June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
Educational Research and Methods
13.1099.1 - 13.1099.9
Stimulating and Developing Reflective Thinking In Undergraduate Students Special Session, ASEE ERM, June 2008
Abstract – One of the most important goals of higher education is to teach students how to develop original solutions to complex problems, and to remain open to revising their decisions based upon future good evidence. The ability to do this has been referred to by researchers such as King and Kitchener1 as Reflective Judgment or Reflective Thinking. At Illinois Institute of Technology, a midsize, private Midwestern university, we are attempting to give the students on our undergraduate, multidisciplinary project teams a stronger base in good decision-making skills through the development of Reflective Thinking. During the Fall 2006 and Spring 2007 semesters, a subset of these students (N = 96 and 102, respectively) completed 3 written assignments per semester that each contained one or two Reflective Thinking questions. Responses to these questions were coded into 3 levels of Reflective Thinking based on the Reflective Judgment Model (RJM) developed by King and Kitchener.1 We also introduced several interventions during the Spring 2007 semester that were intended to promote Reflective Thinking in our students, and comparisons between Reflective Thinking scores from the Fall 2006 and Spring 2007 semesters suggest that these interventions may have made a difference, although the difference was statistically significant only for the third Reflection, for which there was an average Reflective Thinking level of 1.26 for the Fall of 2006, compared to an average Reflective Thinking level of 1.73 for Spring 2007 (p < .01). Possible factors contributing to the observed differences, as well as other implications of the results and directions for future changes, are discussed.
In higher education, one common, all-encompassing goal is to teach students the skills they will need to make good decisions in the real world. However, it is often unclear to educators whether they are meeting this goal for their students or not.
In line with this goal, King and Kitchener1 have defined and studied the concept of Reflective Judgment, which we refer to here by using the equivalent term “Reflective Thinking.” Reflective Thinking is defined as the ability to make good decisions about ill-structured problems, or problems that do not have simple, clear right answers. This is clearly a crucial skill, as many of the problems that students will encounter in the real world will indeed be ill-structured.
King and Kitchener 1 developed the Reflective Judgment Model (RJM), a seven-stage framework describing the development of Reflective Thinking. These seven stages were also grouped into three broader categories: pre-reflective thinking, quasi-reflective thinking, and reflective thinking. Within this framework, pre-reflective thinking generally reflects a belief that all problems are well-structured, and that the “correct” answer to every problem can be obtained from experts or authority figures. Quasi-reflective thinking reflects some advancement away from this belief and the beginning of the ability to recognize that some problems are ill- structured and that collecting and evaluating evidence is a part of the knowing process. Still, when confronted with an ill-structured problem, quasi-reflective thinkers tend to either claim that
Howard, E., & Ferguson, D., & Huyck, M. (2008, June), Stimulating And Developing Reflective Thinking In Undergraduate Students Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. https://peer.asee.org/3845
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