Brookfield Reflection Model


Hello Everyone. In this article I will try to explain the Brookfield Reflection Model in a practical way. After reading you will understand the basics of this powerful communication tool. Get ready and move on. . .

What is the Brookfield Reflection Model?

The Brookfield Reflection Model is a tool for teachers to discover the value of their lessons through critical self-reflection. Brookfield states that critically reflective teachers and tutors are excellent teachers who can authentically convey their own voice to others.

As teachers reflect more and better, they are better able to make reliable and accurate judgments about teaching approaches, evaluation, planning curriculum design, assessments and dealing with student problems. It is therefore crucial to perform these responsibilities with a critical evaluation from as many different perspectives as possible.

Many schools encourage teachers to think critically about their own teaching and student learning using Stephen Brookfield’s four different interconnections. These four reads are used for critical self-reflection, as well as by developing a critically reflective teacher.

Who developed the Brookfield reflection model?

The Brookfield Reflection Model was developed by Stephen Brookfield in 1995. Brookfield has taught in several countries during his teaching career. Among others, he taught in the United States, England and Canada. During his career Brookfield wrote nineteen books. The topics of these books ranged from critical thinking, discussion methods, critical theory and learning racing. His goal has always been to help adults learn to think critically about the dominant ideas that each person has internalized.

What are the four reads of Brookfield’s critical reflection?

According to Brookfield, critically reflective teachers provide three benefits:

  • Inspiring confidence
  • Achieving SMART goals
  • Motivated, critically reflective students

The goal of the critically reflective teacher is to acquire a greater awareness of her or his own teaching from as many points of view as possible. For this Stephen Brookfield has developed four reads in the Brookfield reflection model. These can be used by teachers in the process of critical reflection. It concerns the following four reads, or perspectives:

  1. The autobiographical lens
  2. The eyes of the student
  3. The experiences of colleagues
  4. Theoretical literature

These reading correlate with the processes of self-reflection, feedback , peer review, and deliberation on scientific literature. By continuously improving these processes, the foundation is laid for better education and the means to become a good teacher.

1. The autobiographical lens

This is the first lens of the Brookfield reflection model, and is also where a teacher can reveal aspects of pedagogy that may need to be enhanced or modified. The autobiographical lens helps teachers to consider their own experiences with students in relation to teaching and learning. The analysis of this learning experience will help uncover assumptions and beliefs about how people learn.

Aspects of their pedagogy can be revealed through textbooks, evaluations, student feedback, personal results or other techniques. Self-reflection is the basis for reflective education.

Activities within the autobiographical perspective

  • Philosophy of Education and Learning
  • Recordings
  • Education logs
  • Audits
  • Opinions

2. The eyes of the student

It is necessary to go beyond mere reflection through the autobiographical lens. According to the Brookfield reflection model, it is of the utmost importance that teachers understand the experiences of students. Teachers can do this by, for example, conducting evaluations with students, about learning styles, testing methods, focus groups or interviews. This ensures that they will teach more responsibly. The student lens further reveals whether assumptions about power relationships need to be adjusted, as well as student learning habits through feedback.

Activity perspective of the student

  • Formal Evaluations
  • Classroom evaluations
  • Focus groups
  • Conversations
  • Letters
  • Questionnaires

3. The experiences of colleagues

Good teachers keep their focus on the first two lenses, but excellent teachers will also be deeply involved in those processes, as well as reaching out to peers for mentoring, advice and feedback. In addition, teachers can gain confidence through contacts with other teachers. That’s because they discover that they are not the only ones who make strange mistakes, but that they are shared by peers. Also exchange experiences in the field of working in teams, participating in seminars, workshops, peer reviews, or thinking about educational theories and methods.

Activities experiences of colleagues

  • Learning circles
  • Collaborative Problem Solving
  • Critical interviews and evaluations

4. The theoretical literature

The fourth and final lens of the Brookfield reflection model for critical reflection in education is contained in the scientific literature on higher education. Teachers who research, present, or publish this literature have advanced vocabulary and many methods of teaching practice. A commitment to both scientific literature and colleagues supports teachers.

Activities theoretical literature

  • Conferences
  • Trade magazines
  • Research

Tips for introducing critical reflection in education

As a teacher it is sometimes difficult to apply new methods or techniques while teaching. Use the step-by-step plan below to stimulate critical reflection in the students.

Tip 1: arouse curiosity

When students have to learn new concepts or topics, they often experience a sense of uncertainty and imbalance if they do not immediately understand the new information. Critical reflection is needed to assess new information and resolve the imbalance. It takes a lot of energy and time to do this. Arousing curiosity in students can motivate them to participate in the reflection process. Providing the right activities and asking the right questions can help spark curiosity.

Tip 2: make reflection continuous

Integrate periodic, structured opportunities to reflect on learning. Because critical reflection is a defined way of thinking, students should have sufficient opportunities to give and receive feedback. Various activities can be used to promote reflection, including: writing exercises, problem-solving activities, role-plays, discussions and simulations. Working in groups is also an important activity to stimulate reflection. To be effective, however, the activity must be linked to the learning outcomes of a course or training.

Tip 3: give reflection the right context

To support the integration of learning into courses, it is important to engage students with major questions pertaining to public or community issues that can be addressed outside the classroom. This is where the Brookfield reflection model can make a difference. Reflective activities then encourage students to identify and consider messy, poorly defined problems that do not have a correct answer or approach. This helps mold them to a higher order of thinking and levels of reflection.

Tip 4: model the reflective process

By organizing and modeling the feedback or reflection process by asking the kind of questions that are specific to a discipline. Indicate how a claim is supported with evidence, and explain during the process how the reflection process is modeled. Giving students a rubric also allows them to practice the process.

Tip 5: Encourage evaluation from different perspectives

Being exposed to different perspectives is crucial to the reflective thinking process. This can be achieved through discussions with classmates, lectures, websites, simulations or case studies. They all represent different points of view, and are able to enter into dialogue with others on matters that are crucial. Students can work on this by getting started with collaborative projects.

The usefulness of critical thinking

There is no one who can think critically all the time. Sometimes our thinking is affected by anger, sadness or joy. On the other hand, it is possible to increase current critical thinking capacity by performing certain routine activities on problems of everyday life. This is also the goal of the Brookfield reflection model. Try the following simple exercise.

Exercise critical thinking

Think about something someone recently told you. This could be random news, gossip or story. Then ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who said it?
  • A well-known?
  • Someone with a certain level of authority?
  • Does it matter who told this?
  • What has been said?
  • Have facts been communicated?
  • Or opinions?
  • Has anything been left out in the story?
  • Where was this said?
  • Was it in public?
  • Or private?
  • Has the person in question had the opportunity to respond to it? Or to deny?
  • Why did they say it?
  • Is someone trying to get out of a story well?
  • Has the reasoning behind their opinion been communicated?
  • Have you tried recording it for someone?
  • How is it said?
  • Was the person happy or sad? Angry or Indifferent?
  • Is it written or spoken?
  • Can you understand what was said?

The skills required to think and evaluate critically are varied and include analysis, interpretations, reflections, observations, explanations and problem solving, as well as decision making. In any case, teachers must be able to:

  • To look at a topic or problem in an objective and self-critical way
  • Identify various arguments related to a particular problem
  • Recognize weak or negative points in evidence and arguments
  • Evaluate views to determine how valid it is
  • Provide structured reasoning and support for the argument being made
  • Notice the implications or problems of a statement or argument

The Stephen Brookfield Critical Incident Survey

Each week throughout his teaching career, Brookfield asked students to complete a questionnaire. The answers that are given are a central part of the feedback that a critically reflective teacher receives on a continuous basis. The questionnaire takes approximately five minutes of students’ time to respond to each of the questions below. The questionnaires must be completed anonymously. Therefore, do not have the names written on the paper. At the end of the next lesson, Brookfield discussed the answers with the group. It is important to actively thank the students for their participation. After all, they are one of the most important links to improve in the teaching profession. The questionnaire is therefore a very important part of the Brookfield reflection model.

The questions on the Stephen Brookfield Critical Incident Survey read as follows:

  • At what point in class, or at what class, did you feel most involved in what was happening?
  • At what point in the class, or at what class, did you feel the furthest away from what was being discussed or what was going on?
  • Which action, whether performed by a teacher or a fellow student, did you find most helpful and appropriate?
  • What action, whether performed by a teacher or a fellow student, did you find the most puzzling or confusing?
  • Which part of the curriculum surprised you the most during this week?

Reflective teaching

The subject of Brookfield’s reflection model is reflective teaching. This reflection process is a cycle that must be repeated to become even better at teaching. In short, this reflection process consists of the following steps:

  1. Teaching
  2. Assess effect of teaching on student learning
  3. Consider new methods that can improve quality
  4. Repeat process

Reflection is a systematic assessment process that can be used by all teachers. It is also a fundamental part of the Brookfield reflection model and should be part of every teacher’s toolbox. The reflection model encourages working with others, as others can be relied on for feedback and support. Ultimately, reflection on the part of the teacher ensures that students can learn better and more effectively. Everything is eventually tuned to them.

Now it’s your turn

What do you think? Do you recognize the explanation of the Brookfield reflection model? Is critical reflection applied in the educational system in which you are / were active? Do you think many teachers stick to old teaching methods? And that a radical change is needed in the way teaching is done? Or do you think the old methods are more effective than new and at first glance controversial methods?

Share your knowledge and experience via the comment field at the bottom of this article.

If you found the article useful or practical for your own knowledge, please share it with your network. Thank you so much.


Author: Danny Jibodh

Danny Jibodh is the MainBrain and founder of BLOGZYNERGY.COM. As a multi topic professional blogger, he is keeping his eyes 24/7 on different burning topics as they unfold on the internet. With this concept he and his team are providing people like you with tons of different useful sunrise data to update your brain.

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