How Can I Be a Reflective Practitioner?

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The key to reflections is to be:

  • Open-minded
  • Responsible
  • Involved
  • Whole-hearted

Educators who reflect are those who have a commitment to self- improvement and have higher self esteem (Killen 2007).

What Can Reflections Look Like?

  • Reflective Journals
  • Reflective Portfolios
  • Reflective Conversations
  • Reflection Meetings
  • Reflective Questions
  • Family Reflections
  • Reflections from the Kitchen
  • Educational Leader’s role.

Reflective practice is the key to educators being able to embrace the EYLF and NQS, move from “meeting” to “exceeding” but most importantly being able to learn and grow from the millions of decisions we make every day on behalf of the children in our care. A commitment to reflective practice results in improved teaching practices, a rich learning environment, deeper and more authentic connections with children and families, improved team communications and relationships and a whole centre approach to developing QIP’s.

Start with reflective questions built into the ‘NQS Guide to the National Quality Standard’ in the new Guide to the NQF (ACECQA 2018). We have included these for Exceeding Theme 2; Critical Reflection further into the book.

Critical reflections and what they are not

Critical reflection is the most misunderstood concept in the NQS and EYLF/MTOP. Before we start we need know what isn’t a critical reflection. Firstly, a critical reflection is not a written description of what happened during the day. Secondly, an

evaluation isn’t a critical reflection. You evaluate your educational lessons, activities and learning environments. We recently spoke to one service and asked them what they were doing that day. One activity involved sharks and children were watching YouTube clips of sharks to learn more. The following might be an evaluation of the activity.

Evaluation

The activity could have worked better if children watched the clips in smaller groups. Some children on the edge of the groups could not see the screen as well as those in front, so they often interrupted or started fidgeting which distracted the other children. I also think we should have watched the clips before talking with the children about sharks. Then they would have been able to ask questions about what they watched in the video.

What is a critical reflection?

The EYLF says ‘Critical reflection involves closely examining all aspects of events and experiences from different perspectives. Educators often frame their reflective practice within a set of overarching questions, developing more specific questions for particular areas of enquiry.’

Here is an example of a critical reflection using the shark story.

I wonder how much children know about the ocean? How many of them have been to the beach? It would be hard to understand about sharks living in the ocean if children have no idea what the ocean actually is. (Child’s perspective) Let’s plan some activities to learn more about the beach and ocean. Sharks look very scary too, and there’s been some media reports lately of people being attacked by sharks. Would these types of stories scare children? Should we continue to look at them or not? I kind of think sharks are all dangerous and should not be protected. How are my beliefs affecting children’s learning? (Educator perspective, educator beliefs and attitudes) From the clip today I can see that there are lots of different types of sharks, and not all can hurt people.  I wonder what families feel about sharks? How is that influencing their child’s understanding of sharks?  Tate’s dad is a fisherman while Miley’s brother is a surfer. How can I bring their everyday lives into learning more about sharks (families’ perspective?)

From the above example you can see how the different perspectives can inform your future planning.

Look at your documentation and identify where you are critically reflecting and where you are not.

 

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