential component of learning. According to Dewey, reflection enables individuals to question assumptions, evaluate experiences, and make connections between theory and practice. By engaging in reflective practice, professionals can refine their knowledge and skills, leading to improved professional development.
https://content.iriss.org.uk/reflectivepractice/what.html

2. Schön's Reflective Practitioner: Donald Schön's theory highlights the concept of reflective practice as a means of professional learning. He argues that professionals often face complex and unpredictable situations that require them to think on their feet. Reflection-in-action refers to the ability to think and adapt in real-time, while reflection-on-action involves retrospectively analyzing and learning from past experiences. By engaging in both forms of reflection, professionals can enhance their expertise and problem-solving abilities.
https://libguides.hull.ac.uk/reflectivewriting/schon

3. Kolb's Experiential Learning Cycle: David Kolb's model suggests that learning is a cyclical process that involves concrete experiences, reflective observation, abstract conceptualization, and active experimentation. Reflection is a central element in this cycle as it bridges the gap between concrete experience and abstract conceptualization. By reflecting on their experiences, professionals can extract meaningful insights and apply them to future situations, thereby promoting continuous development.
https://practera.com/what-is-the-experiential-learning-theory-of-david-kolb/#:~:text=Kolb's%20theory%20explains%20that%20concrete,for%20students%2C%20educators%20and%20employers.

4. Mezirow's Transformative Learning: Jack Mezirow's theory of transformative learning emphasizes reflection as a catalyst for personal and professional transformation. Mezirow suggests that individuals undergo transformative learning when they critically reflect on their assumptions, beliefs, and values, leading to a shift in perspective. By engaging in reflective dialogue and discourse, professionals can challenge their existing perspectives, broaden their understanding, and adapt to new contexts and challenges.
https://www.wgu.edu/blog/what-transformative-learning-theory2007.html

5. Gibbs' Reflective Cycle: Graham Gibbs' model provides a structured framework for reflective practice. The cycle consists of six stages: description of the event, feelings and thoughts about the experience, evaluation of the experience, analysis to make sense of the situation, conclusion regarding what could have been done differently, and action plan for future improvement. This model facilitates a systematic and comprehensive reflection process, enabling professionals to identify areas for growth and development.
https://www.ed.ac.uk/reflection/reflectors-toolkit/reflecting-on-experience/gibbs-reflective-cycle

In my forum discussion, you can share these theoretical perspectives on reflection and emphasize the importance of reflection in professional development. Highlight how reflection enhances self-awareness, promotes critical thinking, and fosters continuous learning. Encourage your peers to share their experiences with reflective practice and discuss how it has positively impacted their professional growth. Additionally, explore strategies and techniques for effective reflection, such as journaling, peer feedback, and mentorship. By engaging in a thoughtful and collaborative discussion, you can collectively deepen your understanding of the role of reflection in professional development.

What does everyone think of these notes about?

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