Tips for Reflection

Throughout your Placement Experience, you will observe and listen, ask questions and ask for support, be curious and take risks, and reflect on what you’re experiencing through documentation and self-awareness.

Reflection is essential to learning from your Placement Experience and can take different forms; you might choose to do a written response or have a conversation about it. Below are tips on ways to reflect on the experience.

Level 1: Reporting/Responding

Identify a THING you experienced in your placement; it can be anything that left an impression or something that you noticed, such as an event or issue that came up, or an element of your day (such as a workplace dynamic or atmosphere):

  • Describe the THING (event/ issue/ element); consider this from multiple perspectives and be thorough and specific about details. 
  • Observe how you reacted and responded:
  • How did it make you feel?
  • What did it make you think?
  • What did you do, in response? Did you act or express your opinion, or ask questions?
  • Why is this event / issue / element relevant - why does this stand out to you?
Level 2: Relating

Relate or make a connection between the THING and your own skills, professional experience, or knowledge of your field. You might ask yourself:

  • Have I experienced this before?
  • Were the conditions the same or different?
  • Do I have the skills and knowledge to deal with this? Explain.
  • How does this relate to my own creative work?
  • Does this give you any ideas or questions to explore and research further?
Level 3: Reasoning

Dig deeper into understanding the event / issue / element – highlight in detail underlying factors that are related to its cause or effect.

  • Explain and show why they are important in understanding of the THING. 
  • Refer to relevant theory and literature to support your reasoning. Consider different perspectives. Have you read or seen or talked to anyone about anything related to this THING? 
  • How would a knowledgeable person perceive/handle this? 
  • What are the ethics involved? 
  • What and whom is affected by this THING? And by the ways in which I reacted? 
Level 4: Reconstructing

Apply your reflections and experience of the THING to other experiences and situations: reframe or reconstruct your future actions or understanding with this new knowledge you’ve formed from your experience of the THING:

  • How would I deal with this next time?
  • What could I try doing next time, and why? Are there different options?
  • How do I want to feel about this THING in the future?
  • What am I responsible for now, what could I be responsible for when this happens in the future?
  • Are my ideas supported by theory - can anyone else’s knowledge support my experience?
  • Can I make changes to benefit others?

Adapted from Bain, J., Ballantyne, R., Packer, J., and Mills, C. (1999). Using journal writing to enhance student teachers' reflectivity during field experience placements. Teachers and Teaching, 5(1), 51-73.

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