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Reflective story from journey of life , Alam terkembang jadi guru

Reflective Thinking [english]

This modern era of internet & complex social issue ( economic, politic, psychology etc. ), which flooded us with information and complexity of reality problem, sometime make us difficult to face it. Complexity and inter related issue difficult to understand and solve only by standard critical thinking, because we can not just simplify a problem on a model then make analyzed it. We need different type of thinking, Reflective thinking that can see the case on more wide & high view, a wide helicopter view.

Thinking process generally refers to any mental or intellectual activity involving an individual’s subjective consciousness. It can refer either to the act of thinking or the resulting ideas or arrangements of ideas.

There are several different type of thinking, starting from simple one for just memorizing until complex thinking process. Simply we can classified thinking type gradually; Memorizing, analytical thinking, critical thinking, Innovative, Intuitive, reflective thinking.

Type of thinking ;

  1. Critical thinking is the mental process of objectively analyzing a situation by gathering information from all possible sources, and then evaluating both the tangible and intangible aspects, as well as the implications of any course of action.
  2. Implementation thinking is the ability to organize ideas and plans in a way that they will be effectively carried out.
  3. Conceptual thinking consists of the ability to find connections or patterns between abstract ideas and then piece them together to form a complete picture.
  4. Innovative thinking involves generating new ideas or new ways of approaching things to create possibilities and opportunities.
  5. Intuitive thinking is the ability to take what you may sense or perceive to be true and, without knowledge or evidence, appropriately factor it in to the final decision.
  6. Memorizing , retrieval of information/knowledge that has recorded previously. Memorize is the simplest thinking activity.

Critical thinking described as use of those cognitive skills or strategies that increase the probability of a desirable  outcome thinking that is purposeful, reasoned and goal directed – the kind of thinking involved in solving problems, formulating inferences, calculating likelihoods, and making decisions when the thinker is using skills that are thoughtful and effective for the particular context and type of thinking  task. Critical thinking is sometimes called directed thinking because it focuses on a desired outcome.” Halpern (1996).

 Reflective thinking is different way of thinking that more advance than critical thinking.  Critical thinking and reflective thinking are often used synonymously.  Reflective thinking, on the other hand, is a part of the critical thinking process referring specifically to the processes of analyzing and making judgments about what has happened. Dewey (1933) suggests that reflective thinking is an active, persistent, and careful consideration of a belief or supposed form of knowledge, of the grounds that support that knowledge, and the further conclusions to which that knowledge leads. Learners are aware of and control their learning by actively participating in reflective thinking – assessing what they know, what they need to know, and how they bridge that gap – during learning situations.

In summary, critical thinking involves a wide range of thinking skills leading toward desirable  outcomes and reflective thinking focuses on the process of making judgments about what has happened.

However, reflective thinking is most important in prompting learning during complex problem-solving situations because it provides students with an opportunity to step back and think about how they actually solve problems and how a particular set of problem solving strategies is appropriated for achieving their goal.

For Dewey, thinking is problem solving and his paradigm has come to be called variously; problem solving, critical thinking, reflective thinking, functional thinking, scientific thinking, the complete act of thought and the method of intelligence – Tanner & Tanner, 2007:57

If we follow Dewey, critical thinking is motivated by a problem. It must be a real problem, the student’s own problem. It must be a problem related to his or her life – within their context.

Reflective thinking implies not only the solving of problems but also includes, for example, the pondering on God’s greatness, the appreciation of the awesomeness of nature, the reflecting on the development of a student in all spheres of life, the discovering of beautiful literature, the meditating of God’s Word, etc.

Reflective thinking helps to bridge the gap between theory and practice,

Reflective thinking involves personal consideration of one’s own learning. It considers personal achievements and failures and asks what worked, what didn’t, and what needs improvement (Given, 2002). It asks the learner to think about her own thinking.

“Reflection is the key that opens the door to understanding ourselves in relation to core ethical values” (Beland, 2003, p.15). Similarly, Lickona states that moral reflection is necessary to develop the cognitive side of character –the important part of our moral selves that enables us to make moral judgments about our own behavior and that of others” (Lickona, 1991, p.229).  This type of reflection enables learners to gain self-knowledge, to demonstrate their understanding of worthwhile moral values, take on the perspective of others, to reflect on why some actions are morally better than others, and to consider alternatives and consequences of actions.

Reflection as meaning making process

  • Moves the learner from one experience to the next with deeper understanding of its relationships with and connections to other experiences and ideas.
  • The thread that makes continuity of learning possible.
  • It insures the progress of the individual, and, ultimately, society.
  • It is a means to essentially moral ends.

Reflection as rigorous way of thinking

Systematic, rigorous, disciplined way of thinking with roots in scientific inquiry. Reflection requires attitudes that value the personal and intellectual growth of oneself and others

Six phases of Reflection ;

  1. An experience
  2. Spontaneous interpretation of the experience
  3. Naming the problem(s) or the question(s) that arise out of  the experience
  4. Generating possible explanations for the problem(s) or question(s) posed
  5. Ramifying the explanations into full-blown hypotheses
  6. Experimenting or testing the selected hypotheses

Significant Attitudes for Reflection ;

  1. Empathy
  2. Open-mindedness
  3. Curiosity
  4. Self-awareness
  5. Intercultural communication skills
  6. Patience
  7. Ability to take risks/act/experiment
  8. Active seeking of feedback and alternative perspectives

( Source : John Dewey. How we think. Lexington, Mass: D.C. Heath, (1910):

Figure : The Thinking Process (adapted from Mezirow 1990, Schon 1987, Brookfield 1987)


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This entry was posted on 01/05/2012 by in horizon - insight.
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