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H808 – Reflection and learning (CA2.4)

October 6, 2010

Yes, Moon was a lot easier to read and comprehend, though Phyllis Creme had definitely some good ideas, like the ‘you + the course material’ that some of my peers mention as well. I found Creme consideration whether or not learning journals should be assessed or not, and her introduction of alternative forms of assessments (formative assessment) are worth to reflect on. However, reading her paper felt like Groundhog day, as she repeated herself so often. I found the introduction of some theoretical approaches to reflection that influence learning and teaching today interesting in Moons paper and found it as well valuable that she presented some methods for integrating reflective activity into the curriculum. Her suggestions range from the learning journals, portfolios, reflection on work experience, to reflective exercises and reflection in careers and personal development work.

The main purpose of reflective writing or journal writing is to broaden, to expand the horizon of the learners and to encourage them to take a deeper approach. Learners should not simply memorize facts, but should work with the information or even go beyond the information given, to challenge the sense and meaning of the context and to construct a wider alternative context (Engeström,2001). One of my peers  view reflection as a challenge to current knowledge and practice for better future life, which I think brings it good to a point. I think that is indeed the main purpose and intended outcome that reflective writing enables personal and professional development, which is at best self-regulated and intrinsically determined.

Reflective writing also helps to reach higher learning objectives in Blooms Taxonomy, not only remembering but analysing, evaluating and creating. Reflective writing also allows learners to develop a unique voice and to establish a new self-identity. However, as Crème argues that could be a two-edged sword as some learners might simply construct the identity that tutors might wish to see instead of displaying their true identity, because they might fear admitting that they haven’t understand course material or to acknowledge mistakes, might let them look bad. I think it is an important issue to be aware of when introducing learning journals to learners. Besides that do I think that learners can greatly gain from reflective writing, it is an effective way of learning.

Encouraged by my H800 studies I wanted to introduce blogging or learning  journals to my students, but experience access problems to computer labs in my school, and have also the feeling that I should spent more time in careful preparation as I have done so far, that the project is more likely to become a success. That’s another downside that I experience, the course is so demanding and rushes the whole time, including my full-time job at school, so I simply have no time to introduce any of my new insights, tools, ideas to my class. But the time will come, hopefully next years student will profit from my study.

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