Reflection as a tool for learning

Introducing reflective thinking skills early on in the group process can enable group members as individuals to consider their own thought processes and emotional responses throughout the program, and to begin to consider alternative ways of thinking and feeling about things.  It is a higher order way of thinking…of thinking about thinking…which can allow a person to consider their own assumptions and beliefs, and to challenge these, revising any distorted interpretations of their behaviours and that of others in a given situation or context. Sharing in a group context allows for a range of perspectives to be explored and seen differently.  New behaviours, attitudes, feelings, and even memories can be considered broadening the possibilities for change. The outcome may be that members are encouraged to be less judgemental of themselves and others, leading to a deeper understanding of 'self' and more considered decision-making in moving forward. 

It is important to discuss with members that a critically reflective thinking process can be confronting, and a truly objective understanding is impossible to achieve. The process itself is best approached by suspending judgement and 'noticing' alternative thoughts and feelings, which can inform our intentions, actions, and responses in more purposeful ways. 

Ref:  Mezirow, J & Associates (eds) (1991). Fostering Critical Reflection in Adulthood: A Guide to Transformative and Emancipatory Learning. Cited in O’Hara, A & R, Pockett, (7th Ed), Skills for Human Services Practice: Working with Individuals, Groups and Communities, Oxford University Press, 2011. 

Exercise: The STAR-L framework for reflection can be used as a formula: 

  • Situation
  • Task
  • Action 
  • Result/Reflect 
  • Learning/Planning  

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Last modified: Friday, 7 April 2017, 3:18 PM