What are the contrasts between what Brookfield and Fendler assert?
Both Brookfield (2017) and Fendler (2003) provide interesting perspectives on teacher reflection and I offer two key differences between their offerings. Firstly, their definitions of reflection. Brookfield asserts that “critical reflection is, quite simply, the sustained and intentional process of identifying and checking the accuracy and validity of our teaching assumptions” (p2). By contrast, Fendler suggests there is no simple definition but that “today’s discourse of reflection incorporates an array of meanings” (p20). Secondly, and perhaps more poignantly, their primary purpose in writing. Brookfield’s motivation appears to be that of encouraging greater criticality within teacher’s reflective practices. However, Fendler challenges the reader to be critical of the reflective practice itself before undertaking it.
What impact have these readings had on your own thoughts regarding critical reflection and professional learning?
Brookfield’s chapter has made me think about the importance of uncovering power and hegemony in school practices. My criticality should not just be about challenging my own practices but, more importantly, those that are more systemic.
Fendler’s article really challenged me to critique the practice of teacher reflection itself. By analysing a number of influences on the development of the practice, it became clear that what is now as a professional requirement should, itself, be questioned.
How might you promote more genuine critical reflection among colleagues within your school/college?
- Discuss and agree a rationale for reflection;
- Use Brookfield’s ‘4 reflective sources’ as a model for critical reflection;
- Provide challenge questions to aid critique.