On reflection

Trees reflected in still waterPhoto credit: Lee Beavington, 2020. Used with permission.

John Dewey was an early 20th century educator and educational theorist who argued that
“We do not learn from experience... we learn from reflecting on experience” (How We Think, 1933, p. 77).

Since Dewey’s time, educational theory and practice has evolved a lot, but there is still almost universal acceptance that reflection—thinking back over past experiences in order to make decisions about future experiences—is a key part of learning and growth.

This short video introduces the idea of reflection as a learning strategy in much the way we use it in the Writing Centre:

Study Help: Reflective Writing

* Note—there is a difference between reflection and rumination: reflection is thinking back in order to plan for the future; rumination is getting stuck in the past with no clear way forward. Thinking back over a past experience and trying to figure out how to respond differently in the future is reflection; thinking back over a past event only to replay how wrong/stupid/insensitive you were is rumination!

To make space for reflection in our work, we do several reflective writing assignments every year. You will write reflections about your own experiences of tutoring, reflections about watching other people tutor, reflections after receiving feedback about your work, and, at the end of the year, you’ll write a reflection about your work in the Writing Centre generally that will take the form of a letter to future tutors (which you’ll read next).

Because of the importance of reflective writing in our work and development, it’s important that all tutors have a shared understanding of what reflective writing is, what it looks like, and why it’s valuable. Please take 30-45 minutes to look through this guide to reflective writing from writeonline.ca before proceeding to the next activity.

Last modified: Tuesday, 30 June 2020, 4:39 PM