Topic 3 Reflecting

Overview: In this section we will explore what it means to reflect and how reflection relates to listening and dialogue. 

Over the course of our engagements with practitioners and stakeholders as part of the EDURAD project, this has emerged as an important practice that allows people to take an ‘intimate distance’ from that which is most familiar, including from ourselves. This allows us to listen to other perspectives, to take other perspectives on the self, and to notice our assumptions, the baggage we carry, or the structures that shape our own lives and the most personal aspects of our experience. 

First, we invite you to engage in a short Mentimeter activity. Using the QR code you post three words you associate with reflection. 

🤔  Moment for Reflection

Take a moment to reflect on what others have written. Note any new insights and keep in mind those terms in mind as we move through this section. 

What is Reflection?

Reflection stems from the Latin verb reflectere, meaning “to bend” or “to turn back on the self.”  

Self-reflection involves making sense through sustained committed reflection to looking at oneself in an open and honest way.

Reflecting allows us to take some distance from what we experience. Whilst not losing the feeling and quality of the experience, we don’t become lost in the experience or completely identify with it. Reflecting means finding a ‘little gap’, a little fresh air, to allow other perspectives to enter. 

Sometimes reflection is imagined as a mirror but at other times it is imagined as de-centering the habitual self in order to look at something through fresh eyes. 

In many ways, reflection allows for renewal. It means that that we don’t get stuck in one way of being, feeling, perceiving, sensing, thinking or engaging in our practice and in our lives. But it can also clarify our commitments and our values and allow us to see whether these are being lived out in practice. 

🤔 Moment for Reflection

  • Describe your core values using image and text. Respond intuitively.
  • Name the different aspects of your life where you feel you most embody those values. 
  • Locate any gaps between your values and your everyday practices of living and/or your professional practice and explore ways to embody your core values. This can be done in pairs or groups.

🤔 Moment for Reflection : Here is a reflective exercise about reflection.

  • Notice what happens when you say to yourself “I intend to reflect on this idea of reflection”.
  • What image of reflection arises?
  • What are the feelings in your body, the emotions that rise up, what is your posture like? Sit with all of this. 
  • Explore then what happens when you say to yourself, I will reflect on reflection in a spirit of..justice, generosity, anger, kindness, openness, dispassion, curiosity, hopefulness, certainty, objectivity, coolness, ambiguity, complexity.
  • Don’t worry too much about what arises. Just stay with it. 
  • Next choose something that you want to reflect on and do this exercise of noticing your body and emotions as you bring it to mind, reflect on the tools you need in order to reflect (do you reach for a pen? Do you sit in a chair and gaze into the distance?). 
  • Then experiment with different styles of reflection you are going to adopt first about an issue, and then about yourself.

Models and Frameworks for Reflecting



Metaphorical mirrors: the bathroom mirror (reflecting on self), the rear-view mirror (reflecting back), the wing or side view mirror (reflecting on feedback from others), the magnifying mirror (reflecting on detail), the funfair mirrors (reflection can be distorted), the shop window reflection (reflecting naturally while we are in practice). 

Rolfe, Freshwater & Jasper (2001)  

Reflexive Learning: What? – So What? – Now What? 

Brookfield (1995) 

Lens of their own autobiography as teachers and learners – Lens of students’ eyes – Lens of colleagues’ experiences – Theoretical Lens. 

Greenway (1995) 

4 Fs Reflective Method – Fact, Feeling, Findings, Future  

Metaphorical Mirrors

Bassot, B (2020) The Reflective Journal. London: MacMillan

Reflective Lenses (Brookfield, 1995)

Source: Brookfield, S. (1995) Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher. London: Wiley.

Greenway’s 4 Fs Reflective Method

When reflection on activities (including this module) the 4 F´s debriefing method may be useful:

  1. Fact – What did you hear during this session?
  2. Feelings – How did you feel during the session?
  3. Findings – What did you learn?
  4. Future – How will you use what you have learned?

Source: Greenway, R. (1995)  Powerful learning experiences in management learning and development: a study of the experiences of managers attending residential development training courses at the Brathay Hall Trust (1988-9), (Doctoral dissertation, University of Lancaster).

The aim of this activity is to prompt educators to reflect on the more appropriate roles we can and should take up. 

What is the most appropriate role for teachers and educators to take up when dealing with extremism in the classroom. Reflect on roles when controversial topics emerges in:

(A)Planned and intended ways (i.e., a topic you as educator planned for)

(B)Unplanned and unintended ways.

The task here is for group to complete a Venn diagram and seek areas of commonality in roles:

🤔 Moment for Reflection: Constructive confrontation – Is it to be avoided at all costs?  

Our conversations and research as part of the EDURAD project highlighted differences in the kinds of roles teachers and educators should take up when dealing with controversial topics or difficult conversations. Some saw constructive confrontation as a valid pedagogic response. Others communicated a preference that sought consensus and a ‘middle ground.’ Young people said that these issues need to be addressed.

Using a placemat activity, reflect on the values, attitudes and roles which you think are needed by teachers/educators to support dialogue and authentic listening.

🤔 Here you are asked to reflect on your own at first and then share your thoughts and insights with three others in your group. You should write your personal thoughts in the section of paper allocated to you (see diagram below). When everyone has shared, you are asked to discuss these and note those points that you all agree on and points that you did not agree on but still believed to be important.  

The next task provides an opportunity for individuals to first work on their own and then to share their thoughts through discussion with a small group. 


  1. On your own, first identify aspects, supports, structures that need to be put in place to build and support restorative cultures within your organisation.
  2. 🤔 Take a moment to list these – aim to keep them short. For example, prioritise relationships rather than rules; authentically value student voice; create opportunities for collaboration, create space to share learning, etc.
  3. When complete share these with others in your small group.
  4. The task is to prioritise in order of importance what you as a group believe to be essential in terms of building restorative, dialogic cultures in our schools/youth groups. Complete these on the pyramid diagram on the next slide. 
  5. Now do this exercise with young people. Reflect and Review