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Developing Reflective Exercises 
for your STEP Forward Activity
What do we mean by reflection? 
The meaning of this term varies across the 
different disciplines and professions, and 
ac...
As a learning tool, reflection is used to: 
• Deepen understanding and application of 
academic concepts and material. 
• ...
• Explore social justice implications of 
experience and knowledge by examining 
assumptions and implicit power relations....
Activities should take into account: 
• The nature of the experiences on which 
students are reflecting 
• Students’ cogni...
How does reflection work in 
STEP activities?
Reflection in STEP Activities 
Through reflection on their experience, students 
identify their learning, make meaningful ...
Reflection in STEP Activities 
Connect 
Academic, Personal, 
and Professional 
Experience 
Reflect 
Emotions and 
Thoughts...
Through STEP reflective exercises, 
students will: 
• Connect knowledge and understanding 
across academic, personal, and ...
Designing your reflective exercise
General tips 
• Start simply. Build your exercise as you 
become more familiar with what works and 
what doesn’t in your s...
Guidelines for designing STEP 
reflective exercises 
Please download the STEP Forward – 
Designing your reflective exercis...
Time frame of reflection exercises 
One option is to have a single reflective exercise 
at a designated time in your STEP ...
Developmental reflective practice 
If you plan staged reflective exercises, consider how 
each component of the reflective...
Concluding thoughts
Your own reflection 
For one minute, write some keywords or brief 
notes to the following questions: 
• What aspects of cr...
For further information or discussion 
Contact Linzi Manicom 
(linzi.manicom@utoronto.ca) for support for or 
feedback on ...
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Developing Reflective Exercises for your STEP Forward Activity

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Resources and recommendations for developing reflective exercises for your STEP Forward activity

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Developing Reflective Exercises for your STEP Forward Activity

  1. 1. Developing Reflective Exercises for your STEP Forward Activity
  2. 2. What do we mean by reflection? The meaning of this term varies across the different disciplines and professions, and according to its theoretical framing. The following definition captures key elements: “those intellectual and affective activities in which individuals engage to explore their experiences in order to lead to new understandings and appreciation” 1 Boud, D., Keogh, R., & Walker, D. (2013). Promoting reflection in learning: A model. In R. Edwards, A. Hanson, & P. Raggatt (Eds.), Boundaries of adult learning (pp. 32-56). New York: Routledge.
  3. 3. As a learning tool, reflection is used to: • Deepen understanding and application of academic concepts and material. • Develop intellectual and analytic skills, including critical thinking and active, effective learning. • Integrate learner’s current learning with past knowledge and experience. • Improve academic and other professional skills and practice.
  4. 4. • Explore social justice implications of experience and knowledge by examining assumptions and implicit power relations. • Promote self-authorship, “the capacity to internally define one’s beliefs, identity and social relations.” 2 • Support personal, academic, and professional development planning. 2. Baxter Magolda, M. B. (2001). Making their own way: Narratives for transforming higher education to promote self-development. Sterling, VA: Stylus.
  5. 5. Activities should take into account: • The nature of the experiences on which students are reflecting • Students’ cognitive and metacognitive development (see link for more information) • The context in which the reflection takes place • Learning goals for the reflection
  6. 6. How does reflection work in STEP activities?
  7. 7. Reflection in STEP Activities Through reflection on their experience, students identify their learning, make meaningful connections among different domains of knowledge and experience, and identify next steps or plans for the future.
  8. 8. Reflection in STEP Activities Connect Academic, Personal, and Professional Experience Reflect Emotions and Thoughts Project Develop Theory & Make Plans
  9. 9. Through STEP reflective exercises, students will: • Connect knowledge and understanding across academic, personal, and professional spheres. • Reflect on learning experiences, interests, and goals within and between each sphere. • Project goals onto short-and long-term plans that integrate personal values with academic knowledge and professional skills.
  10. 10. Designing your reflective exercise
  11. 11. General tips • Start simply. Build your exercise as you become more familiar with what works and what doesn’t in your specific context. • Enable collective inspiration. Work with others in designing and revising exercises. • Engage in and model reflection in how you approach the design and lay it out for students. • If using exercises from the web, revise them to fit your particular culture and context.
  12. 12. Guidelines for designing STEP reflective exercises Please download the STEP Forward – Designing your reflective exercise PDF for prompts and resources to help you develop a specific activity plan.
  13. 13. Time frame of reflection exercises One option is to have a single reflective exercise at a designated time in your STEP activity. An alternative is to provide a few sequenced opportunities for reflection throughout your activity. These include, most commonly: • Pre-activity (to surface prior knowledge and generate shared content for the participants). • Mid-session (to re-focus and re-engage participants, and to remind them of or revisit learning goals) • End-session (to articulate learning, identify take-away messages, and set goals)
  14. 14. Developmental reflective practice If you plan staged reflective exercises, consider how each component of the reflective exercise corresponds to and supports your overall goals for student learning and reflection in your STEP activity. In encouraging students to adopt a reflective approach to their learning, developmental reflective exercises allow students to practice the ongoing, iterative reflection that can become a life-long skill.
  15. 15. Concluding thoughts
  16. 16. Your own reflection For one minute, write some keywords or brief notes to the following questions: • What aspects of creating a reflective activity did you find most valuable or interesting? • What was confusing or difficult to conceive in relation to your own context? • What questions or concerns do you have that you want to think more about or discuss with others?
  17. 17. For further information or discussion Contact Linzi Manicom (linzi.manicom@utoronto.ca) for support for or feedback on your draft STEP reflective exercises.

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