The term reflection seems to spring several understandings immediately. To reflect: to bounce back; to think about after the event; to evaluate; to question. All of which suggest an action after an event.
What about reflection within an event? That is, during the process of doing. Or maybe a reflection before the event? All of which have a solid defining presence in the term reflection and most importantly in the action.
In Creativity and Imagination in Education (CIE), the reflective process is a vital and key component. It allows for innovative thoughts to “pop up” and tangents to follow. It allows for branching off a subject content in varying directions. It allows for past knowledge to foundation the next challenge.
In any lesson, the first step is recognising “where you are” in the process and questioning “where you want to be” and “where you could be”. Reflection in CIE is not just about “where you should be” which is so common in classrooms. Reflection in CIE encourages points to “reflect in action” (Schon, 1987) where the person is in the “midst” of the task and in the moment of the task. This conscious action based on past knowledge and experiences allows for widened views of the learning moment.
The process is solidly driven by the individual in question e.g. the student, the teacher, the Principal. Reflective thoughts on school task whether they be a class project, or a teacher’s program or a Principal’s staff meeting, allows for progression in higher order thinking.
When we reach targets of higher order thinking, it recognises we are able to think critically and ask more questions, make more exploratory moves, discuss more varied interpretations and discover more responses. It is at this point, that I believe, that information exchange and knowledge creation distinguish themselves. Without critical thinking, information shared is just that. A superficial sharing and movement of information and its constructs. A transporting of ideas and thoughts from one point to another. A “re-filing” of ideas.
When we take a more critical approach, we are then able to question the pros and cons of the learning and the knowledge creation results. We are able to reflect on the possibilities, the successes, the failures, the efficiency of tasks and the reception of results. Our past experiences and knowledge “step up” to meet the “information exchange” and walks it on a different tangent, all the while reflecting throughout the process. This meeting point of information plus the action of reflection opens up the doors to knowledge exchange.
Once knowledge exchange is “reached” but not finalised of course, as it would be definitively wrong to suggest that CIE has a “reaching point”, then the analysing of outcomes of the task becomes limitless. That explosive moment/s of knowledge exchange unleashes a door to infinite possible learning events and moments. Knowledge exchange allows the students, child or adult, to determine their own path of learning, their own path off communication, their own path of exploration.
In a classroom, then I question whether our programming is more required in content information or perhaps the emphasis is less on specific knowledge (outcomes) and more so on the creativity and imagination that can come from collaborative thoughts and ideas, reflective practises and communicative abilities.
Reflection and CIE..explosive elements in any learning environment.