Dimensions of Reflective Practice
• an inquiry-based thinking process in which teachers engage in systematic, rigorous, and disciplined thinking about their professional practice;
• an interactive process that is enriched through involvement with a community of learners;
• a learning process that allows teachers to gain in-depth understanding as they move from one professional learning experience to the next;
• the means by which teachers are able to see personal and professional growth as they make connections between and among professional learning experiences;
• a process that can be taught;
• enhanced by dispositions for personal and intellectual growth for self and others.
Six separate, yet strongly interdependent, Dimensions of Reflection have been identified that influence the education and development of educators at all levels of professional practice.
Reflection on Self as an Emerging, Developing, and Maturing Professional
• Teachers’ beliefs, values, and perspectives are products of personal life histories that are infused into professional practice. Reflective thinking allows educators the opportunity to challenge their personal belief system for its merit and educative value in a variety of teaching and learning situations. Reflective educators value reflection as integral to the reconceptualization and reshaping of educational practice over the life of their careers as professional educators.
• Teaching and learning is a social interactive process. We are at different times teachers and learners and as a result, both shape and are shaped through our interactions with students, their families and communities, and with professional colleagues. Educators must reflect on the impact of their presence in this community of learners, and the extent to which they are contributing members of a community primarily concerned with the education and development of children and youth.
Reflection on the Context of Teaching and Learning
• The development of a critical reflective capacity predisposes practitioners to consider the moral and ethical implications of educational practice, and the subsequent educative value of those practices for children and youth in a variety of learning environments. Reflective educators are able to assess the needs of different teaching and learning contexts and generate approaches to teaching that best suit the effective education of children and youth in that context.
Reflection on Student Diversity
• Students bring multiple social, physical, and cultural characteristics to school settings.
Reflection on student differences enables educators to more clearly understand students and their many pathways to learning. They are able to recognize the importance of social and cultural influences on learning, construct ways to utilize differences to enhance learning, and incorporate student’s experiences into the curriculum. In this way, they are able to motivate and teach broader numbers of students.
Reflection on Content
• Educators are exposed to the fundamental knowledge, methods of inquiry and investigations, important questions, and issues appropriate for the various academic disciplines. Teachers' thorough understanding of content facilitates reflection that allows for flexibility in structuring learning opportunities to foster meaningful learning among students. Educators also reflect on content knowledge across discipline areas for the purpose of strengthening students’ understanding of interrelated themes, concepts, and ideas among the academic disciplines.
Reflection on Methods and Materials
• The development from an emerging professional who is an expert learner well grounded in content knowledge to a developing and maturing teacher of content knowledge is a complex process. Reflection on methods and materials aids educators’ capability to make pedagogical decisions that are driven as much by learner attributes (e.g. prior knowledge, preconceptions, approach to learning) as they are by the nature of instructional strategies, as they are by the nature of the content.
Reflection on Assessment as a Process for Change
• Reflection on assessment allows educators to constantly be aware of the impact of the their practice on student learning and performance. Reflective educators engage assessment practices that are purposeful, not only in terms of what can be extrapolated about what students know and are able to do, but practices that also serve as a direct link to approaches to teaching, content accessed, and materials used to aid student learning. The link between teaching and assessment becomes clearer as educators use assessment information to plan for change in their professional practice