Connect: What is reflective practice?



Approx. ?? minutes

Learning outcomes

In this section you will connect with the Reflective Practice by drawing on both your own everyday experiences and your teaching practice.

Learning outcomes:

  • To think about what reflection is and how we engage with it in our everyday experiences and teaching practice

  • To consider the benefits of reflective practice for both ourselves and our learners

  • To weigh up the benefits with the drawbacks of reflection and how we can overcome these drawbacks

What is reflective practice? (10 mins)

TASK: Take a moment to write your own definition of reflective practice. Don’t look for a definition on the internet; just write the first thing that comes into your head when you think of ‘reflective practice’. 

When you have finished, compare your ideas with the definitions below, and consider the following questions. 

  • Which definition is closest to your own? 
  • Which definition do you find most useful? Why?
  • Do you usually engage in reflective practice as defined in these quotes in your lessons? Why or why not?

Defining ‘Reflective practice’“Reflective practice is the ability to reflect on one’s actions so as to engage in a process of continuous learning.” (Schon 1983)“…the way that we learn from an experience in order to understand and develop practice” (Jasper 2003) “Reflection is different from simply recalling an event, or even discussing a day at work with a colleague. The benefits of reflective practice are many and varied. It can lead to an analysis of actions in such a way that it can become evident how things might have been done differently, or equally the recognition that things are done well and should be repeated.” (Hogston and Simpson 1999)”A process of looking back on what has been done and pondering on it and learning lessons from what did or did not work” (Conway 1994)Reflective teaching means looking at what you do in the classroom, thinking about why you do it, and thinking about if it works – a process of self-observation and self-evaluation. (British Council)“Learning teaching… involves reflection on what happened, together with an excitement about trying a slightly different option next time… is an aware and active use of the experiential learning cycle.” Scrivener (2011: 386)
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Reflecting on reflective practice

‘Reflection is a systematic reviewing process for all teachers which allows you to make links from one experience to the next, making sure your students make maximum progress.’ Cambridge Assessment English ()

TASK: Now visit the page Getting started with Reflective Practice on the Cambridge Assessment English website and watch the video titled What is reflective practice?To what extent do their ideas compare with yours?

NB: You may find this web page a useful resource to explore more widely.