Challenges of critical reflection: nothing ventured, nothing gained

Fook, Jan and Askeland, Gurid Aga (2007) Challenges of critical reflection: nothing ventured, nothing gained. Social Work Education. The International Journal, 26, (5), 520-533. (doi:10.1080/02615470601118662).


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This paper arises from the experiences of the authors in providing critical reflection training to social workers and health professionals. It examines the cultural challenges involved in undertaking critical reflection, and how such challenges may contribute to learning. We examine the nature of some of these risks and what might be at stake, and how we as educators might manage these in the interests of better learning. First we discuss the concept of critical reflection and the particular approach we take. We then analyse the nature of some of the risks involved by examining the cultural challenges that are at stake. Lastly we posit some strategies to reduce risk and maximise learning.

We outline three major types of cultural assumptions which are challenged by critical reflection. These include assumptions regarding interpersonal communication and dialogue, professional helping and workplace cultures, and regarding knowledge, learning, research and the place of emotions. The implications of these challenges include: the appropriateness of critical reflection for all types of learners; the need for emotional preparation for the critical reflection process; the need to emphasise the professional learning purposes; the need to clarify the use of self-disclosure; and the need to set up an appropriate alternative cultural environment for the purpose of critical reflection.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1080/02615470601118662
ISSNs: 0261-5479 (print)
Related URLs:
Keywords: critical reflection, critical incident, self disclosure, professional growth, social change, learning from practice, anti-reflective cultures, interpersonal cultures, professional helping cultures, knowledge and learning cultures
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Social Sciences > Social Work Studies
ePrint ID: 51933
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
August 2007Published
Date Deposited: 05 Jun 2008
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 12:30

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