1.2 Reflective Practice

Photo of the perspective in a car's rearview mirror.
Photo by Michael Skok, Unsplash License.

Reflective practice is “a dialogue of thinking and doing through which I become more skillful” – Donald Schön (1983)

How often do you find yourself replaying the events of the day? Whether it is going through a conversation that happened with a colleague or thinking about how certain events led you to make a decision (Third, 2015). How are you feeling about your decisions? Often this process of reflection happens without us even knowing.

Reflection can be described as a learning tool, something that is going to help you to synthesize, explain, and make sense of something, while developing meaning from your experiences. It can be considered to be a professional competence, a skill but more likely a disposition. It is through examining our heart, our values and our thinking we can examine and rethink our pedagogical practice.

Reflective practice is not something that comes to us as a natural skill, and is not inherently comfortable for most of us. This resource is meant for the reader to uncover their own perspective on reflective practice to determine their own level of skill or disposition and to try out activities that will support an intentional way of being. The reader will be encouraged to question, to act on one’s curiosity, to be a researcher and to ask the questions like, “why am I doing what I am doing?”

Reflective practice focuses on one’s thoughts about their experiences, why things happened the way they did and how we can improve on these experiences. This resource will guide you through the basics of what reflective practice is, its benefits, how to integrate it into your everyday life and explore reflective tools such as writing, blogging, and creating a circle of professional support.

As the profession of early years education itself is experiencing transformation, educators too are looking to redefine and transform their practice. This resource will examine reflective practice through the lens of educators while investigating the theory of reflection and how reflective tools can support a practice from a psychological, social, spiritual and educational context.

Finally, the research suggests there is evidence that writing can influence the ability of educators to elevate their reflective practice skills in their daily work with children, families and colleagues. Reflective writing prompts throughout this resource will allow the reader to examine and hold their thinking in place in order to have dialogue and reflect on their practice. As educators begin their journey through the reflective process, writing can act as a catalyst to embrace new skills and pedagogical practices (Third, 2015).

Learning to teach: becoming a reflective practitioner by The Open University is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence.

Reflective Practice Toolkit by Cambridge University Libraries is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence.


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

Reflective Practice in Early Years Education Copyright © 2022 by Sheryl Third, RECE; ECE.C, B.A., M.A is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book