Resources on reflective practice

Selected and produced by Marion Waite, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Oxford Brookes University


The objective of this  resource is to introduce the concept of reflective practice within teaching and learning in higher education. Getting to grips with reflective practice can be troublesome and it is hoped that this resource is a useful starting point. If you are new to the concept of critical reflection the resource also aims to stimulate your curiosity and offer some concrete examples of how teachers in higher education use critical reflection as part of their every day practice.

The influential work of Polyani (1958, 1967 cited in Bulman and Schutz, 2008) suggests that it is sometimes hard to put practical knowledge into words and advised the development of ways of helping practitioners to be able to develop effective critical skills in order to reflect upon their practice.

The use of reflective cycles such as Kolb (1984) and Gibbs et al (1988) are examples of these develepments, which you may already be familiar with.  An additional framework for reflection within educational practice comes from the four critical lenses as identified by Stephen Brookfiled (2005).

These lenses will be briefly described and then three short digital stories will be presented from both experienced and aspiring lecturers to exemplify three of these critical lenses. For the fourth critical lens you are encouraged to go on a voyage of discovery of your own by reviewing the additional learning objects and links, which support this resource.

Brookfield's lenses

Brookfield (2005) suggests two distinct purposes for reflection within teaching and learning. Firstly to reach a better understanding of how power underpins and distorts educational processes and secondly to question assumptions and practices that appear to make our lives look easier on the surface but in the long-term detract from our best interests.

This is based on the assumption that if teachers are more reflective then they are better placed to make reliable judgments about approaches to teaching practice, evaluation, curriculum planning and purposeful responses to learners’ issues.

“The critically reflective process happens when teachers discover and examine their assumptions by viewing their practice through four distinct, though interconnecting lenses’ (Brookfield, 2005 p xiii).

In order to provide you with some concrete examples of how these lenses could be used to examine assumptions, there are short digital stories included in the pages for the first three lenses.

For you to talk about reflective practice, and to share your own links and resources, there is also:

Last modified: Sunday, 13 May 2012, 08:02 AM