BEd211 Reading 8

Topics: Organizational learning, Knowledge, Reflective practice Pages: 17 (5759 words) Published: February 2, 2015
Reading 8
Appleby, K., & Andrews, M. (2012). Reflective practice is the key to quality improvement. In M. Reed & N. Canning (Eds.), Implementing quality improvement and change in the early years (pp. 57-72). London, UK: Sage.

Karen Appleby and Mandy Andrews

Chapter overview
This chapter explores reflective practice in relation to quality improvement. We argue that the process of improving quality is best served by practitioners who apply key principles of reflective practice but also have the capacity to consider and understand their own reflective activity. This perspective has a value base that champions the role of individuals in effecting change and improvement. Reflective practice is explained and considered as a complex, multi-faceted process which in its most effective form is personalised and owned by practitioners. We argue against seeing reflective practice as an externally acquired or applied model of thinking and action, preferring to consider it as a personalised 'way of being' that values individual professional identity and qualities. A 'weave' of practice is central to this chapter, which represents complex interrelationships between professional

qualities and the external influences for quality improvement and change. The 'weave' is presented and explained as both an illustration and a way of supporting reflexive self-awareness, understanding and ownership of the reflective process.

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Attention is also given to the potential of intuitive, creative JI{
and playful ways of being and the relevance of reflective
collaboration with others.

57

58

IMPLEMENTING QUALITY IMPROVEMENT AND CHANGE IN THE EARLY YEARS

Quality improvement and the role of the individual
We view quality improvement as an ongoing process that is
supported by external standards or frameworks rather than being driven by them. We could see quality as a 'checklist' of performance but this would be contrary to our belief in the agency of individuals and their potential for 'creating possibilities rather than pursuing predefined goals' (Fortunati, 2006: 37). Individual potential is further supported by Brooker and Edwards (2010), who argue for a move towards a culture that nurtures an individual's capacity to act as a free and thoughtful agent with a commitment to improving his or her world. In a context where 'qua lity' is perceived as being assessed by external forces, practitioners can sometimes find it difficult to stand up for what they value and to act as 'free agents'. This perceived lack of freedom can lead to a feeling of disempowerment, which can translate into a negative effect on commitment to quality improvement and change.

Table 4.1 Defining reflective practice
Terminology

Description

Reflective practice

A practitioner's personal engagement with reflective
activity. This activity is perceived as a 'way of being'
which includes:
• reflective thinking/reflection (both cognitive and
affective)
• reflective learning
• reflective action

Reflective thinking/
reflection

Includes self-aware, creative and critical thinking
informed by evidence. It involves both reflection (holding
the mirror up to the world: seeing things from a new
perspective) and reflexivity (holding up the mirror to self: questioning oneself to gain greater personal awareness
and understanding)

Cognitive activities

Logical successive thinking processes

Affective activities

Actions taken to understand emotions and emotional
responses

Reflective learning

Insight gained from reflective thinking

Reflective action

The act of applying what has been learnt through
reflective thinking

REFLECTIVE PRACTICE IS THE KEY TO QUALITY IMPROVEMENT

59

It is possible, however, for practitioners to act as a 'thoughtful agents' within a framework of professional situations, even when those situations are triggered by external forces. This involves creating the opportunity, space and time needed to...

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