Reflective Practice


Too often in schools we have very little time to reflect on what we have just done. Whether it’s as a student learning, as a teacher teaching, or as the principal managing the school, we rarely take the time to look at what we have just done and take the time to do some self-analysis.

Whenever we attempt something at school, we always have plenty of people trying to give us their feedback on the attempt. We get our work marked and graded, someone observes our teaching and gives feedback, and so on. School is constantly filled with people being judged by others, graded and moved on to the next level.

When we do have some time for self-reflection, it is rarely the deeper, critical reflection of self-analysis. The problem is that “We have little time to reflect – when we do it’s often just a concrete narration of what happened…” (Pappas, 2014)

Pappas follows a version of Bloom’s taxonomy that he has adapted to show the progress of reflective thinking in individuals.
This is a little different from other reflective thinking practitioners, such as Schon. in his 1983 paper, he suggests that there are only two types of reflection – reflection-in-action and reflection-on-action. He describes the former as being more of a subconscious reflection and adaptation of previously learnt skills whilst the latter is similar to final papers on design, where complex skills and results analysis is the focus.

How do we apply this to our learning spaces? By encouraging our children, our students, to attempt new things and to make mistakes. The courses I am studying this semester are doing just that for me. But where do I fit? Do I follow Pappas’ version of Bloom’s taxonomy, moving from step to step? Or do I fit within the framework suggested by Schon?

Personally, I feel that I work through the reflection-in-action model. I constantly change and modify things as I go along. Just look at any one of my assignments I have done for my university courses. The final copy handed in bears little resemblance to anything that was there at the beginning. As I work I see pathways opening up ahead of me, some with potential, some with dead-ends. As I progress, I make choices. I modify. I adapt my previous learning to what I need to accomplish now. I work out ways to do what needs to be done. By experimentation. Not trial and error, that’s too simple. I predict outcomes before they occur by applying prior knowledge.

Where do our students fit in this? We must provide greater space for reflection and analysis of tasks after completion to enable our students to become better learners.

It seems as though this is quite a life lesson as well.


Pappas, P. (2010) A Taxonomy of Reflection: Critical Thinking For Students, Teachers, and Principals., Source:

Schön, D. A. (1987). Teaching artistry through reflection-in-action. In Educating the reflective practitioner (pp. 22-40). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers.



Filed under Course Work, EDFD459

2 responses to “Reflective Practice

  1. Hi Steve, I agree that it is difficult to find the time to effectively reflect. but when we do, is there a need to pick one style of reflection? I find that I can use all the models depending on the activity and the reason for the reflection.
    Cheers Terina


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