Reflection for learning: teaching reflective practice at the beginning of university study
Reflective practice is a key skill in many professions and is considered an essential attribute of healthcare practitioners. Healthcare students are often expected to develop reflection skills through their assignments, and this is frequently expected to occur with little explicit instruction, practice or guidance about how to reflect. Currently, there is limited guidance in the literature on how teachers can help students develop these reflective skills effectively. In this study, we describe a process for embedding reflective skills into a transition program for new healthcare students about to enter university. By allowing students to explore reflection through a method of self-discovery supported by peer discussion, we found that students were likely to recognise and value reflection as a learning tool (a concept we term “reflection for learning”). Additionally, these students were more likely to continue to practice reflection in their studies than students who had not participated in the training. In summary, this paper demonstrates that students are able to make meaningful deductions about reflective practice and their own learning through use of a basic framework in which to self-reflect, from the very start of their tertiary studies.