Thursday, March 23, 2017

Random thoughts: reflective thinking vs learning through reflections

I took an elective titled "learning through reflections"

The tutor wanted us to define "reflections", think about what is a good "reflection" and what is a bad "reflection". She then give comments about our answers, telling us what "reflections" entails.

She then went on to have us read an article title "reflective thinking" and have us split into groups to summarize the 4 criterions of reflective thinking.

She keep challenging us for our thoughts when the various groups present their summaries. 

Just before the break, 2 groups presented. She ask for final opinion, I told her I am having cognitive dissonance, because reflective thinking is about thinking, not reflections. While reflection is a subset of thinking, I think there should be distinction. 

She then mentioned that the author says there are 4 types of thinking: just being conscious, imaginative and the final stage- believing. She did not really answer my question, but I am fine with it. I am not about to agrue with her over semantics. 

During the break, I returned early. She strike a conversation and I explained my understanding of "reflections". It should be introspective, about personal actualization and not analysis, ramifications and experimentations. It should be about awakening of the self, enlightenment if u like, with the emotional part playing an important role. There is no "educated" or "uneducated" decision based on experience but just whether we are are happy or disturbed over a decision, and that trigger of emotions is dependent on the filter built up over many experiences, called "conscience" I told her there is a difference between reflective thinking, which is what the article is about, and thinking reflections, which is what the course should be about.

Credit to her, she is really open-minded, and ask me to put the boards certain key words like "conscience", etc and said she would like to bring the discussion to the class. I became uncomfortable, but followed her instructions. 

When the class returned, she told the class that I had a different perspective and ask for the class comments. There is silence. She asked me why I felt I could not agree with the 2 model, and somewhat implied what is wrong with a "robust" way of thinking as reflection?  I said "analysis, verification, experiments" give u intelligence but reflections gave u wisdom. 

I said the first model of making meaning of experiences is something I can identify with, but do not accept "educated" and "miseducated" decision. I said these 2 terms are "external validation" and has no place in "reflection", an horrible terrible person will not think of himself as horrible. 

She said there are social norms. I said social norms are there but I need not buy them. I said external experiences are simple "stimulus" and the "filter" is just conscience, educated or not is up to external validation 

I felt very uncomfortable as the debate is dragging long enough. Luckily she moved on the 3rd and 4th models.

The third model is thinking as a community. Having affirmation with and from the community. Someone then quote the example that my sharing is also the case in point, since we all learn from each other and I got affirmation. I kept silence. In my mind, I said, "I need no affirmation from the community, I believe in what I am thinking, I need not have the community agree with me either. I have reflected about this long enough and has beliefs that are not easily shaken. This is internalization through reflections and not easily shaken by different school of thoughts"

Anyway, before We left, the lecturer kindly ask us to think about whether or not, our different perspectives can be reconcile, she "hint" that it is possible since reflections is also part of thinking. 

I wasn't too convinced. In my car, I thought. Chinese is also a subset of human. Humane Chinese and Chinese Human the same meh? 

But nevermind. It's only when I so free now I can talk make chicken and think rubbish la. I need no followers, no in this area of academic discussion. It is just fun. 


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  2. Not easy to convince or challenge somebody's mind. So much of publicity and yet many mind have fallen into scams

    1. Lol. CW

      Too easy to convince? You mean?

      I just say high returns and u jumped?

      It's not about the mind, it's about greed

  3. Ooh I love this type of thought provoking articles!

    Anyway on the last part of whether different perspectives can be reconciled. My question is, is there a necessity to reconcile them? After all, a diversity of opinions is what makes life and society so much more vibrant isn't it?

    1. Hi Kate,

      Yup, I agree diversity is good. She did mention there is no need to convergent. LOL.

      She is open-minded. Imagine your student poking you and hinting you got the wrong readings prepared? Think I might not be so kind

  4. Sillyinvestor,

    I see you guys are learning Dewey's concept of reflections ;)

    The 4 activities of Critical Reflection are:

    Assumption Analysis - challenge our beliefs, values, cultural practices, etc.

    Contextual Awareness - aware our assumptions are socially and personally created.

    Imaginative Speculation - alternative ways of thinking.

    Reflective Scepticism - questioning of universal truths claims.

    As a facilitator, I would have failed if all my trainees accept what I say is the "truth".

    My job is to encourage them to think for themselves. For goodness sake! Its a leadership workshop!

    As far as I can see, you are already implementing and executing what your course entails ;)

    You are doing loads of reflections!


    Imagine if you swallow hook, line, and sinker whatever that has been "taught" to you; and dump it on your students, that's not "learning through reflections".

    That's Confucianism ;)

    Respect authority and just as you were told!

  5. Wow! SMOL,

    U know John Dewey and u know him at the back of your hand, really got eyes dun know who is orh e orh

    Said John Dewey to my colleagues, think I will try a blank from at least half of them, and I serious think less than 5 can rattle off its 4 reflections like u did. Even if u google LOL

    BTW, in your previous comment at your blog, u mentioned not so bad to have take profits off my 2 counters? Right?

    Super wrong!! Still cheongjng $@d

    lol it's ok. Just whining

    1. Btw SMol,

      U just strengthen my changed belief in education again. Look at u! With real respect to u and Temperament, the supposedly "bo Ta chey" people, know how knowledgeable u all have? Both street smart and "high brow" in certain sense if u like.

      Imagine I got A Liao, study some more for what!

      Similarly, or conversely, someone love inquiry or learning, so what he got C?!!

      No wonder A or A* can be a ceiling. U thought u 天下无敌,or you stragiyically just move on to other subjects for better marks

    2. Sillyinvestor,

      I don't know John Dewey before your post. Now I do ;)

      How's that for continuous learning?

      Actually, its not so different from our learnings from Zen right?

      Its not about getting stuck with semantics; but what do we DO after we had our reflections?

      Have fun observing those teachers that have attended this course BEFORE you and what they actually DO after ;)

      You know this trick. Send a letter to yourself 12 months from now and ask the future you - how?

      This Singlish "How?" can be most enlightening!

    3. Hi SMOL,

      There are people who made changes when they returned, some a bit more significant, some more nuanced.

      But whatever u want to do, must do with 12 months. Otherwise the system will catch up. It's when I am all pumped up that I will try to change things.

      I do not belittle anyone without any changes. I remember the brink of depression I had, 7 to do things list whose deadline is ... yesterday?

      I spoke (whatsapp) to a few of my colleagues yesterday, all of them complained about fatigue, one capable and caring teacher is contemplating quitting.

      The system is becoming more and more unworthy and deserving of good teachers. Bad karma at systemic level, will lead to bad effects

    4. Sillyinvestor,

      Its not belittle others. My hint on the letter to yourself is to focus on ourselves first.

      You already have the tools before you went for the course. This course you are attending is like a sun-tan. It gives you the illusion you have "changed". But over time, the sun-tan will fade...

      You are the same you inside ;)

    5. Ah huh. I get what u mean: SMOL,

      and it's so easy to write a letter to yourself now with a blog.... LOL.

      Ok. That's fun and scary. Going to do it. Thanks for the suggestion

  6. Hi SI,

    Haha, I think that's what made you different from your peers in the same course - you thought through the materials and reflected based on what you experienced and observed, whereas the others are merely nodding their heads. Well done :)

    1. Haha, no la,

      I dun think I am more reflective, iT just happened that I have thought through those things before.

      Also, this course is full of dragons and tigers. I am just a rat

    2. In chess, yes!

      In real life? Lol

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