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theoretical perspectives on reflection in professional development

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.

whats your veiws?
Hi I am also at the stage of finishing my level 3 childcare and I have been looking at theoretical perspectives in relation to the importance of reflection within professional development, I looked at two theorists in particular, namely Christopher Johns and David Kolb. Johns saw his five stage model as an essential part to having a well structured reflection, which would help analyse complex decision making, as well as offering a useful tool to critically reflect. Johns thought a person should have both an internal and external focus while thinking; internal reflections are linked to your own emotions and thoughts, whilst external reflections are focused on the factual situation. Critical reflection allows people to take on board other people’s opinions and ideas, and enables a person to analyse what they have learnt, setting aside personal values/opinions and considering solid evidence on which to base their findings. Critical analysis allows a person to process complex problems or subjects by breaking them down into smaller sections, making them easier to understand and view. John’s’ five stage model is as followed:
1- Describing the situation/experience including: feelings, contributing factors, background factors.
2- Reflecting: what were you trying to achieve? Your approach, consequences of your actions both for yourself and for others, how you and others felt during the experience.
3- Factors that influence the situation: decision making, why you made certain decisions, what knowledge/ information did you base your decisions on.
4- Identifying improvements: did you have other options? What would the outcome have been from following alternative options? Could you have dealt with situations better?
5- Areas of improvement: what could you have changed? What knowledge have you learned which will change your practice going forward? Do you need to attain additional knowledge?

David Kolb also produced a reflective method, ‘The Experiential Learning Cycle’, which is also broken down into stages like Christopher Johns’s. Kolb’s theory comes in two parts however;8 the four stage learning cycle and the four separate learning styles linked to the cognitive process. Kolb’s four stage learning cycle:
1- Concrete Experience: immersing themselves within an experience.
2- Reflective Observation: reflecting on the new experience. What did you notice? What do you think? Were there inconsistencies between experience and understanding?
3- Abstract Conceptualisations: could things be done differently on reflection?
4- Active Experimentation: after changes have been made, try the concept again.
Kolb thought that for effective learning to take place, a person must progress through the whole cycle, in the correct order, and that no single stage is effective as a learning tool on its own.
Kolb’s four learning styles:
-Diverging: people who are able to look at things from different perspectives, prefer to ‘watch’ rather than ‘do’, gather information, use imagination to problem solve, have a broad cultural interest, tend to be imaginative and emotional, prefer to work in groups.
-Assimilating: People who require good clear explanations, understand wide-ranging information, are organised, tend to be less focused on people and more interested in logical concepts.
-Converging: People who are good at problem-solving and making decisions, use language to find solutions, prefer technical tasks.
-Accommodating: People with a hands-on style to learning, have an experimental approach, are attracted to new experiences, commonly act on ‘gut instinct’ rather than logic, rely on others for information.

Kolb believes people naturally have preferred learning styles due to their social environment, education and an individual’s cognitive structure. Understanding a child’s or adult’s learning style enables learning to be adjusted to their preferred method that best suits them.

It is important for practitioners to reflect honestly and objectively on the role we play in the children’s lives within our settings. By doing this, it will help to encourage our continued growth and learning, ensuring that we are providing the best possible care and learning experiences for the children. Both of the theorists that I have mentioned above promote professional development through reflective practice. Knowledge of the above theories will contribute to improved problem solving, whether it be in the moment or when planning future activities. Being aware of these theories will help to make us as practitioners, more aware about how to create effective learning environments and experiences, correctly catered for individual children/age groups.

I would like here other peoples thought/views?
Original post by ROO123456
Hi I am also at the stage of finishing my level 3 childcare and I have been looking at theoretical perspectives in relation to the importance of reflection within professional development, I looked at two theorists in particular, namely Christopher Johns and David Kolb. Johns saw his five stage model as an essential part to having a well structured reflection, which would help analyse complex decision making, as well as offering a useful tool to critically reflect. Johns thought a person should have both an internal and external focus while thinking; internal reflections are linked to your own emotions and thoughts, whilst external reflections are focused on the factual situation. Critical reflection allows people to take on board other people’s opinions and ideas, and enables a person to analyse what they have learnt, setting aside personal values/opinions and considering solid evidence on which to base their findings. Critical analysis allows a person to process complex problems or subjects by breaking them down into smaller sections, making them easier to understand and view. John’s’ five stage model is as followed:
1- Describing the situation/experience including: feelings, contributing factors, background factors.
2- Reflecting: what were you trying to achieve? Your approach, consequences of your actions both for yourself and for others, how you and others felt during the experience.
3- Factors that influence the situation: decision making, why you made certain decisions, what knowledge/ information did you base your decisions on.
4- Identifying improvements: did you have other options? What would the outcome have been from following alternative options? Could you have dealt with situations better?
5- Areas of improvement: what could you have changed? What knowledge have you learned which will change your practice going forward? Do you need to attain additional knowledge?

David Kolb also produced a reflective method, ‘The Experiential Learning Cycle’, which is also broken down into stages like Christopher Johns’s. Kolb’s theory comes in two parts however;8 the four stage learning cycle and the four separate learning styles linked to the cognitive process. Kolb’s four stage learning cycle:
1- Concrete Experience: immersing themselves within an experience.
2- Reflective Observation: reflecting on the new experience. What did you notice? What do you think? Were there inconsistencies between experience and understanding?
3- Abstract Conceptualisations: could things be done differently on reflection?
4- Active Experimentation: after changes have been made, try the concept again.
Kolb thought that for effective learning to take place, a person must progress through the whole cycle, in the correct order, and that no single stage is effective as a learning tool on its own.
Kolb’s four learning styles:
-Diverging: people who are able to look at things from different perspectives, prefer to ‘watch’ rather than ‘do’, gather information, use imagination to problem solve, have a broad cultural interest, tend to be imaginative and emotional, prefer to work in groups.
-Assimilating: People who require good clear explanations, understand wide-ranging information, are organised, tend to be less focused on people and more interested in logical concepts.
-Converging: People who are good at problem-solving and making decisions, use language to find solutions, prefer technical tasks.
-Accommodating: People with a hands-on style to learning, have an experimental approach, are attracted to new experiences, commonly act on ‘gut instinct’ rather than logic, rely on others for information.

Kolb believes people naturally have preferred learning styles due to their social environment, education and an individual’s cognitive structure. Understanding a child’s or adult’s learning style enables learning to be adjusted to their preferred method that best suits them.

It is important for practitioners to reflect honestly and objectively on the role we play in the children’s lives within our settings. By doing this, it will help to encourage our continued growth and learning, ensuring that we are providing the best possible care and learning experiences for the children. Both of the theorists that I have mentioned above promote professional development through reflective practice. Knowledge of the above theories will contribute to improved problem solving, whether it be in the moment or when planning future activities. Being aware of these theories will help to make us as practitioners, more aware about how to create effective learning environments and experiences, correctly catered for individual children/age groups.

I would like here other peoples thought/views?

Hi Roo123456- Your findings looking at theoretical perspectives in relation to reflective practice I found interesting to read. I particularly liked Kolb’s theory where you have written about the learning cycle linked to reflective practice, as well as the importance of learning styles. Being a wear of a child/adults learning style will improve your method in which you teach, therefore making lessons and activities more focused towards their specific needs.
Thank you for starting this forum
So glad we're diving into this topic. Reflection has been my go-to tool for personal and professional growth.
Reflection isn't just about looking inward, it's also about looking outward and questioning the world around us. It's this powerful tool for change and innovation, both on a personal and professional level.
When we challenge our assumptions and explore new ideas, we're not just growing as individuals; we're also contributing to the collective wisdom of our field. It's like we're all part of this giant tapestry of learning and discovery

Reflection is a cornerstone of professional development, particularly within the childcare sector where practitioners continuously strive to enhance their practices to provide the best possible care and learning experiences for children. In this regard, various theoretical perspectives on reflection, such as those presented by David Kolb, Gibbs, and Donald Schon, offer valuable insights into the reflective process and its significance in professional growth.
David Kolb's Experiential Learning Cycle provides a structured framework for understanding how individuals learn from experiences and apply that learning to future situations. By immersing oneself in concrete experiences, reflecting on observations, conceptualizing abstract ideas, and actively experimenting with new approaches, practitioners can engage in a continuous cycle of learning and development. Kolb's emphasis on the importance of hands-on learning and the integration of new experiences aligns well with the dynamic and interactive nature of childcare practice.
Moreover, Kolb's identification of four distinct learning styles—diverging, assimilating, converging, and accommodating—underscores the importance of recognizing and accommodating individual differences in learning preferences. By understanding and catering to the diverse learning styles of both children and adults, practitioners can optimize their teaching and caregiving approaches to ensure maximum engagement and effectiveness.
Gibbs' Cycle of Reflection, derived from Kolb's experiential learning model, offers a systematic approach to reflection that involves six steps: description, feelings, evaluation, analysis, conclusion, and action plan. This iterative process encourages practitioners to challenge assumptions, explore new ideas, and link theory with practice. By critically examining their experiences and identifying areas for improvement, practitioners can enhance their professional competencies and address any gaps in their knowledge or skills.
Similarly, Donald Schon's concept of reflective practice emphasizes the importance of ongoing reflection in professional learning and development. Schon distinguishes between two types of reflection: reflecting-in-action, which involves thinking on one's feet during the course of action, and reflecting-on-action, which occurs after the fact and allows for deeper analysis and learning. By engaging in both forms of reflection, practitioners can continuously adapt and refine their practices in response to evolving challenges and opportunities.
Overall, the theoretical perspectives on reflection provided by Kolb, Gibbs, and Schon offer valuable guidance for practitioners seeking to enhance their professional development in the childcare sector. By incorporating reflective practices into their daily routines and embracing diverse learning styles, practitioners can cultivate a culture of continuous learning and improvement that ultimately benefits the children and families they serve.

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