Promoting reflection and pushing reflective research requires more than encouragement. Donald Clark reports on several variables that impact on the lack of reflective behaviour. He further highlights four aspects that are central to critical reflection, namely:
- Analysis of assumptions—involves the challenging of way we see reality: our beliefs, values, cultural practices, and social structures impacting on practice
- Awareness of context—a realisation that our assumptions are socially and personally created in a specific historical and cultural context
- Imaginative speculation—allowing for alternative ways of thinking about phenomena in order to provide an opportunity to challenge our prevailing practices
- Reflective scepticism—the questioning (by means of the three aforesaid) of our universal truth claims or our unexamined patterns of interaction. It is the ability to temporarily suspend in order to establish the truth or viability.
Donald Clark endorses four types of diarising (writing):
- Descriptive writing, which is not reflective, but descriptive with the aim of providing a starting point for reflection—we should learn to frame and reframe.
- Descriptive reflection entails attempts to give reasons, based upon personal judgment, for occurrences/practices—we should systematically look back upon our actions some time after having taken the action.
- Dialogic reflection is a discourse with oneself and others involved, with the aim to explore possible reasons and work towards the solution of specific problems.
- Critical reflection is the ultimate aim and involves giving reasons for decisions or events, which takes into account the broader historical, social and/or political contexts—we should consciously account for the wider historic, cultural, and political values or beliefs in framing practical problem.
Clark, D. 2008. Critical reflection. Accessed electronically on 19 June 2010 from: http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/hrd/development/reflection.html