Theoretical perspectives on reflection to professional development

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TanyaAubrey
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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?
Last edited by TanyaAubrey; 2 years ago
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melikegu315
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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.
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TanyaAubrey
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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!
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MCatulo
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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
Last edited by MCatulo; 11 months ago
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lynsey!!
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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.
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lynsey!!
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i welcome your views.
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RichardsT99
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#7
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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!
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