One Word Reflections

Some questions that I have been considering:

How do we begin reflection work in Higher Arts Education? Or rather, what do we mean by reflection work in Higher Arts Education? How do we guide students in the process of reflection? How do we clarify the difference between the documentation of work and the reflection of practice?

Recently I devised and co-delivered a 5 credit Introduction to Orff Schulwerk module for a small group of First Year students. I tried to incorporate the sharing of reflections into each session. I found it useful to begin this process by asking for ‘one word reflections’ around the circle. Reflections describing our work and the experience of working together included words like:

“relaxing, improvisation, patterns, fun, possibilities…..”

Thinking about this now, it is interesting to note that even ‘one word reflections’ fall into different response categories. Some acknowledge social and emotional wellbeing (“relaxing, fun”); some are descriptive of the activity in question (“improvisation, patterns”) and some look to the creative potential of the work (“possibilities”).

When reflecting on my own creative practice, I find myself shifting between different dynamics, which may be described as social, emotional, creative, cognitive, kinaesthetic, musical…..

Are we naturally drawn to reflect on one dynamic before we consider others? As a starting point, I found that ‘one word reflections’ led to rich discussions between the group that flowed naturally. In reflective discussions with students, I feel that it is important that all reflections are valued and there should be no hierarchy for responses. I am aware that students often feel afraid to say the wrong thing during reflection work and I think that this is something that needs to be thoughtfully addressed by the tutor.

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