Reflection and Reflexivity: What and Why
Category : Learning Notes
Date : 26th February 2018



What are reflection and reflexivity, and why are they important? To put it briefly, they are a process allowing us to learn from our experiences.


This week, I finally finished reading the key reading given by the course tutor, ‘Reflective Practice: An Introduction’ from ‘Reflection and Reflexivity: What and Why’. There are some useful methods for reflection practice introduced in the paper, such as ‘through-the-mirror’, ‘mindfulness’, and ‘co-operative enquiry method’, which I found are regarding education. To be honest, I still not understand the whole key reading, and I am confused with the difference between ‘reflection’ and ‘reflexivity’ since I could not find a better Chinese translation of these two words. They are too similar to me. Both of them have the same meaning in Chinese, namely ‘反思’, which means to rethink about the things we have read, learnt, and experienced. By the process of this, we could learn more about from the experiences. As there is a say in the reading, “The more you know, the more you know you do not know.” This quote could totally reflect on the research process of my major project. Because I was not a BA in fashion but a fashion industry lover, I found out that I know nothing about fashion industry since I started to know something about fashion.


(Some reading notes)


In order to compare ‘reflection’ and ‘reflexivity’, I watched a short YouTube video talking about reflexive and reflective learning. After watching, I realized that this is a programme that could help people in whatever industry to think critically and evaluate and deliver the best learning experience to their audience. Two definitions were concluded by the video, listed below:

  • Reflective Practitioner: Someone who examines their actions and solicits feedback to continually improve the learning experience.
  • Reflexive Practitioner: Someone who examines their own attitudes and assumptions that shape their teaching methods, again to continually improve the learning experience.



Again, in order to dig deeper into the definitions, I researched some simple elaborations made by people and found one that satisfied me the most. In his/ her understanding, being reflective is examining what happened after an action/ behaviour and being reflexive is examining the situation before they react.




After figuring out the two words, I suddenly remembered that I had helped my professor to organise some educational materials for reflection teaching when I was a research assistant. I did not understand the importance of reflection at that time, but now, after reviewing the slides and papers from the SEE (Symposium for Entrepreneurship Educators) Asia programme in Babson College, I started to figure out more about reflection. According to Heidi M. Neck’s teaching materials, reflection is a meaningful process by which intelligence is evolved from experience. People take the experiences which have happened into account, trying to understand and elaborate it, which would usually result in some insights and deep understanding and the ideas to apply to the new experiences. Reflection is notably important for those who work in a circumstance with high uncertainty of problem-solving, and that is why it is important for the education of entrepreneurship. Furthermore, in my point of view, reflection also plays an important role when we are ready to dig into our major project. It is a process that could help us in-depth learning instead of surface learning, which was one of my main problems with my major project.


Brockbank and McGill (2007, pp 126-127) adapted by Neck, Greene and Brush (2014) propose six different types of reflection which could be used both after and during experiences in order to gain an in-depth learning to entrepreneurship education from a practice-based, action-oriented approach:

  1. Narrative Reflection: Describe what happened.
  2. Emotional Reflection: Focus on what you were feeling, why, and how the emotions were managed.
  3. Percipient Reflection: Think about the perceptions (your and others) and how it affected the experience.
  4. Analytical Reflection: Explain the processes or important elements of the events, how they connected or related.
  5. Evaluative Reflection: Assess the experience and identify the criteria using for the evaluation.
  6. Critical Reflection: Considering the experience and approach, identify alternatives or contradictions as well as reflecting on what was learned about yourself in the process.

Each type of the reflection has the different level of difficulty and also the depth of learning. Critical reflection, for instance, is more difficult than narrative reflection but offers a deeper learning experience.


In conclusion, reflection is a process that we learn from our experiences and build the know-how, helping us to learn from the surface into a deeper side of knowledge. It is effective for everyone to learn six different types of reflection. For researchers, reflection could help them dig deeper into the research area; For entrepreneurs, reflection offers them opportunity recognition and venture success by self-understanding; For people, reflection could be a daily practice that could help us deal with our work, life, and relationships; Finally, for me, I have indeed gained in-depth learning by writing this blog and reviewing the experiences as a reflection.



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