Reflecting on Reflection

You only have to mention the word reflection and audible groans can be heard from the majority of my peers. The negative stigma surrounding this process is a mysterious wonder. I’m forever questioning what is it about reflection that myself and many others dislike?

Now that this 4 week ‘Dr as a Digital Teacher’ block has come to an end its time for me to reflect on this project and discuss some key learning points. It’s been an interesting month with some very thought stimulating topics forming the basis for most of my blog posts. I’ve looked at the role of the internet in modern learning and been introduced to a vast array of tech resources. I’ve talked about my attitude towards studying and discussed some of my views on the current education system we have in place. I’ve also had the opportunity to design and produce a short video learning resource about ‘The Mind Palace Technique’. Throughout the whole process I’ve blogged my thought processes and progress. This is a form of reflection I had not yet used and I’ve enjoyed using this new medium to express my thoughts and feelings.

On several occasions throughout my 3 years at Dundee we have had to submit reflective pieces for marking. We have had the opportunity to write poems, essays, music or even use art as a form of self expression. I appreciate the university’s efforts to explore and move away from the traditional reflective methods of the past however, for each project I have finished feeling somewhat dissatisfied. Being told to reflect on a particular topic and knowing that you must fulfill a certain marking criteria is restrictive task and limits the freedom of your thoughts. It has surprised me therefore, that reflecting throughout this SSC has been an effortless and enjoyable task. I believe this has essentially come down to the freedom that I’ve been given. Although we were directed towards discussion areas I’ve been able to write about and expand on the matters that interest me. This has me concluding that reflection should be a natural process. The motivation should be a personal drive for self improvement and expression of views. With graded work I believe this motive can become compromised. I wonder if students including myself are really opening up about how they think and feel or does the possibility of an ‘A’ encourage them to write what they think tutors want to hear. This has me thinking about the best ways to reflect. Instead of a structured and specified topic we should have the freedom to reflect on what we want from the year. It should be a personal and ongoing process that students value instead of detest. Changing this mindset will be a challenge but I believe can be done if students begin to see the importance of reflection. This isn’t a perception that can be forced upon us but is an attitude we need to discover ourselves. The current reflective pathway in place discourages the true meaning of reflection and has a negative cloud hanging over head. Even after this short block I’ve begun to see reflection in a positive light because I’ve been able to approach it in my own way.

Now to think briefly about my key learning points throughout the block. I’ve definitely been stunned by the hidden world of resources available to us. The web is a source for knowledge and learning and we shouldn’t shy away from the possibilities it brings. There are numerous programs and software’s that I’ve been introduced to and can now use to help with organisation, studying and learning. I particularly enjoyed reading more about different learning techniques and how people learn. I think it’s fair to say that many of us get stuck using a particular learning style when actually there are so many more efficient and effective alternatives. Reviewing how you learn and being open minded about new strategies is definitely key.

It was also interesting to learn about Creative Commons. The internet is great for the sharing of media, work and resources but until now I’d never considered that these may not be free to reuse wherever I please. This kind of knowledge is invaluable for my future! I’m also very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to make a video learning resource. Being introduced to the relevant software’s was a huge step in my learning and definitely highlighted how little I knew before. Although, the process seemed long and the video has only just come together it’s been entirely worth it. I can only hope that my audience can take inspiration from my video as well as some of the discussion points touched upon throughout this blog.

 

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One thought on “Reflecting on Reflection

  1. Lots of food for thought here on reflection. There’s a sense in which the way medical schools approach reflection is quite prescriptive and almost restrictive and as a consequence perhaps potentially stifles students’ curiosity. Over the past few years that we’ve been running this SSC one of the things I’ve enjoyed most is reading student’s blogs. They’re all quite different, they reflect each student’s personality but they also highlight what the students are learning, what they’re interested in and I think the key to this is the point you’ve highlighted, i.e. you’ve been able to approach reflection in your own way and in your own space. The other bonus for me in encouraging you all to blog over the four weeks is that I also learn from you and you get me to think about things in different ways.

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