What is Reflective Practice?
Reflective Practice can be defined as “thinking about and critically analyzing one’s actions with the goal of improving one’s professional practice” (Imel 1992). It is to look back at and compare a piece of work, typically as a goal within one’s professional field. By doing this, one can track their progress and continuous learning in a timely manner. It is typically a self-generated process which involves multiple ‘phases’ in order to improve on one’s work. Reflective Practice can also be seen as a commitment to progressing within a desired field.
Psychologist, Jennifer Moon states:
“Reflection is a form of mental processing that we use to fulfill a purpose or to achieve some anticipated outcome. It is applied to gain a better understanding of relatively complicated or unstructured ideas and is largely based on the reprocessing of knowledge, understanding and, possibly, emotions that we already possess.”
Why Should We Do It?
Simple- in order to improve our knowledge! However, there are many more reasons to reflectively practice, including advancing in education or in the work force. For example; it is unlikely that a nurse would advance in her career should she not reflect on her past experiences and/or mistakes. This reason alone is enough for people in all work fields to constantly reflectively practice, particularly in today’s world where jobs are in a higher demand on a daily basis, therefore making people much more easier to ‘replace’.
How does one go about Reflective Practice?
In order to do so, it is suggested that there are multiple ‘phases’ of reflective practice, according to Gibbs’ diagram (attached below). As one constantly reflects on their work they will be almost ‘conditioned’ to start practicing the way they have learned to over time. Keeping a written journal is perhaps one of the most common and popular methods of reflective practice, particularly for those in the work force, as it is easy to track over time. This also helps with describing how one feels about their work and puts thoughts on to paper for later reflection.
Moon, J. (2005) Guide For Busy Academics No.4: Learning Through Reflection. Higher Education Academy
Imel, S. (1992). Reflective practice in adult education. Retrieved March 27, 2014, from http://www.ucdoer.ie/index.php/Defining_Reflective_Practice