Hi everyone, I am currently undergoing my Level 3 Early Years Educator qualification. One of my questions require me to consider theories and join an online forum to discuss the importance of reflection in relation to professional development. I was hoping someone might want to share some of their knowledge and experience with me on this matter. How often do you look at your own professional development? How important is it to you? Do you reflect often or only when required? What advice can you give to me on your own experience of this? Thanks in advance. Here is what I have researched into this subject. Theoretical perspectives on reflection in relation to professional development Reflective practice – This is the term used to describe the ability to reflect on one’s own actions and engage in continuous self-development. It is beneficial for increasing self-awareness and a better understanding of others. It can also develop emotional intelligence and creative thinking. It is used as a tool to develop our best practice by identifying our strengths and weaknesses and addressing them or using them to the settings advantage by improving quality and professional behaviour. It involves observing, questioning, evaluating and making improvements to our own practices and that of our colleagues. Reflective practice can be achieved through appraisals/supervisions, self-appraisals which will help us to improve our practice. This can be used to highlight areas, maybe to train in areas of personal interest, to develop your career, patch gaps in your knowledge. Most theoretical perspectives linked to CPD (continued professional development) involve cycles. A circuit of continued ongoing reflection and development. Kolb’s Experimental Learning Cycle – David Kolb is an American educational theorist whose research can be applied in a range of situations. His concept involves a four-stage learning cycle, when a learner progresses through all stages, it results in new experiences to learn from. · Concrete Experience – Engage in experience and notice what happens. · Reflective Observation – What did the experience tell you? Review of experience. · Abstract Conceptualisation – How can you change things? What did you learn? · Active Experimentation – Plan and try out new ideas you have learnt. Gibb’s cycle of Reflection - Gibbs used Kolb’s method to form his six-step cycle whose aim was to challenge our own assumptions, exploring new ideas and different ways of thinking, promote self- improvement and combining doing with thinking. Unlike Kolb’s learning through experience model, Gibb’s method refers to learning through repetition. · Description – what happened? · Feelings – what were you feeling and thinking? · Evaluation – good and bad points of experience · Analysis – what sense can you make of situation? · Conclusion – what else could have been done? · Action Plan – what could you do if the situation arose again? Schon’s process of continuous learning – Donald Schon believed that incorporating life experiences into the process of continuous learning is a defining characteristic of professional practice and by using this we can continually improve and become true reflective practitioners. · Reflecting-in-action – improvisation and thinking as you go, how are you performing and how successfully? · Reflecting-on-action – when you have completed a task you can think about what worked well, what could you have changed or managed differently? John’s five stage model – Christopher John’s model is based on five stages which you can use to break down your experiences and reflect on them. This method encourages the practitioner to explore how their experiences have improved or changed their practice. · Description of experience, what happened and significant factors? · Reflection/review – What went well/not so well, what was trying to be achieved and what were the consequences? · Influencing factors that could have affected your decision making? · Analysis of what could be improved or changed, could it have been dealt with better? What other choices were there? What was learnt? · Implementation of new plans to try out different strategies or approaches. What will change? How has it changed your knowledge and personal awareness?