CritiCally refleCtive praCtiCe
Applying reflection to learning through participation -
learning from the literature
The literature (refer to the annotated bibliography Reflection has an important role within academic
on reflection for more detail) describes many learning. Pivotal to this role is the concept of praxis
applications of reflection to learning through (Habermas, 1973) whereby reflection provides an
participation. From the literature we learn that there avenue for applying theory to the practice that is
needs to be clarity around any role that reflection explored through an authentic participatory learning
plays and that role needs to be aligned with the experience.
curriculum and embedded accordingly.
A range of skills can be developed through reflective
practice in participation units. These include
Three roles for reflection for higher order thinking and metacognitive skills and
traditional and creative communication skills, all of
learning through participation which are foundation skills for academic and lifelong
This model classifies the many applications of learning.
reflection for learning through participation into the
The roles are not discrete. Rather, we intend that they
three defining roles of reflection in, and for:
be approached from the perspective of a learning
• academic learning; system with each role treated as interrelated, and
• skills development; and the learning opportunities identified within the roles
as interchangeable, responding to the context and
• lifelong learning.
intended learning outcomes.
Intended (academic) learning Higher order thinking skills:
critically re ective thinking
Application of theory to practice
Evidence of learning Communication skills:
Assessment (for learning)
re ective writing
Connecting course, experience and
future work (authentic learning) creative expressions of re ections
Professional practice Transformative Learning
Career development learning Whole person learning
Graduate capabilities / attributes Unintended learning outcomes
Habermas, J. (1973). Theory and Practice. Oxford: Beacon Press.
An annotated bibliography on reflection is available on the Macquarie University website.
This resource is based on an extract from:
Coulson, D.; Harvey, M.; Winchester-Seeto, T.; & Mackaway, J. (2010). Evidence for the role of reflection in learning
through participation. Paper presented at the national conference of the Australian Collaborative Education
Network, 29 September to 1 October 2010, Perth, Australia. LTC11-A4-008 • 10 March 2011
Developed by Debra Coulson and Dr Marina Harvey, Learning and Teaching Centre, Macquarie University 1