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Sentio's story : experience and reflection


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This is a set of slides to support Natasha Taylor's workshop activity at the Re-enchanting the Academy Conference on 26th September 2015. The focus is on how reflection can and should be used to support active and experiential learning.

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Sentio's story : experience and reflection

  1. 1. IMAGE:    Kevin  Dooley  ‘Puzzle:  The  daily  jigsaw  puzzle,  providing  casual   challenge  and  conversaAon’,  CC  BY  0.2.       Sen$o,  who  was  a  very  prac$cal  fairy  who  applied  herself  to  every  task,   brought  a  puzzle.  ‘Whosoever  puzzles  this  puzzle  will  grow  wiser  and   wiser  as  each  day  passes.  I  give  you  the  gi?  of  reflec$on’.       Imagine  a  world  where  our  students  are  the  best  possible  learners.   Imagine  they  immerse  themselves  in  the  lecture  experience,  taking  in  the   knowledge  presented  to  them  and  thinking  about  how  it  applies  to  the   wider  topic/subject.  Imagine  they  embrace  seminars  with  enthusiasm,   raising  ques>ons  and  exploring  answers.  Imagine  they  complete  their   assessments  ably  demonstra>ng  that  they  have  truly  acheived  a  cri>cal   understanding  of  the  topic.  Imagine  what  it  is  like  to  teach,  and  learn   alongside,  those  students.     1  
  2. 2. Our  star>ng  point  is  the  asser>on  that  students  can  learn  a  great  deal   from  DOING.    Gibbs,  in  a  recent  piece  for  SEDA,  argues  that  there  is  not   enough  learning  by  doing  in  the  Higher  Educa>on  System  hIp://>ons_181_31%20Much %20learning%20is%20acquired%20by%20doing,%20but%20seldon %20only%20be%20doing.pdf  .    So  what  is  so  special  about  it?     On  this  slide,  you  sill  see  Bloom’s  Taxonomy  (learning  pyramid)  ;  this  is   probably  familiar  to  most  people  but  it  is  an  essen>al  star>ng  point.   BLOOM  B  S  (ed.)  (1956)  Taxonomy  of  EducaAonal  ObjecAves,  the  classificaAon  of   educaAonal  goals  –  Handbook  I:  CogniAve  Domain  New  York:  McKay       Basically,  the  pyramid  sets  out  6  different  levels  of  learning  which  are   used  by  educators  for  the  development  of  learning  outcomes  and   curriculum  design.  The  idea  is  that  learners  begin  at  the  base  of  the   pyramid  and  move  upwards.  A  summary  of  the  different  stages  is   provided  below:     KNOWLEDGE:    The  first  stage  is  to  acquire  factual  knowledge  about  a     2  
  3. 3. The  problem  is  that  experience  along  is  rarely  sufficient  for  learning.  Many  of  us   include  ac>vi>es  in  our  teaching  which  require  students  to  do  something  beyond   simply  reading  and  listening.  But  how  many  of  us  as  sure  of  the  impact  it  has  had?   What  did  the  students  learn?  How  will  it  contribute  to  their  cri>cal  awareness?  How   will  they  relate  it  to  the  rest  of  their  studies?  Will  they  recall  it  as  a  learning   experience  in  job  interviews?  Will  they  even  remember  experiencing  it  when  they   walk  out  the  door?     Boud  et  al  (1985)  raise  some  essen>al  ques>ons  about  what  enables  learners  to  gain   maximum  benefit  from  the  situa>ons  they  find  themselves  in.  The  key  to  learning   from  experience,  they  suggest,  is  structured  reflec>on.     There  is  an  extensive  literature  on  models  of  reflec>on,  but  on  this  slide  you  can  see   a  very  simple  form  of  the  model.  Basically,  you  have  an  experience,  you  describe   what  happened,  you  ask  why/how  it  happened  that  way  and  then  propose  how  you   will  approach  it  differently  next  >me.         3  
  4. 4. Presented  in  a  slightly  more  complex  way,  here  is  Gibbs’  much   celebrated  Reflec>ve  Cycle  (Gibbs,  G.  (1988)  Learning  by  Doing:  a  guide  to   teaching  and  learning  methods  ).     So,  we  take  from  this  the  point  that  in  order  for  learners  to  turn  their  experiences   into  learning,  they  need  to  go  through  this  process.    The  reality  is,  a  lot  of  the  >me,   that  they  don’t.  So  the  ques>on  is,  how  can  we  help  them?     Talking  to  my  own  students,  it  became  clear  to  me  that  for  them  there  are  two   problems  or  obstacles:   1.       I  do  not  tell  students  to  do  this,  they  do  not  do  it  ins>nc>vely.  Therefore,  it   never  gets  done.   2.  If  students  do  start  the  process  (prompted  or  otherwise),  they  ogen  get  stuck  at   the  early  stages  of  the  process:  recording  what  happened  and  how  they  felt.   So,  I  have  looked  for  ways  of  ‘uns>cking’  them;  to  give  them  the  opportunity  and   encouragement  to  do  this  stage  of  reflec>on  in  class.    Today,  I  will  introduce  you  to   the  tool  of  ‘freewri>ng’.       4  
  5. 5. Image:  ‘Parkour  Founda>ons’  by  Thor,  CC  BY  2.0       Freewri>ng  is  a  technique  popular  amongst  writers  for  increasing   produc>vity,  confidence  and  crea>vity.  It  is  useful  for  tackling  writer’s   block.     In  the  simplest  terms,  you  set  a  >me  limit  and  then  just  write.  You  have   to  keep  your  hand  moving  or  your  fingers  typing  at  all  >mes;  you  must   keep  wri>ng  even  if  your  mind  wanders  or  goes  blank.  If  you  are  bored  or   distracted,  ask  yourself  what  is  bothering  you  and  write  about  that.  You   should  not  worry  about  spelling  or  grammar  and  you  should  not  pause  to   read  over  your  work  and  correct  mistakes.  You  have  to  carry  on  wri>ng,   no  maIer  how  much  you  think  it  might  be  nonsense.    When  the  >me  is   up,  read  through  what  you  have  wriIen  and  highlight  any  useful  sec>ons   that  you  want  to  come  back  to.     This  is  an  approach  which  can  be  used  in  a  number  of  different  ways  with   students.    You  could  use  it  at  the  start  of  the  class  to  get  students  to     5  
  6. 6. Image:  By  kind  permission  from  Sabine  LiIle.     ACTIVITY:    In  the  session  you  will  work  together  on  a  short  task.    You  will  then  be   given  instruc>ons  for  reflec>ng  on  that  task.   6  
  7. 7. IMAGE:  Kenneth  Rougeau  ‘Alice  through  the  looking  glass’  CC  BY  2.0       We  will  complete  the  session  with  a  period  of  meta-­‐reflec>on;  reflec>ng  on  the   process  of  reflec>on  as  experienced  today.   7