Event Title

Why Should We Ask Students to Reflect?

Location

Assembly Hall

Event Website

http://www.cpe.vt.edu/cuenr/index.html

Start Date

26-3-2010 4:30 PM

End Date

26-3-2010 5:00 PM

Description

Reflection is typically thought to be an active and deliberate mental activity, whereby individuals retrieve some past experience, think about it and evaluate it (Jeffs and Smith 2005). John Dewey defined reflection as “active, persistent, and careful consideration of any belief or supposed form of knowledge in the light of the grounds that support it and the further conclusions to which it tends” (Dewey, 1933: 118). In terms of student learning, reflection creates associations between what one does or did (actions) and what is being taught. Associations become stronger with familiarity; strong associations are necessary for humans to learn (Kotulak, 1996). Reflection can also occur spontaneously without overly taxing us. This type of reflection can be stimulated by non‐taxing, restorative experiences in natural settings (Kaplan and Kaplan, 1989). So, in terms of optimum conditions for learning, reflection is one component. If we tie reflection to experiences in nature, learning via reflection should come easier than, say, reflection on one’s commute to work Therefore, those of us in natural resource education foster learning of subject matter in a domain than is inherently fascinating and subject to the learning benefits of reflection. Boud, Keough and Walker (1985) condensed Dewey’s original formulation into threes aspects of reflection with more detail on the role of emotion: Returning to experience, attending to feelings, evaluating experience. This presentation demonstrates learning activities that exemplify these three aspects of reflection and discusses the strengths and weaknesses of learning by reflection. Eight years of student scores (n=150) on traditional exams and reflective essays aimed at assessing similar content are compared. The conclusion is that the benefits outweigh costs, with some caveats, a similar conclusion reached by Chirema (2007). Boud, D., Keough, R., & Walker, D. (eds.) (1985). Reflection: Turning experience into learning. London: Kogan Page. Boud, D., Cressey, P., & Docherty, P. (eds.) (2006). Productive reflection at work: learning for changing organizations. New York: Routledge. Chirema, K.D. (2007). The use of reflective journals in the promotion of reflection and learning in post‐registration nursing students. Nurse Education Today, 27, 192‐202. Dewey, J. (1933). How we think. New York: D.C. Heath. Jeffs, T. & Smith, M. K. (2005). Informal education. conversation, democracy and learning. Nottingham: Educational Heretics Press. Kaplan, R. & Kaplan, S. (1989). The experience of nature: a psychological perspective. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Kotulak, R. (1996). Inside the brain: revolutionary discoveries of how the mind works. Kansas City, MO: Andrews and McMeel.

Comments

Citation: Propst, D.B.. 2010. Why should we aks students to reflect. UENR Biennial Conference, Session Innovations in Pedagogy, Improving Understanding, Paper Number 3. http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/cuenr/Sessions/Understanding/3/.

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Mar 26th, 4:30 PM Mar 26th, 5:00 PM

Why Should We Ask Students to Reflect?

Assembly Hall

Reflection is typically thought to be an active and deliberate mental activity, whereby individuals retrieve some past experience, think about it and evaluate it (Jeffs and Smith 2005). John Dewey defined reflection as “active, persistent, and careful consideration of any belief or supposed form of knowledge in the light of the grounds that support it and the further conclusions to which it tends” (Dewey, 1933: 118). In terms of student learning, reflection creates associations between what one does or did (actions) and what is being taught. Associations become stronger with familiarity; strong associations are necessary for humans to learn (Kotulak, 1996). Reflection can also occur spontaneously without overly taxing us. This type of reflection can be stimulated by non‐taxing, restorative experiences in natural settings (Kaplan and Kaplan, 1989). So, in terms of optimum conditions for learning, reflection is one component. If we tie reflection to experiences in nature, learning via reflection should come easier than, say, reflection on one’s commute to work Therefore, those of us in natural resource education foster learning of subject matter in a domain than is inherently fascinating and subject to the learning benefits of reflection. Boud, Keough and Walker (1985) condensed Dewey’s original formulation into threes aspects of reflection with more detail on the role of emotion: Returning to experience, attending to feelings, evaluating experience. This presentation demonstrates learning activities that exemplify these three aspects of reflection and discusses the strengths and weaknesses of learning by reflection. Eight years of student scores (n=150) on traditional exams and reflective essays aimed at assessing similar content are compared. The conclusion is that the benefits outweigh costs, with some caveats, a similar conclusion reached by Chirema (2007). Boud, D., Keough, R., & Walker, D. (eds.) (1985). Reflection: Turning experience into learning. London: Kogan Page. Boud, D., Cressey, P., & Docherty, P. (eds.) (2006). Productive reflection at work: learning for changing organizations. New York: Routledge. Chirema, K.D. (2007). The use of reflective journals in the promotion of reflection and learning in post‐registration nursing students. Nurse Education Today, 27, 192‐202. Dewey, J. (1933). How we think. New York: D.C. Heath. Jeffs, T. & Smith, M. K. (2005). Informal education. conversation, democracy and learning. Nottingham: Educational Heretics Press. Kaplan, R. & Kaplan, S. (1989). The experience of nature: a psychological perspective. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Kotulak, R. (1996). Inside the brain: revolutionary discoveries of how the mind works. Kansas City, MO: Andrews and McMeel.

http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/cuenr/Sessions/Understanding/3