I’ll be giving at talk at the Society for Research into Higher Education conference on Wednesday 9 December called Reflective practices as masks: a new way to think about reflection in higher education
Summary: This paper discusses ongoing research into how students and teachers negotiate issues of identity, authenticity, ownership, privacy and performativity in high-stakes online reflection in higher education. I define high-stakes reflection as reflection which is summatively assessed or has a gatekeeping function into a profession, and use a metaphor of the mask to draw out different aspects of high-stakes reflection online: performance, disguise, protection, transformation, discipline and trace. Conceiving of online reflective practices in these mutiple and overlapping ways has implications for how educators understand and support reflection, and the expectations we place on our students in terms of what high-stakes reflective writing can and should accomplish. These practices should support development of academic or professional identity and voice through explicit engagement with matters of authenticity, power, narrative, subjectivity and agency – not through a discourse which frames the recording and improvement of the “true self” as the ultimate goal of reflective practice.
I’ll be giving a longer talk on similar themes at the University of Glasgow’s Learning and Teaching Centre’s seminar series, on Wednesday 13 January 2010. I will have time at this second event to share more of the data that’s emerging from my PhD research.
I’ve been thinking about the masks for a while, and I’m now starting to draw some conclusions about what I think that thinking about reflective practices in this way might imply for teaching and learning. Both of these talks will represent the cutting edge of my ongoing doctoral research looking at online reflective practices in Higher Education!