Student Reflection

Guideline:  Structured occasions for reflection allow students to explore their experiences and develop abstractions that may help students transfer knowledge to new situations.

Awareness and reflection are not merely symptoms of developments in learners, they bring about the developments.  It is through engaging students in reflecting upon the process and outcomes of their studying that progress is made.

Gibbs, G., Teaching Students to Learn:  A Student-Centered Approach, The Open University Press, Milton Keynes, p. 91 (1981).

Students require a variety of learning situations and opportunities in order to be aware of and reflect on…variation, and to be able to make fine distinctions about the significant aspects of each new context.  By identifying the differences between similar situations, the student is better able to respond appropriately.  Such learning experiences are an important preparation for the unpredictable nature of the workplace.

…The impact on learning, however, is enhanced by structuring opportunities for reflection and peer consultation.

Bowden, J., Hart, G., King, B., Trigwell, K. & Watts, O., “Generic capabilities:  a framework for action”, in Generic Capabilities of ATN University Graduates (2000).

High road transfer always involves reflective thought in abstracting from one context and seeking connections with others. High road transfer is not as dependent on superficial stimulus similarities, since through reflective abstraction a person can often “see through” superficial differences to deeper analogies.

          Perkins, D. N., & Salomon, G. (1988). Teaching for transfer. Educational leadership46(1), 22-32.


Additional references

Boud, D., Keough, R., & Walker, D. eds., Reflection:  Turning Experience into Learning, Kogan Page, London (1985).

Boud, D., Enhancing Learning through Self Assessment, Kogan Page, London (1995).

Chi, M. T. H., Bassok, M., Lewis, M. W., Reimann, P., & Glaser, R. (1989). Self-explanations: How students study and use examples in learning to solve problems. Cognitive Science, 13(2), 145-182. doi:10.1207/s15516709cog1302_1

Halpern, D. F. (1998). Teaching critical thinking for transfer across domains: Disposition, skills, structure training, and metacognitive monitoring. American Psychologist, 53(4), 449-455. doi: 10.1037/0003-066X.53.4.449

Kerka, S., “Journal Writing and Adult Learning”, ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult Career and Vocational Education, Columbus, OH (1996). 

Kolb, D., Experiential Learning: Experience as the Source of Learning and Development, Prentice-Hall, New Jersey (1984).

Magolda, M.B.B., Creating Contexts for Learning and Self-Authorship: Constructive-Developmental Pedagogy, Vanderbilt University Press, Nashville, TN (1999).

McGill, I. & Brockbank, A., Facilitating Reflective Learning in Higher Education, SRHE & Open University Press, Buckingham (1998).

Moon, J., Learning Journals:  A Handbook for Academics, Students and Professional Development, Kogan Page, London (1999).

Pintrich, Paul R. (2002). The Role of metacognitive knowledge in learning, teaching, and assessing. Theory into Practice, 41(4). 219-225.


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