1. Introduction to reflection
  2. Brookfield's lenses
  3. Lens one: autobiographical experiences of teaching and learning
  4. Lens two: learners' eyes
  5. Lens three: our colleagues' eyes
  6. Lens four: the critical literature
  7. Further resources to support reflective practice in teaching and learning

Brookfield's lens one: autobiographical experiences of teaching and learning 

The perspective which underpins this lens is based on the premise that our own experiences as learners can influence our behaviour as teachers. This may have a positive or negative impact but the important point is that an ability to use our autobiographical lens will enable us to identify these personal drivers and therefore review our practices.

In the following video Jenny Mackness presents her experience of blogging for reflective practice as an activity to facilitate the autobiographical lens. In the video we learn how Jenny has used the medium of blogging to examine her own personal pedagogies as an outcome of being an active participant within massive open online courses (MOOCs)


Transcript of autobiograhical lens video

I have been a teacher for more than 40 years, so reflective learning has always been on the cards and I am familiar with reflective learning cycles such as the Gibbs Reflective Cycle and the work of people like Donald Schon who is known for his insights into reflective learning.

I have also worked as a tutor on Oxford Brookes online Reflective Learning course with Peter Jackson and Jenny Moon, which was when I first put into words how I would define reflective learning and recorded this in this blog, which I created to accompany this course.

Blogging is a wonderful tool for reflective learning. I have been blogging fairly consistently since my first MOOC experience in 2008, in another blog which I call Jenny Connected. The title is related to a growing realisation that reflective learning can be enhanced through connection with others across the web.

Stephen Brookfield has written that autobiographical self-reflection is fraught with dangers. We all have blind spots in our work as teachers – practices and assumptions that we never investigate.

The openness of blogging and the possibility of encountering alternative perspectives is a way avoiding these blind spots.  Even if not many people read my blog, or if I don’t get many comments on my blog, the very act of openly writing for an ‘invisible’ audience means that I have to reflect on what I think, what I do and why I think and act in the way I do. Through blogging I surface my tacit understanding and record it – and over time I will develop a history of blog posts that tell my individual learning story.

For me perhaps the best thing about blogging is that it is my own personal space. I am in control. I can choose to share or not to share my reflections, to be alone or in the crowd. And there are many people I can learn from in 'blogosphere'.