The 3 levels of reflection
The three levels of reflection can serve as a guide for evaluating students' reflection (Bradley, 1995). A description of each level is matched with students' fictional class comments and ways an instructor invites the student to delve more deeply into reflection. The following example draws from a course about learning disabilities in which students serve at a day program that provides education and rehabilitation services.
- Gives examples of observed behaviors or characteristics of the client or setting, but provides no insight into reasons behind the observation; observations tend to be one dimensional and conventional or unassimilated repetitions of what has been heard in class or from peers.
- Tends to focus on just one aspect of the situation.
- Uses supported personal beliefs as frequently as "hard" evidence.
- May acknowledge differences of perspective but does not discriminate effectively among them.
- Observations are fairly thorough and nuanced although they tend not to be placed in a broader context.
- Provides a cogent critique from one perspective, but fails to see the broader system in which the aspect is embedded and other factors which may make change difficult.
- Uses unsupported personal beliefs and evidence but is beginning to be able to differentiate between them.
- Perceives legitimate differences of viewpoint.
- Demonstrates a beginning ability to interpret evidence.
- Views things from multiple perspectives; able to observe multiple aspects of the situation and place them in context.
- Perceives conflicting goals within and among the individuals involved in a situation and recognizes that the differences can be evaluated.
- Recognizes that actions must be situation-ally dependent and understands many of the factors which affect their choice.
- Makes appropriate judgments based on reasoning and evidence.
- Has reasonable assessment of the importance of the decisions facing clients and of his or her responsibility as a part of clients' lives.
In addition to understanding the elements of reflection and evaluation, it may be useful to take a step back and consider the unique experience of the student-where he/she is with his/her educational and moral development.