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Reflection and improving information literacy practice. Sen


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Presented at LILAC 2010

Published in: Education
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Reflection and improving information literacy practice. Sen

  1. 1. Reflection: improving information literacy practice. Learning from the past, developing for the future, becoming a reflective practitioner. BARBARA SEN WORKSHOP. LILAC 2010, LIMERICK. Images - Microsoft Copyright - Barbara Sen
  2. 2. The aim of this workshop • …is to explore the breadth and depth of reflective practice and its potential application in information literacy practice. • “…information literacy must always be qualified, contextualized, reflexive, and dynamic.” (Jacobs ,2008: 259). Copyright - Barbara Sen
  3. 3. In this workshop • We will explore key theories on reflection • Gain practical skills in reflective practice. – Through reflective writing and reflective discussion • Explore a range of applications for reflective practice in an IL context. • Participants will engage in individual and group reflection in order to improve their own reflective ability and explore potential applications of their reflection practices • Feedback and questions.Copyright - Barbara Sen
  4. 4. By the end of the session participants: • Should understand the importance of reflection. • Recognise the differences between descriptive writing and reflective writing. • Will be able to recognise when reflective writing might be useful in supporting IL practice. • Have gained experience of reflective writing. • Engaged in reflective discussion. Copyright - Barbara Sen
  5. 5. Reflection • “Reflection provides an active and structured way of thinking and of facilitating professional development.” » Schon (1983) • With this idea of reflection, reflection is not just an abstract concept; it is dynamic (“active”), and practical (“thinking and facilitating”), giving a framework (“structured way”) for professional change and deveopment. Copyright - Barbara Sen
  6. 6. Reflection • In some sectors in some countries reflection is mandatory – E.g. nursing – Education – Librarianship (for Chartership in the UK). • In many sectors reflection is regarded as a key competency. Copyright - Barbara Sen
  7. 7. Key papers in our field: • Grant.M.J (2007) The role of reflection in the library and information sector: a systematic review. HILJ, 24 (2) 155-166 – Grant comments on the classic work: Schon. D (1983) The Reflective Practitioner. New York. Basic books Schon: – “reflection in action” – “reflection on action” Copyright - Barbara Sen
  8. 8. Key papers in our field: • Sen, B. (2010) Reflective writing: A management skill. Library Management. (1/2) 79-93. – Key outcomes tested as a result of reflective writing- learning, self-development, critical review, own processes of mental functioning, decision making, emancipation and empowerment. Copyright - Barbara Sen
  9. 9. Key paper on IL and reflection? • Jacobs, H.L.M (2008) Perspectives on information literacy and reflective pedagogical praxis. The journal of academic librarianship. 34 (3) 256-262. – “It considers how academic librarians can work toward theorizing our profession in such a way that we may ask new questions of it and foster creative, reflective, and critical habits of mind regarding pedagogical praxis.” Copyright - Barbara Sen
  10. 10. Jacobs (2008) “The question of how to go about enacting this creative, reflective dialogue is undeniably pressing. In response to this piece, an anonymous reviewer asked a crucial question: “am I simply to include more problem based learning into my teaching of information literacy, or do I need to start from scratch and sit alongside the classes I work with, understanding how they think, and walking with them on their path to critical thinking and information literacy. God please give me the time for this.” The reviewer concludes, “However, this is perhaps the nature of the reflective activity the author is recommending.” Indeed, the answer the reviewer provides to his or her question is the answer I too would offer. The act of asking questions such as the ones quoted above is precisely the kind of reflective activity I am advocating. Pedagogical reflection does not mean we need to dismantle and rebuild our information literacy classes, programs, and initiatives from the ground up (though we may, after reflection, choose to do so). Instead pedagogical reflection means that that we ask questions like the ones quoted above of ourselves and our teaching and that we think critically and creatively about the small and large pedagogical choices we make.” Copyright - Barbara Sen
  11. 11. Reflection in a work based setting (Grant 2007): • “reflection in action” – During a training session, you become aware, and act upon, the need to rearrange the layout of the room so that all participants can watch a demonstration. – Reflecting whilst doing. • “reflection on action” – After a team meeting, you consider how you responded to a particular comment or criticism, how this made you feel, what you have learnt from the experience, and how you might respond on the future. – Reflecting back on an event. BOTH INVOLVE LEARNING
  12. 12. Reasons for reflection • Self appraisal • Personal development • Professional development • To recognise the need for learning • To improve learning or performance • To embed learning • Problem solving • Priority setting • Planning • Evaluation • To inform future practice • To manage change • To improve understanding • Stress management All of these can have applications in an IL context.
  13. 13. Reflection • Is often a solitary process e.g. in your role as an information literacy trainer • BUT • It doesn’t have to be. • You can have group/team reflections – e.g. the group of people you are training, the team within your library working on information literacy Copyright - Barbara Sen
  14. 14. Opportunities for group/team reflection in the workplace • The mentor relationship. • The line manager relationship. • Staff appraisals. • Team meetings. • Quality circles. • Project evaluations. • Library blogs and wikis. • Communications e.g. emails, reports. Copyright - Barbara Sen
  15. 15. Reflective thinking is good • But it helps to write things down – It helps consolidate your thoughts. • Use the first person – “I”. – e.g. “It was during the training session that I first noticed that there was something wrong. Afterward I considered the reactions of the participants and reviewed the feedback forms…”.Copyright - Barbara Sen
  16. 16. Copyright - Barbara Sen Exercise – reflective writing • Working on your own and working quickly • Using the template, in Box 1, write about a recent experience at work (preferably with IL) from which you feel you have learnt something, maybe the need for you to change your behaviour or develop your skills in some way. (5 mins) • Be prepared to share what you write with others (you may wish to avoid any names or personal comments). Write neatly.
  17. 17. Back to Jacobs (2008) “reflection means that that we ask questions “ Copyright - Barbara Sen
  18. 18. Reflection • Basic questions: • What happened? • How did you (and others involved) feel? • What can you learn from it? • What changes need to made? • How can you make those changes • How can you develop? Copyright - Barbara Sen
  19. 19. Exercise - reflecting • Now reflect on the experience you have written about. Consider the questions below. Write your answers in Box 2 (5 mins). Write neatly as you will share this with others. – What happened? – How did you feel? – How did it affect others, how did they feel? – What did you learn from the experience? – Have you developed as a result of this experience? – What improvements or changes can be made? – How will achieve them? – How will you/the situation develop as a result? – What impact might changes have? Copyright - Barbara Sen
  20. 20. Reflection • Reflection can occur spontaneously “light bulb moment”. • A more structured approach involving written reflection requires practise. Copyright - Barbara Sen
  21. 21. Two forms of reflection identified by Grant (2007) • Non-analytical reflection (description) – “..largely descriptive in content without any critical reasoning or considerations of the implications of events or experiences.” • Analytical reflection – “..attempt to understand the relationship between past experience and future practice…revisiting experience or situations, questioning motivations, attempting to pinpoint the reason why they experience a situation in a particular way, and contemplating how this might impact on future practice.” For deeper learning you need to to reflect analytically on action/practice. Copyright - Barbara Sen
  22. 22. Four levels of reflection: Moon, J. (2008) 1. Descriptive writing – Descriptive and contains little reflection. May tell a story but generally from one point of view. 2. Descriptive writing with some reflection – A descriptive account that signals points for reflection while not actually showing much reflection. What little reflection there is lacks depth. 3. Reflective writing (1) – Description, but it is focused, with particular aspects accentuated for reflective comment. Shows some analysis, some self- questioning. 4. Reflective writing (2) – Clear evidence of standing back from the event. Shows deep reflection. Self-questioning, and the views and motives of others are also taken into account. Observation that learning has been gained.Fuller explanations can be found in Moon’s paper. Copyright - Barbara Sen
  23. 23. Exercise • In pairs: • Look at one individual’s writing, considering Jenny Moon’s four levels of reflection, which one of the descriptions most describes the reflective writing? Copyright - Barbara Sen
  24. 24. Writing reflections • It should be structured – An introductory section • Set the scene, give factual information about what happened. Who, what, when, how. Give evidence if you can. – Body of the writing • How is the event/evidence meaningful? Analyse the event/evidence. Consider the reasons, motives, and interpretation of the event or experience. How does it contribute to your understanding? If possible and relevant consider the experience from different perspectives. – Concluding section • State how the experience has impacted on you. How will it make you better in what you do? Have you changed your behaviour as a result of the experience? How will you take what you have learned from this experience and apply it to your own professional experience? Be specific. Copyright - Barbara Sen
  25. 25. Writing analytical reflections • Reaction. (Feeling). As you re-examine the event/evidence, how do you feel about it now? Give at least one example that illustrates your response. • Relevance. (Thinking). How is the evidence relevant and meaningful? How does it contribute to your understanding? Are there alternative viewpoints or perspectives to that you now have. What are some changes/improvements you might make based on the experiences you have had? Cite examples to support your ideas. • Responsibility. (Doing). How will the knowledge gained from the event or experience be used in your profession? Give examples of possible applications in your professional life, as well as an analysis of possible alternatives, other perspectives, or other meanings that might be related to the evidence. Do you still have questions regarding the issue? Copyright - Barbara Sen
  26. 26. Common errors in reflective writing • Fail to set the scene – lack of context. • Too descriptive (non-analytical)– lacking in analysis e.g. I did this, they did that, it was helpful. • Lack of self-questioning. • Failing to consider the perspectives of others involved in the incident (if applicable). • Failing to conclude about what could be learnt from the incident. • Failure to consider what action is needed for the future. Copyright - Barbara Sen
  27. 27. Example of (analytical) reflective writing • DESCRIPTIVE: I had a project meeting today regarding the implementation of the new information literacy training programme and found it very useful. We may make some changes to the programme. • ANALYTICAL/REFLECTIVE: As a result of attending the project meeting today regarding the new information literacy training programme I increased my understanding of the information needs of the nurses within the hospital. In particular I learned more about the way the nurses currently search for information and their levels of information literacy. The input and discussion from both the nurse representative and the Librarian who delivers the training made me realise that changes would be needed to the information literacy programme. The timing of our sessions is wrong, listening to the nurses, they need more training in both basic and advanced search skills, and support in evaluating resources. I should have called this meeting earlier and listened to those involved. It would have meant that the sessions that have been carried out over the past few months could have been more useful to the nurse participants. We have probably wasted time for both the nurses and the trainer and library resources. I have learnt that consultation and evaluation are important at all stages of a project in order to ensure efficiency and effectiveness. Copyright - Barbara Sen
  28. 28. Becoming deeply reflective • Descriptive writing often considers what happened from one point of view. • Being more deeply reflective you start to consider other people’s perspectives; become more aware. • What can be learned from the event? • What is needed to develop, change or move on • Its dynamic, drawing on the past, considering the present situation, looking to the future. • How can any changes be achieved? What impact might those changes have? • What have you/will you put in place to make the changes? Copyright - Barbara Sen
  29. 29. SEA-change model of reflection. (Sen and Ford (2010) in press SEA-change model of reflection Deep reflection process Low level reflection some elements of the process will be missing Tutor or mentor role S-SITUATION Catalyst Catalyst Can provide the catalyst through curriculum or training content Context - Contextual consideration Context – not always fully considered Support critical reflection Critical reflection of multiple perspectives Often focus only on self – not multiple perspectives Point this out to the student or participant. Support critical reflection E-EVIDENCE Assimilation of the evidence Not fully assimilated Support if needed through teaching, discussion, group work etc Learning process based on evidence, new knowledge acquired Learning at a basic level Reflective process often stops here Support if needed through teaching, discussion, group work etc A-ACTION Need for action identified based on above Often overlooked OR Reflective process stops here Support if needed through teaching, discussion, group work etc What action or change is needed? Often overlooked OR Reflective process stops here Support if needed through mentorship. Action or Behaviour change Often overlooked OR reflective process stops here Support if needed through mentorship
  30. 30. Exercise: In your pairs. Reflective discussion • Help each other consider how you might improve your reflective writing and gain more from it. • How can you demonstrate evidence of standing back from the event? • How can you show deep reflection? • Is there evidence of self-questioning? • Have you considered the views and motives of others ? • Is there any evidence of learning? • How will that learning lead to change? MAKE NOTES FROM YOUR DISCUSSION Copyright - Barbara Sen
  31. 31. Reflection: the benefits • A process through which learning can be achieved, it is transformational, helps achieve change • Reflective writing is a skill that can be developed, for individual contemplation using for example diaries, journals, or portfolios (and in Web 2.0 blogs). • Reflection can also be used in a team or group settings, using discussion, blogs, wikis or file shares can be helpful. • Reflection can lead to positive changes in attitude, behaviour and/or work and IL processes. Copyright - Barbara Sen
  32. 32. Reflection: the drawbacks • For some, reflection is an abstract concept which has no clear or apparent value. • Non-analytical reflection tends to be superficial (not as in depth as analytical reflection). • Reflective writing is a skill that can take time and effort to develop. • Being made or encouraged to reflect can detract from the spontaneity of a reflective event. Copyright - Barbara Sen
  33. 33. Group exercise • What opportunities are their to engage in reflective practice in our information literacy work? Copyright - Barbara Sen
  34. 34. Opportunities for reflection - • Individual and group reflection. • Reflective writing including logs and journals. • Reflective evaluations. • Peer reflection to improve practice. • Reflective dialogue and engagement with stakeholders. • Reflection and IL research (analysis of reflective written output) Copyright - Barbara Sen
  35. 35. Exercise: Group reflection • Going back to our list of ways we can engage with reflection in IL activities • Are there ways in which you can/will use reflection in your IL work? • How might it help you achieve your IL goals? Copyright - Barbara Sen
  36. 36. What participants have said. • “The process of reflection has heightened my awareness.” • “I enjoyed the idea of using web 2.0 techniques, which would create a more dynamic and participative form of reflection.” • “I learnt that as a library manager it is clearly important to allow time for and encourage others to reflect.” • “In my future employment I believe it will be vital to maintain records of my achievements …this process will allow me to reflect on my achievements and also identify areas for training or improvement.” • “Reflecting on my previous experiences has therefore enabled me to take my first step towards being an effective manager.”Copyright - Barbara Sen
  37. 37. Incorporating more reflection in your IL activities • Consider the past • Be aware of current influences and constraints • Think what you need to do for the future • Extend your thinking and IL processes through reflection • Reflect on your own IL activities • Engage those you train in reflective practice • Reflect with other IL team members • Feel empowered and empower others! Use reflection as the foundation for personal and professional development. Copyright - Barbara Sen
  38. 38. Further reading • Chapman, M. (2008) Reflective writing. In. (Watson, M.) Building your portfolio: The CILIP guide. London: Facet. • Grant.M.J (2007) The role of reflection in the library and information sector: a systematic review. HILJ, 24 (3) 155-166 • Jacobs, H.L.M (2008) Perspectives on information literacy and reflective pedagogical praxis. The journal of academic librarianship. 34 (3) 256-262 • Moon, J. (2007) “Getting the measure of reflection”. Journal of Radiotherapy. 6, 191-200. • Sen, B. (2010) Reflective writing: A management skill. Library Management. (1/2) 79-93. Copyright - Barbara Sen
  39. 39. Reflection: improving information literacy practice. Learning from the past, developing for the future, becoming a reflective practitioner. BARBARA SEN WORKSHOP. LILAC 2010, LIMERICK. Images - Microsoft Copyright - Barbara Sen