Reflective writing is a fundamental part of my professional practice. Both as a Lecturer and as a HR Professional I am required to reflect on my practice. Taking that reflection a step further, I intend to use my blog to encourage that reflection in others, hopefully including my students in their learning.
So how am I going to make this happen?
As they are learning, I need to lead by example. It’s fine saying to a class that they must be reflective, express their own opinions and think about their learning. I believe it will be more effective to lead by example and share my reflections with them through my blog.
When I started this blog back in the summer I thought it would primarily be a way of me sharing my thoughts etc. I hadn’t really considered how it could be more interactive – a two-way conversation between my reader and myself. I want to develop this aspect and encourage engagement; inviting commentary. If my students are really going to maximise their learning, I want them to engage with me … but also with each other and the wider blogging community.
Why reflection is important for students
Reflection is important as it encourages the students to think about what they’re learning, rather than simply accepting everything at face value. I want them to question everything and form their own opinions and ideas. I encourage them to challenge what is said in the classroom, so this blog should be no different.
The act of reflection should also assist them in develop critical thinking skills which will help them both academically, and long term, professionally.
Many professional bodies require their members to engage in reflective practice and complete CPD logs annually; this tied together with employers’ continued use of some form of professional/personal development planning and recording as part of performance management systems means that the students are developing skills and habits that will be beneficial to them after completion of their studies.
The Dilemma inherent in using my blog as a teaching aid
Despite my belief that using the blog will benefit my students and hopefully a wider audience, I am concerned about a dilemma I see. In my teaching I have always tried to be impartial, to present both sides of an argument without taking sides or expressing my own opinion whereas a blog contains my reflections and is the expression of my own ideas. If I want to encourage reflection and the development of critical thinking skills, then I hope to use my blog to encourage reflection and the development of critical thinking skills, then I hope to use my blog to encourage discussion and the expression of alternative opinions.
On reflection, I can still put across the various viewpoints, but then provide my arguments to support my own opinions, modelling the critical thinking skills I’m hopefully encouraging my students to develop.