For me the starting point of learning and review has centred upon critical thinking to help develop deeper reflection of any review process, to identify correctly, select effectively and make the best choices and decisions based upon relevant evidence, knowledge and understanding. The capacity to think critically enhances my self-awareness, promotes improved interpretation, appraisal and outcomes. The end point has been clearer thinking, to think in logical, reasoned and analytical ways.
The simplified three-stage approach by Cottrell (2017, p. 201) has been used more recently to aid my critical thinking.
- What? Go back over the experience and identify what happened?
- So what? Describing your experience is not enough-you need to work out why this is significant. What do you now understand better?
- Now what? Now that you have a better understanding of your experience, what will you do with the insights gained? How will you be different? Or do things differently?
The Core Model of Critical Reflection by Cottrell (2010) acts as a series of question-based prompts to help me to analyse and challenge my thinking.
Several Critical reflection models have helped me to maintain my focus on my own experiencing, to clarify my thinking, to deepen my understanding and to reinforce learning which has helped positive change. Reflective practice is essential for learning within personal and professional development. The Gibbs reflective learning cycle (1988) has been a useful reflective framework for systematic thinking at different stages of the learning experience. For example, what happened? Give a description. What are/were your feelings and emotional responses? What worked, didn’t work and why? What sense can you make of the experience? What can you conclude from the experience and your individual responses? What will you do differently next time? What is your action plan?
Throughout my professional career and clinical experiencing I have used the reflection-in-action/reflection-on-action by Schon (1983) which helped to focus in-process as well as on experiencing.
My reflective process has been aided by the Kolb’s learning styles and experiential learning cycle (1984) including review, analysis and evaluation.
In considering all this a lot of thinking is required at depth to learn, to fully utilise such learning, to make connections to evaluate to analyse to understand to develop to be creative, to do meaningful and relevant work in accordance with one’s own creative process.
So, within the context of models of critical thinking and reflection…
Review– To critically analyse, evaluate, assess, appraise with a view to learn to affect change. For example, when progressing my screen-printed textiles, I brought out past work and reviewed as a whole, I asked for feedback from others which helped me to look afresh and to learn and to change direction.
Evaluate– To judge one’s own work outcomes set against the initial ideas, goals, expectations and projections for that process of work, to assess quality based upon an agreed criterion. For example, for recent tapestry weavings I reviewed my initial intentions, what were the core objectives and against each goal I appraised the tapestry weavings systematically thinking about what was successful and what was not and why this was the case. In evaluating the pros and cons of each piece of work I was able to accurately assess each one and see their merits as well as aspects which were not so successful that would be completed differently next time.
Select– To make choices based upon a set criterion including quality, impact, interest, relevance, meaning, satisfaction, expectations met, to single out, to sort and pick out in terms of specific themes, materials, colours, techniques, approaches, skills, learning, etc. For example, I have made selections all the way through the OCA Textiles Degree Programme for formal assessment, to decide what to include and not to include based upon a review process, the learning outcomes and assessment criteria.
Engage– To fully participate in, to get involved with your own creative work process. To engage others in your own creative process, to share and to discuss and reflect upon the work process with others. For example, I have made a concerted and conscious effort to engage others within my work process on an ongoing basis through my online learning log (blog) and Instagram. I have moved beyond sharing off-line to sharing online.
Edit– To review information, knowledge, understanding and material for assessment through a process of selecting, organising, reorganising, condensing, correcting, modifying, redoing, rewriting, re-scripting, redrafting, amending, rearranging and improving. For example, I have had to edit my textile work continuously through my creative work process for the academic process just as with any of my research processes within academia.
In reviewing and evaluating my own work I have and continue to utilise these models of critical thinking and reflection so I have a systematic framework for thinking about my work whereupon I am clear why I am selecting and why I am not selecting my work for discussion and review. I also aim to follow a clear set criteria in terms of reviewing my selected work including the creative process involved, what I learned along the way, what was significant, how I progressed as a result of the work, the relationship I have with the work, what works and does not work and the outcomes achieved. The OCA learning outcomes and assessment criteria for the courses completed will guide the overall review process. I aim to write up my review process and post online as well as seek the perspectives of others throughout reviewing and editing my work. During the process of reviewing and editing my own work I plan to jump back and forth between my work to help see the collection as a whole and to contextualise my development and overall journey.
“Think 8 hours, work 2 hours” byMirko Ilić refers to the need to think and that thinking informs and defines the quality of the working process. Thinking time is a significant part of any academic, new, learning process to ensure well thought out actions. This balance of work to thinking ratio is viewed positively however I utilise a flexible approach to thinking about my working process. I capitalise upon different times to think and reflect critically dependent upon a range of commitments. I will reflect upon my creative working process within different sites and locations throughout every week and I always have a notebook and sketchpad available to acknowledge my thinking, any connections which have been made alongside new learning and understandings. I set minimum standards for myself concerning the ratio of thinking to working which is at the very least based on an equal spread of time and effort for each. That said within Personal Specialism and Research much of the assignment work itself is centred upon reflection, review and editing so the amount of thinking time needed will be greater as the component expectations are cognitive based.