Models of reflection

Welcome to the second part of Trusting in the TRUE Leaders Programme. Below you will find the video, audio and a transcript as well as a link to the worksheet. 

Worksheet (to download)

Video transcript

Hello, and welcome back to the reflecting part of the TRUE Leaders Programme. This video is part two when we start to think about different models of reflection. And one in particular that I am going to share with you, which I find is incredibly simple and really helpful. So, hopefully, you spent some time thinking about what reflection means to you and defining that, and maybe looking at some definitions or speaking to some people about what that means to you, and also thinking about the benefits.

Today is a little bit more about the "how". How do you reflect? That is why I am sharing a really simple model that I find incredibly valuable for me in helping me reflect. The model is developed by Rolfe et al., and it is a simple three-step reflective cycle. I first came across this when I was working through my Chartership as a librarian and that is where we do a portfolio on reflective practice. Everything that we do is about doing something in practice and then reflecting on the process. And it is assessed by your reflective journal portfolio, it is what we refer to as actually. But it is all about reflection and I found it really beneficial to think about how I structured that reflection to make sure that I was actually not just describing what I have done but really reflecting on it. And this model, in just five words, is how I personally find it helpful to do that.

So it is three stages, five words. That is all there is to it. It is detailed in your worksheets. I will share it with you now. The first question is "What?". That is it. Just "What?". And this is the first part of the cycle where it is more descriptive. So, we start to think about what it is that we have done. So for now, for example, what you are watching a video about the reflective learning cycle. That is the "what". I am presenting a video on this topic and you are watching it, you are listening to it. That is it. That is the "what". It is just describing whatever it was.

The next piece of the reflective learning cycle is two words this time and it is "So what?". And that is where you start to think about, OK, so that is what I did. "So what?"; what does it mean? So for example today, what is it that you will take from this video? What new bits of learning or reminders - what is it that you are taking from it, and start to think about the relevant points? Quite often when we do a certain exercise, not all of it will be completely applicable to us, but there are the key bits that will be and that is the "so what". It is picking out those key elements that we then want to do a little bit of deeper reflection on. So we’ve got our "What?", then we’ve got our "So what?", and the final piece is "Now what?". And that is all there is to it, isn't it simple?

So the "Now what?", and this is the part that we possibly do not always do, or me personally, do not always do when we are thinking about the full reflective learning cycle because reflection is not just thinking about what has happened. It is thinking about how what has happened and what we have learned from that will help us going forwards, and that is the "now what". So, to continue with our example, the what is you’re watching this video on a reflective learning cycle. The "so what" is anything new that you have taken from the video or anything that you have been reminded of. The "now what" is as a result of this, this is going to change in my practice or this is what I am going to do differently. That is the "now what" piece. And that is all there is to it.

What? So what? Now what? It is a really simple model and whenever I write blog posts or I write articles and they are more reflective in their nature, I use that as a really simple way to structure it. And the reason it is a cycle is that after the "now what", you often then change what the "what" was. So the situation would have changed, you would have detected and the "what" is different, and so it is an ongoing cyclical process.

But what I would like you to do for the task for this part of reflection is to think about a time in recent, I would say probably weeks but it may be months if there is something particularly pertinent that you would like to choose, but something that you would like to reflect on. Something that you have learnt from. Now, immediately, you might think about a certain course or something like that, but it does not need to be that. It could be an experience. It could be something that happened to you in the home. Whatever it was. Just something that you have learned from and that you would like to reflect on a little bit more.

I’d like you to go through that process with whatever it is that you have chosen. There are prompts in the guidance for today. So, I would like you to go through that process. So remember the "what" is quite descriptive. It is quite brief describing what happened, what you did, what is going on? And then "so what" which are the salient points that you would like to choose, the most important bits of that that apply to you. And then the "now what", as a result of that what will you do differently or what have you done differently if you are reflecting on something that has already happened.

So, I would like you to just choose one example and go through that process. And then if it is helpful to then reflect on the process and think about, oh, actually, yeah, I can see myself using that. The stretch for today if you are interested in doing a little bit more on this is there are loads of models on reflection. This is the one I like the most because it is so simple. I do not need to go back and look it up and remember what the stages of the process are. It is three stages. It is five words.

However, there are some also incredible, slightly more, but not too much more, complex models of reflection and you may wish to do a little bit of research into that, and that might be your stretch for today. So, if this is an area that you are interested in, you would like to do more reflection, but you are not sure how? Then today is the opportunity for you to start looking at that.

So, that is it for models of reflection. This is hopefully something that is a little bit more practical maybe than some of the other pieces. It is a part that will really start to get you doing it in practice and start to think about how you can find it useful.

So, join me in the next part when we start to think about how you reflect for you and what works for you. And we may use this example to help you do that, but for now just focus on the models of reflection and give it a go. Give the Rolfe Reflective Cycle a go of thinking about how you can reflect on something that you have learned from recently, and I hope you find that helpful. I will see you again soon. Take care.

Audio (to stream or download)