Why reflect?

Reflection deepens learning. The act of reflecting is one which causes us to make sense of what we've learned, why we learned it, and how that particular increment of learning took place. Moreover, reflection is about linking one increment of learning to the wider perspective of learning - heading towards seeing the bigger picture. Reflection is equally useful when our learning has been unsuccessful - in such cases indeed reflection can often give us insights into what may have gone wrong with our learning, and how on a future occasion we might avoid now-known pitfalls. Most of all, however, it is increasingly recognised that reflection is an important transferable skill, and is much valued by all around us, in employment, as well as in life in general. The ability to reflect is one of the most advanced manifestations of owning - and being in control of - a human brain. Have you reflected today? Almost certainly 'yes!'. But have you evidenced your reflection today? Almost certainly 'sorry, too busy at the moment'. And the danger remains that even the best of reflection is volatile - it evaporates away unless we stop in our tracks to make one or other kind of crystallisation of it - some evidence. In our busy professional lives, we rarely make the time available to evidence our ongoing reflection. But we're already into an era where our higher education systems are beginning to not only encourage, but also to require our students to evidence their reflection. So what can we do to address the reflection culture gap - how can we approach accommodating our lack of experience in evidencing our reflection, and helping our students to gain their skills at evidencing their reflection?