A. Study the article “Promoting Reflection in Professional Courses: The challenges of context” in the link provided below and discuss the following: (150w)
- What is Boud’s and Walker’s theoretical stand on reflective practice?
- What are the “misconceptions” mentioned in the article?
- What is the basic argument made? Discuss.
B. Select one of the theorists discussed in the material for this week and provide your opinion and ideas behind their arguments and approaches. For example, why did you choose the specific one? Why does he inspire you? See attached on application (150 w)
C. Discuss the importance of having personal and cultural values and answer the questions(See Personal and cultural values attached): (100 w)
- What is the best way for me as an educator to transfer the school’s values to my students?
- How can I make my students understand the importance of having personal and cultural values?
D. Answer the question do one’s values reflect one’s culture’s values by discussing your own experience. Use the two links provided below. (100w)
Week 2 – Application and critique of theories
and models in educational contexts
· Understand the different reflective theories and models in
· Distinguish the arguments and critique of these theories
“Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to
(Albert Einstein, 1947)
2. Reflective Theories in Education
There are 4 major theories in education in relation to reflection and
reflexivity developed by John Dewey (1859-1952) who was an American
philosopher, Donald Schon (1930-1997) again a philosopher, David A. Kolb
(1939-present) who is an American educational theorist, David Boud a professor
in Education and Paulo Freire (1921 – 1997) an educator and philosopher.
Dewey is considered to be the founder of reflection in learning and Schon
developed the concept of reflective practice and contributed to the theory of
organizational learning and professional development. Kolb on the other hand
created the experiential learning cycle and Boud combined the theory of
reflection with experience and learning.
John Dewey (1859-1952)
According to Seifert and Sutton (2009) ‘He argued, for example, that if
students indeed learn primarily by building their own knowledge, then teachers
should adjust the curriculum to fit students’ prior knowledge and interests as fully
as possible. He also argued that a curriculum could only be justified if it related
as fully as possible to the activities and responsibilities that students will probably
have later, after leaving school.’ Dewey mostly believed that students learn
through a hands-on approach. He supported the need to learn by doing. This was
also his belief about teachers as well as he supported that students and teachers
must learn together.
Dewey retired in 1930 but was immediately appointed professor emeritus
of philosophy in residence at Columbia and held that post until his
eightieth birthday in 1939. The previous year he had published his last
major educational work, Experience and Education (1938). In this series
of lectures, he clearly restated his basic philosophy of education and
recognized and rebuked the many excesses he thought the Progressive
education movement had committed. He chastised the Progressives for
casting out traditional educational practices and content without offering
something positive and worthwhile to take their place. He offered a
reformulation of his views on the intimate connection between learning
and experience and challenged those who would call themselves
Progressives to work toward the realization of the educational program
he had carefully outlined a generation before. (Soltis, 2020)
Dewey ‘defined the educational process as a “continual reorganization,
reconstruction and transformation of experience” (1916, p. 50), for he believed that
it is only through experience that man learns about the world and only by the use
of his experience that man can maintain and better himself in the world’ (Soltis,
According to Soltis (2020) some of Dewey’s arguments are ‘Thus, Dewey
argued, the schools did not provide genuine learning experiences but only an
endless amassing of facts, which were fed to the students, who gave them back
and soon forgot them.’
Donald Schon (1930-1997)
Donald Schon mostly believed in three basic elements: Learning systems
and learning societies and institutions, double-loop (explained below) and
organizational learning and the relationship of reflection-in-action to
In his book Beyond the Stable State, (1973, 28-9) Donald Schon raises 4 very
What is the nature of the process by which organizations, institutions and
societies transform themselves?
What are the characteristics of effective learning systems?
What are the forms and limits of knowledge that can operate within
processes of social learning?
What demands are made on a person who engages in this kind of learning?
‘Donald Schon argues that social systems must learn to become capable of
transforming themselves without intolerable disruption. In this ‘dynamic
conservatism’ has an important place […] Two key themes arise out of Donald
Schon’s discussion of learning systems: the emergence of functional systems as
the units around which institutions define themselves; and the decline of centre-
periphery models of institutional activity (ibid.: 168). He contrasts classical
models of diffusing innovation with a learning system model’ (Smith, 2001).
‘When the error detected and corrected permits the organization to carry
on its present policies or achieve its presents objectives, then that error-and-
correction process is single-loop learning. Single-loop learning is like a
thermostat that learns when it is too hot of too cold and turns the heat on or off.
Classical models for the diffusion
Learning systems’ models around the
diffusion of innovation
The unit of innovation is a product or
The unit of innovation is a functional system.
The pattern of diffusion is centre-
The pattern of diffusion is systems transformation.
Relatively fixed centre and leadership. Shifting centre, ad hoc leadership.
Relatively stable message; pattern of
replication of a central message.
Evolving message; family resemblance of
Scope limited by resource and energy at
the centre and by capacity of ‘spokes’.
Scope limited by infrastructure technology.
‘Feedback’ loop moves from secondary
to primary centre and back to all
‘Feedback’ loops operate local and universally
throughout the systems network.
The thermostat can perform this task because it can receive information
(the temperature of the room) and take corrective action. Double-loop learning
occurs when error is detected and corrected in ways that involve the modification
of an organization’s underlying norms, policies and objectives’ (Argyris and
‘The notions of reflection-in-action, and reflection-on-action were
central to Donald Schon’s efforts in this area. The former is sometimes described
as ‘thinking on our feet’. It involves looking to our experiences, connecting with
our feelings, and attending to our theories in use. It entails building new
understandings to inform our actions in the situation that is unfolding’ (Smith,
David A. Kolb (1939-present)
Kolb’s theory is mostly related to a specific learning style which
contributed to creating the experiential learning cycle. It mostly involves the
learner’s internal cognitive processes and how they function.
Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle, 1984
(Association for Experiential Education, 2019)
Kolb argues that these 4 different learning styles involve the attainment of
abstract concepts that can be adapted in a number of situations. ‘Learning is the
process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience’
1. Concrete Experience – a new experience or situation is encountered, or a reinterpretation
of existing experience.
2. Reflective Observation of the New Experience – of particular importance are any
inconsistencies between experience and understanding.
3. Abstract Conceptualization reflection gives rise to a new idea, or a modification of an
existing abstract concept (the person has learned from their experience).
4. Active Experimentation – the learner applies their idea(s) to the world around them to see
‘Effective learning is seen when a person progresses through a cycle of
four stages: of (1) having a concrete experience followed by (2) observation of
and reflection on that experience which leads to (3) the formation of abstract
concepts (analysis) and generalizations (conclusions) which are then (4) used to
test a hypothesis in future situations, resulting in new experiences’ (Mcleod,
(University of Leicester, 2019)
David Boud’s model of reflection deals with Experience-Based Learning,
depicting that the foundation for learning is through the learner’s experience. He
supports that the major stimulus for learning is experience and his ideas are based
on Dewey’s, Schon’s and Kolb’s theories. His major belief is that learning cannot
occur if the learner does not reflect on the experience and supports that reflection
is often overlooked in the learning process.
There are three phases to Boud’s theory related to learning through
reflection and these are:
Phase 1: Before Learning Experience
Phase 2: During Learning Experience and,
Phase 3: After Learning Experience
Phase 1: Before Students reflect as a way to explore and prepare
for what is coming
Phase 2: During Reflecting and collecting events in the midst of
experience helps students to connect theory to practice
Phase 3: After Post-experience reports performed, both formally
and informally, assist students in improved learning
(Boud, Keogh and Walker, 1985)
Paulo Freire (1921 – 1997)
· Born September 19, 1921 to a middle-class family in Brazil
· Poverty and hunger during the Great Depression of the 1930s
· Father died when he was 13 years old / struggled in school / social life
playing football with other poor children
· Poverty and hunger severely affected his ability to learn and influenced his
decision to dedicate his life to improving the lives of the poor:
“I didn’t understand anything because of my hunger. I wasn’t dumb. It wasn’t lack
of interest. My social condition didn’t allow me to have an education. Experience
showed me once again the relationship between social class and knowledge”.
§ Studied Law and Philosophy (phenomenology, and the psychology of
§ Worked as a teacher in secondary schools teaching Portuguese.
§ 1944, married Elza Maia Costa de Oliveira
§ 1967, Education as the Practice of Freedom / then Pedagogy of the
§ 1969, visiting professorship -Harvard University
Political feuds between Freire (Christian socialist) and authoritarian military
dictatorships, book not published in Brazil until 1974
§ Pedagogy of the Oppressed
§ Pedagogy of Hope
Freire worked to help the silent (illiterate) peoples of urban and rural Brazil find
a voice and out of his Pedagogy of the Oppressed came the principles for his
Pedagogy of Hope.
§ ‘Developing consciousness…is understood as having the power to
transform reality’ (Taylor, 1993:52).
§ Action for social justice and fairness.
§ In order to think for ourselves, Mac Naughton (2005) notes ‘we have to
make explicit our implicit views about how society works and then
engage in an ‘ideology critique’ that will bring us freedom (p8). In this
way, critical pedagogy can create emancipation so that there is a shift
from changing individual educator’s practice to challenging
oppressive and unequal power relationships in the classroom.
§ Freire advocated a dialogical approach that involves students’ active
engagement with each other and the world (Jacobs and Murray, 2010).
§ Learning is then a collaborative, problem-posing process of enquiry which
starts from the experience and knowledge already evident within learners.
It questions assumptions that have been taken for granted and raises
awareness of new perspectives and personal actions that can lead to the
transformation of oppressing professional or political customs (Jacobs
and Murray, 2010).
§ Education should allow the oppressed to regain their
sense of humanity.
§ ….But they must play a role in their liberation
§ Be willing to rethink their way of life and to examine their own role in the
§ ” Those who authentically commit themselves to the people must re-
examine themselves constantly”.
Paulo Freire’s last public interview, given to Literacy organisation in 1996.
§ A Conversation with Paulo Freire
§ Seeing Through Paulo Freire’s glasses
Stop and critically reflect…
§ On the relevance of Freire in relation to your experience of life / teaching
3. Critique of the Reflective Theories
‘Boud and Walker’s theorization on reflection partially addresses the
concern regarding the separation of ‘experience’ and ‘reflection’ in Kolb’s model
as two mutually independent processes. Donald Schon’s (1983; 1987) work
helped to integrate experience and reflection one step further with the concepts
of reflection-in-action, reflection-on-action and critical reflection. In both
concept and practice, Schon’s idea of critical reflection can help to ameliorate the
stop-motion nature of Kolb’s cycle’ (Academic Success, 2010).
As Dewey argued learning based on reflection can only happen when the learner
actively reflects on the experience otherwise not all experiences are equally
‘Ethical concerns are exacerbated in situations where participation is, in
effect, mandatory. In some situations, employers’ or teachers’ strong expectations
of participation by individuals in training events or formally assessed courses can
lead to outcomes counter to what are desired and antagonise those who
participate’ (Andresen, Boud and Cohen, 1995).
Further reading from the Weekly EBooks:
Book: Dewey, Russell, Whitehead, (1986) Philosophers As Educators,
Chapter: Two / John Dewey and the Laboratory School, pages 14 – 42
Boud, D. and Walker, D. (1998). Promoting Reflection in Professional Courses:
The Challenge of Context. [online] ResearchGate. Available at:
_Professional_Courses_The_Challenge_of_Context [Accessed 6 Oct. 2020].
Academic Success (2010). Reflective Observation | ASC Experiential Learning. [online]
University of Toronto. Available at: http://experiential.asc.utoronto.ca/reflective-
observation/ [Accessed 3 Sep. 2020].
Andresen, L., Boud, D. and Cohen, R. (1995). EXPERIENCE-BASED LEARNING.
[online] Complex World, Australia: Allen & Unwin, pp.225–239. Available at:
5 Sep. 2020].
Argyris, C. and Schön, D.A. (1978). Organizational Learning: A Theory of Action Perspective.
II ed. University of Michigan: Addison-Wesley, pp.1–344.
Association for Experiential Education (2019). What is Experiential Learning? | Queen’s
Experiential Learning Hub. [online] Queensu.ca. Available at:
[Accessed 3 Sep. 2020].
Boud, D., Keogh, R. and Walker, D. (1985). Reflection, turning experience into learning.
London: Kogan Page ; New York.
Engward, H. and Davis, G. (2015). Being reflexive in qualitative grounded theory: discussion
and application of a model of reflexivity. Journal of Advanced Nursing, [online] 71(7),
pp.1530–1538. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/274318694
_model_of_reflexivity [Accessed 27 Aug. 2020].
Fenwick, T.J. (2001). Experiential Learning: A theoretical critique from five perspectives.
[online] ERIC, Columbus, OH: Center on Education and Training for Employment,
pp.2– 76. Available at: https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED454418.pdf [Accessed 8
Harvey, M., Coulson, D. and McMaugh, A., 2016. Towards a theory of the Ecology of
Reflection: Reflective practice for experiential learning in higher education. Journal of
University Teaching & Learning Practice, [online] 13(2), pp.1-20. Available at:
24 August 2020].
Healey, M. and Jenkins, A., 2000. Kolb’s Experiential Learning Theory and Its Application in
Geography in Higher Education. Journal of Geography, [online] 99(5), pp.185-195.
Available at: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00221340008978967
[Accessed 24 August 2020].
Kolb, D.A. (1984). Experimental learning: experience as the source of learning and
development. 2 illustrated ed. Englewood Cliffs; London: Prentice-Hall, pp.1–256.
Lea, M. and Street, B., 2006. The “Academic Literacies” Model: Theory and
Applications. Theory Into Practice, [online] 45(4), pp.368-377. Available at:
https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1207/s15430421tip4504_11 [Accessed 24
Mcleod, S. (2017). Kolb’s Learning Styles and Experiential Learning Cycle. [online]
Simplypsychology.org. Available at: https://www.simplypsychology.org/learning-
kolb.html [Accessed 3 Sep. 2020].
Schön, D.A. (1973). Beyond the stable state. illustrated, reprint ed. University of Michigan:
New York, Norton, pp.1–254.
Seifert, K. and Sutton, R. (2009). Major theories and models of learning | Educational
Psychology. [online] Lumenlearning.com. Available at:
theories-and-models-of-learning/ [Accessed 27 Aug. 2020].
Smith, M.K. (2001). Donald Schon (Schön): learning, reflection and change–
infed.org: [online] The encyclopedia of pedagogy and informal education.
Available at: https://infed.org/donald-schon-learning-reflection-change/
[Accessed 3 Sep. 2020].
Smith, M.K. (2013). Reflection, learning and education – infed.org: [online] The encyclopedia
of pedagogy and informal education. Available at: https://infed.org/mobi/reflection-
learning-and-education/#Boud [Accessed 3 Sep. 2020].
Smith, T., (2003). Connecting Theory And Reflective Practice Through The Use Of Personal
Theories. International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education. [online]
Honolulu, pp.215-222. Available at:
[Accessed 24 August 2020].
Soltis, J. (2020). John Dewey (1859–1952) – Experience and Reflective Thinking, Learning,
School and Life, Democracy and Education. [online] Stateuniversity.com. Available at:
[Accessed 1 Sep. 2020].
University of Leicester (2019). David Kolb — University of Leicester. [online] Le.ac.uk.
heories/kolb [Accessed 3 Sep. 2020].
Watts, L., 2018. Reflective Practice, Reflexivity, and Critical Reflection in Social Work
Education in Australia. Australian Social Work, [online] 72(1), pp.8-20. Available at:
https://doi.org/10.1080/0312407X.2018.1521856 [Accessed 24 August 2020].