Question: What is the difference between critical reflection and reflective practice? Do you have to do both, or just one? Every day, every week?
Both are thinking skills to be used depending on the situation
Critical reflection means ‘closely examining all aspects of events and experiences from different perspectives’ (Approved Learning Frameworks – EYLF p. 13, FSAC p. 12).
For example, some children in your program are all about superhero play, but you have educators who are concerned it’s too aggressive. Thinking critically about the different needs, perspectives and theories surrounding the situation will support you to make an informed decision, inclusive and responsive of everyone.
Reflective practice is ongoing, more flexible and usually occurs in or after the moment. For example, you’re setting up an art experience for the day. Last time, colour mixing was of interest to the children. On reflection, you think it’s likely they will want to explore it again, so you decide to include mixing colour palettes in this experience too.
Both thinking skills are incredibly valuable at providing insights and improvements to our programs and practice and can be done in many ways, including:
- By ourselves
- With others
- In the moment
- After the fact
- Through discussions
- Through focused questioning
- Using reflective journals
- Having team meetings
It doesn’t matter how much you reflect, it’s what you do with the new perspectives or ideas that makes a difference.
For more information, see the ACECQA Information sheet: Developing a culture of learning through reflective practice
Consultant, Community Child Care Association
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