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Unit

1
Preparing for Reflective Practice

Overview
The purpose of this unit is three-fold. Firstly, it will help you to examine your readiness for reflective practice by engaging in some self-assessment activities that will allow you to begin to look at yourself as a learner-practitioner. The introspective activities will also serve as the initial step for you to begin to prepare your profile which will emphasize your characteristics as a reflective learner- practitioner. Secondly, you will explore the concepts and principles of reflective practice to identify their ambiguities and complexity and to reconcile any differences your may notice between your perspectives and other professionals or learners. Finally, it will be difficult for you to escape the demands that reflecting on your practice will make of you. However, space will be provided for the knowledge or new insights you have to share as you attempt to address the problems that confront or is presented to you as learner-practitioner.

Unit Objectives
By the end of this unit you will be able to: 1. Analyze the meaning of learner-practitioner and personal readiness 2. Prepare a personal profile which conveys your characteristics as learner-practitioners
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3. Identify areas/domains of development that your profile emphasizes 4. Explain the purpose of a personal profile in helping them to assess your readiness for the course 5. Identify any need for personal development that you would like to address as learner- practitioners. 6. Record the thoughts, feelings and actions experienced as you attempt to achieve the objectives of the unit

Readings
Key Terms (preliminary pages: xiv xvi & xviii xxii in: Bolton, G. (2010). Reflective practice: Writing and professional development (3 Ed.) Thousand Oaks, Californa: SAGE Publications Inc.

http://classweb.gmu.edu/awinsler/ordp/theory.html Retrieved July 22, 2010. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/experience Retrieved July 22, 2010. http://ardictionary.comExperience/6621 Retrieved July 22, 2010. http://www.learningandteaching.info/learning/experience.htm Retrieved July 22, 2010. http://www.assetproject.info/learner_methodologies/before/characteristics.htm Retrieved July 22, 2010. http://www.uwsp.edu/education/lwilson/curric/newtaxonomy.htm Retrieved July 22, 2010.
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SESSION 1.1

Personal Readiness: Profile of the Learner- Practitioner


Introduction
This session is designed for you to assess your readiness for reflective practice as determined by the boundaries of the objectives for this session. You will be interacting with terms associated with your role during the course and will examine yourself in light of this role. Note, however, that you may explore beyond what is planned for you and share any new insights as you interact with each other.

Learning Objectives
By the end of the session you should be able to: 1. Analyze the meaning of learner-practitioner and personal readiness. 2. Prepare a personal profile which conveys your characteristics as learner- practitioners.

Exploration Time
You would have been reading the resources for the unit and by now have asked yourself several questions. To prepare yourself for the role and responsibilities that reflective practice will be demanding of you as you engage in the learning experiences an activity is planned for you. Enjoy ! Lets see what it leads to.
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ACTIVITY 1.1

(a)

Listen to the song I believe I can Fly by R Kelly or Jimmy Cliffs You Can Get It If You Really Want. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=18EAqHx2lMk While doing so, pay keen attention to your behaviours.

(b) Record your behaviours in a manner with which you are comfortable. (c ) Complete the self check instrument provided at http://courses.open.uwi.edu/file.php/39/Course_Units/PR_profile.pdf

As you worked through activity 1.1 you would have noticed that it asked you to focus on your behaviour. This is because reflective practice is mainly about who you are as a person and as a professional. To improve your professional life, you have to engage in those activities and behaviours that allow you to self-assess and make necessary changes. If you are comfortable working on you this is a sign of readiness. If not, it is a hurdle we will cross together in this course. You may have noticed as well that you were not given clear instructions for activity one (1). More importantly, you were not given a meaning for the term - behaviour. Instead, the assumption was that: behaviour has a single meaning and that all of us would be aware of this meaning. Note too, that if your perspective of behaviour was concerned with outward actions only, this would have affected your rating on each characteristic. So what do we learn? Lessons from Activity 1.1 are outlined below: This activity may have helped you to realize that we need to:
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be careful of our assumptions be aware of the simple things we take for granted realize that words have multiple meanings based on the context negotiate meanings if we respect diversity
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So how are these ideas connected to personal readiness?

Signs of Readiness
Respecting diversity in meaning is one sign of readiness for this course. Evidence of this respect is that we do not take words for granted but seek to verify their meaning based on the context. Another sign of readiness for reflective practice is self-awareness. It is important that we know ourselves our thoughts, feelings, actions, assumptions, beliefs etc. If we do not know ourselves, then it becomes difficult for others to help us develop professionally. Lets examine this further. Did you read the problem statement for this unit? If you did, probably you noticed you were expected to: Look at others and Look at self. We sometimes find it easier to look at others than at ourselves in difficult or negative situations. However, our readiness to self examine is another sign of readiness for reflective practice. This is why you were invited to check your behaviour at the start of the session. But what else should we use to decide if we are ready? Complete the Readiness Profile below. This activity should be useful as you determine your readiness.

How can I tell if I am ready?


Skills Habits Knowledge Disposition

Personal Readiness
Profile

Write about yourself using each aspect of the readiness profile included above.

A self profile of your knowledge, skills, disposition, values and habits that are associated with your practice as a learner, leader or as an individual, communicates characteristics
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that enhance and/or hinder reflective practice. Complete the self-profile on the course page to chart your own readiness. Read the list of key terms on page xviiii - xxii - in your prescribed text Bolton, G. (2010). Reflective practice: Writing and professional development. Use the ideas from the text to help you to better understand: what is expected of you as a reflective practitioner? What readiness for practice up to this point is about?
One of the objectives of this session is for us to analyze the meaning of LEARNER-PRACTITIONER. Before doing so, let us share what this term means to each of us by completing this activity.


ACTIVITY 1.2 PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE (a) What does the term learner-practitioner mean to you? Illustrate your definition using a comic, a cartoon or any other visual and provide a brief explanation. Share your meaning with others by posting it. CLICK HERE TO POST. (b) Analyze your definition and selected definitions of other members of our community. Share your findings in our discussion forum. (c) What have you concluded from the discussions? Lets see if there are similarities and differences between/among our perspectives.

Negotiating Meaning
In this course we have to agree on a perspective of the term learner-practitioner so that working or learning together will be less tedious due to misunderstandings that may result

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from diversity in meaning. In starting this process, let me share my definition and analysis of the term learner-practitioner from doing Activity 1.2. I have chosen an equation (mathematical expression) to represent my perspective of the term learner-practitioner. Maybe my representation seems quite simple a taken for granted approach. But what does it mean?

Note that the terms learner and practitioner are still unclear. By elaborating on my equation I try to bring greater clarity.

Learner An adult who values learning or development of all aspects of their life and voluntarily applies knowledge, skills and appropriate attitudes in order to achieve

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personal and communal goals that are acceptable by the society . These learners also construct new knowledge to help in making their context better. Practice The process of engaging in the various activities (routine or random) that are pertinent to achieving personal, communal goals in formal, informal and non-formal settings or context. These settings include the home, community (local and/or global), workplace and institutions of learning. Learner-Practitioner By integrating ideas from both terms, I create a definition. My approach is described as a cognitive strategy as I have analyzed the word and have used the meaning of the key words it contains to formulate my definition. Lets read my definition.

LEARNER-PRACTITIONERS: Adults who apply what is being learned in the various settings in which they have to function or work to achieve goals and do so as a norm or natural way of behaving in order to improve themselves and their context.
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Analysis of Perspectives of Learner-Practitioner


Maybe your analysis of my perspective of learner-practitioner reveals that we share either similar or different viewpoints. So lets do some comparison and document our observations in the table below.


ACTIVITY 1. 3 Compare various perspectives shared in our learning environment and record your findings in the table provided.


Table 1. 2. Similarities and Differences among Perspectives of Learner-Practitioner Similarities among Perspectives Differences among Perspectives

1 2 3 4

1 2 3 4

In completing the table you may have focussed on similarities and differences in terms of the meaning conveyed. In another unit, we will examine the importance of paying keen attention to the meanings we give to words or the definitions we accept and use as guides. When we examined the
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definition I shared, we should notice that it is explanatory. However, it has prescriptive value if we choose to apply what it implies. This means that if we examine ourselves in light of the implications of this definition, we may have to modify our readiness profile if we did not consider the characteristics of the learner-practitioner. From the definition I have shared, the characteristics that are implied are as follows:

Learner-practitioners: i. Possess the characteristics of an adult learner ii. Are learning oriented iii. take initiative to apply what they are learning iv. learn in a variety of settings and not just formal ones v. value development of self, others and their environment
ACTIVITY 1. 4 Read Brookfields (1995) characteristics of the adult learner and discuss the implications of his perspectives for: (a) Interpreting the definition of learner-practitioner (b) Recommending a definition for learner-practitioner that we should use as a community or group (c) Expanding your profile in terms of readiness. (d) Extending the list of characteristics in Table 1.2.

NB: Do not forget to modify your readiness profile if this is necessary.


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SESSION 1.2

Development Needs from Personal Profile


Overview
During this session we will be looking more closely at your readiness profile for you to learn more about yourself, understand why this activity was included to help you determine your readiness for reflective practice. At some point during the experience, you will have to decide based on data from your profile, whether or not you need to invest in your development as a person.

Learning Objectives
By the end of this session you should be able to: 1. Identify areas/domains of development that your profile emphasizes. 2. Explain the purpose of a personal profile in helping you to assess your readiness for the course. 3. Identify any need for personal development that you would like to address as a learner-practitioner.
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Exploration Time
ACTIVITY 1.5 What do we mean by domains of development? Here is an activity to help you to think about this question and provide an answer. Carefully analyze the image below and note what parts of the human body (internal and external) are affected. Now compare the parts you have identified with your readiness profile. What do you notice?
I am feeling so happy - I am running faster and faster.


Image sourced from Microsoft Clip Art 2010

Maybe you realise that the person in this comic is thinking about a change he has noticed in his physical ability. This change is also causing a feeling of happiness. But what parts of the body could thinking, feeling and physical ability represent? By now I am assuming that your answer showed that thinking is connected to the HEAD, feeling to the HEART and physical ability to the LIMBS or MUSCLES or those parts responsible for MOVEMENT. Notice that I did not link any of these behaviours to the brain. Why? I was thinking that the brain is connected to all parts of the body and is responsible for our capacity to think, feel and act overtly. So our body is designed for each part to work harmoniously and not in competition. So to isolate and limit the brain to thinking only could lead to misconception or its relationship to other parts of the body. Despite the interrelated nature of the body, we often work at improving the various parts of ourselves as a normal way of life. In terms of
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our HEAD, HEART and PHYSICAL ABILITY, what are we trying to improve or develop? From your readiness profile, you probably noticed that knowledge, attitudes and skills are included. These elements of our profile can be linked to a main part of our body and indicates that we should be aware of our capacity to think, feel, and move or act. This means too that we should be working to improve our capacity in all these areas and so should take care of the mental, emotional and physical aspects of the SELF. If we do so, we can keep in peak condition and perform well as learner-practitioners. We will now look more closely at how our skills, knowledge and attitudes are connected to head, heart and physical ability by examining the case scenario that follow.

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ACTIVITY 1.6

Case Kaveen is a table-tennis player who loves the game so much that she practices everyday to improve her speed and the techniques that can make her more competitive. Her knowledge of the game has been improving as she uses her mistakes to identify what she needs to study about the game. Sometimes she talks with her coach and her team-mates, watch videos of the sport or read literature. Her coach noticed that she understands the game but has three major problems. Firstly, she has been focusing on the technical aspect of the game and ignoring other important principles for success. Secondly, she tends to start her game at a slow pace and work at building speed instead of starting with high energy. Thirdly, whenever she is playing and is jeered by her competitors, she tends to give up and if her team-mates or fans are not shouting words of encouragement she loses. Kaveens coach began to wonder how he can help her to improve in terms of knowledge, skills and attitude. He decided to share his concern and invite her to work on a plan to improve her profile. She would start by completing the table below using the following: Examples of my SKILL, KNOWLEDGE and ATTITUDE to work on and possible steps to improve.
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Table 1. How I will improve my Profile Coachs Questions Interpretation of Questions Answer to questions from the coachs concern ---------------- Parts of myself to work on (domains) Mental Example of skill, knowledge and attitude to work on ------------ Possible steps to improve self -------------

What is going on in your head when you are playing? What is going on in your heart when jeered? What do you notice about your physical ability that prevents you from winning many times?

Think about your knowledge of the game

Think about your reaction to your feelings ---------------- Think about your pace. ----------------

Emotional

------------- -----------

------------ --------------

Physical

Focus Question (a) Complete the table based on what you think was Kaveens response. (b) Compare your answer with the assigned readings for this unit/session. Share your response by posting it in the discussion forum and by commenting on other persons response. From your readings and discussion you probably noticed that there is no one way to classify the self into domains of development. The aspect of our profile that is concerned with thinking (HEAD WORK) is called the mental or cognitive domain. That which is concerned
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with our FEELINGS or EMOTIONS is the affective and that which pertains to our PHYSICAL and PHYSIOLOGICAL aspect of self is the psychomotor (Bloom & Kathwohl, 1956). It is important to remember that when we examine our emotions we also consider how touch and smell affect our feelings. We should also realize that we have skills that are not limited to the physical domain. Some skills are mental (cognitive) and are called thinking skills. Some of these include problem solving, critical thinking and creative thinking. We also have social skills which are associated with the affective domain. These include inter-personal skills (how we relate to others) and intra personal skills (how we manage our emotions/feelings). Table 2.2 summarizes this information for us. Finally, although we have different domains and each serves a unique function, we must remember that they are interrelated. This is why we should do our profile to get a better picture of the domains we have emphasizing and see if we have been neglecting any. If we are guilty of over- emphasizing one, we need to change and find ways to encourage total development of ourselves.

ACTIVITY 1.7 Look back at your learner-practitioner profile and your readiness profile. What domains of development have you addressed? How can you use Kaveens case for your benefit?

If you are to develop as a learner-practitioner you have to be aware of your strengths and limitations and like Kaveen you should decide on strategies to improve the limitations and make the best use of your strengths and work at either maintaining or improving them. You should also engage in activities that will help you develop continuously as a normal way of life. So if you are interested in addressing any limitations you notice about yourself, then probably you should begin to search for answers by reading, discussing the matter with persons you trust or share with members of this community. As you modify your profile,
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you will begin to see how ready you are for the possibilities and the demands of reflective practice. Before the course is finished, you should have a collection or record of evidence of who you are as a reflective practitioner.

In closing, If you read the preliminary pages (xiv xvi) of your prescribed text - Reflective Practice by (Bolton 2010) and Blooms Revised Taxonomy (2000), you should realise the importance of a personal profile as a learner-practitioner. While Bolton speaks about the gaps and habitual boundaries that become hindrances to our development, Blooms Revised Taxonomy indicates that place of self-knowledge (metacognitive knowledge) in solving problems. While we may not be used to self-exploration, we will have to challenge our habits that limit us from using self-knowledge in a strategic way. As we continue preparing for reflective practice, this may become clearer. Note also that if you have doubts about the relevance of a profile to your development as a reflective practitioner, this too will unfold as you engage in the learning activities and become accountable and responsible for your learning as implied by Bolton (2010).

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SESSION 1.3

Record Keeping of Experiences


Introduction
This session will challenge you to assume a sub-role of the reflective practitioner a record keeper. You will also begin to analyse your experiences and assess your readiness in light of this role.

Learning Objectives
By the end of this session you should be able to: Record the thoughts, feelings and actions you have experienced as you attempt to achieve the objectives of the unit Exploration Time In previous sessions, we have learned the importance of sharing or negotiating meaning. In analyzing the objective for this session, one term that we have not discussed before seems to be glaring at me. What could that term be and what does it mean? Lets see how you will manage the following activity before we examine this term.

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Activity 1.8

(a) How successful have you been in achieving the objectives of unit one (1)? (b) What was the experience like? (c) Record your answer to these questions in the journal provided. Be as thorough or provide as much detail as you can in a single attempt.

Lessons from Activity 1.8 Did you struggle to record your experience? For you to answer yes or no, you must have had a meaning for the term experience. While I cannot confirm that you discussed your meaning with other members of our learning environment or compare with published ones, I am assuming that for you it was about one or more of the following: Situations you encountered Recollection of knowledge, skills or attitudes used Observations you made Activities you engaged in

What could you add to this list from the definitions of experience you may be found from your readings? Having clarified the term experience, we will now deal with whether or not recording of the experience was a struggle for you. If you answered yes to that question, then you may be among those persons for whom recording of experiences is not the norm. This may be because you do not enjoy writing or keeping diaries or storing your past as data. If we are to improve as learner-practitioners,

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however, data about ourselves become very useful and add to the credibility of our claims. These data may also be used to tell our stories of the experiences we have had. As we journey through the course together we will find a variety of means for recording our experiences and the stories they tell. Hopefully you will be able to select an appealing alternative to writing text only but we will explore these in another unit. What we will do now, is analyze what you recorded as an answer to Activity 1.9
ACTIVITY 1. 9 Check the contents of your recorded data to see if you considered your: 1. Thoughts (cognitive) 2. Feelings (affective) 3. Physical actions (psycho-motor)

If you addressed all aspects this means you are emphasizing what is commonly called wholistic or holistic development by psychologists. Although a psychologist may focus on a single domain, and we may find ourselves focusing on that domain which may seem more important than the others, the aim is to treat all domains with equal importance. Brown (as cited by Brandes and Ginnis, (1986) refers to this approach as confluence. This approach signifies that we work at developing ourselves in entirety and honour the interrelationship among all aspects or domains of the self. So, did you include all the areas of development listed above? If you did not, what are some possible reasons for the omission? Should you reconsider the areas you considered? In
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looking at the postings by other members of this learning environment, is yours different? How so? Maybe Activity 1.10 below will be useful in assisting you to address these questions.

iACTIVITY 1. 10 (a) What could be other ways of classifying domains of development besides that of Bloom et.al (2000)? (b) Compare your categories with those shared by other members of this course? Comment on similarities and differences.

Visit this Website for more information: http://www.uwsp.edu/education/lwilson/curric/newtaxonomy.htm Note that the classification of human development into these domains is just one of many and that it is the psychologists perspectives we have used. Other classifications from a psychological perspective may be broader and take into consideration spiritual and moral development as separate domains from the ones we have been discussing. A classification which includes these aspects of development may be as follows: (a) Physical development (b) Moral development (c) Spiritual development (d) Personality development (e) Social development (f) Cognitive development Each of these areas of development would be referred to as a domain.
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If we focus on development from the perspective of our practice or a profession and who we are as members, we may use classifications such as: (a) Personal (various aspects of the self) versus professional (principles and practices associated with our field of study, a discipline or field of specialization). or (b) Private versus Public domain or (c) Biological versus Spiritual (non-biological) Lessons Learned from Session So what are the lessons for us to observe as we look at ourselves and keep working at our profile? 1. It is important to pay attention to all aspects of ourselves (Confluence) 2. There are different ways of classifying domains of development. 3. When we identify a limitation with any domain, we should identify strategies to help us improve or become better 4. We should begin to practice to look at ourselves from all angles. 5. As we keep a record of our development as learner-practitioners, we should document our observations that relate to the various domains.

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References
1. Bloom, Benjamin S. & David R. Krathwohl. (1956). Taxonomy of educational objectives: The classification of educational goals, by a committee of college and university examiners. Handbook 1: Cognitive domain. New York , Longmans. 2. Bloom et al, (2000). Retrieved from http://www.uwsp.edu/education/lwilson/curric/newtaxonomy.htm July 22, 2010. 3. Bloom, B., (1956), Anderson, L., Krathwohl, D. (2000). Beyond bloom. Retrieved from http://www.uwsp.edu/education/lwilson/curric/newtaxonomy.htm July 22, 2010. 4. Bolton, G. (2010). Reflective practice: Writing & professional development. London: SAGE. 5. Brandes, D., & Ginnis, P. (1986). A guide to student centered learning. Great Britain: Athenaeum Press. 6. Brandes, D., & Ginnis, P. (2001). A guide to student centered learning. United Kingdom: Nelson Thornes Ltd. 7. Brookfield, S. (1995). Becoming a critically reflective teacher. San Fransico: JosseyBass Inc. 8. Brown, J. (1971). Confluence in education: Integrating consciousness for human change. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.

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i For further discussion on confluence see Brandes, D., & Ginnis, P. (2001). A guide to student
centered learning. Great Britain: Athenaeum Press.

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