Exploring barriers to reflection and learning – developing a perspective lens

Rix, Jonathan and Paige-Smith, Alice (2011). Exploring barriers to reflection and learning – developing a perspective lens. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, 11(1) pp. 30–41.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1471-3802.2010.01185.x


The need for reflection is widely written about and positioned as a key aspect of continuing professional development. This paper examines the manner in which practitioners are encouraged to be reflective within the English system and the barriers they face. It questions whether such a complex, reaffirming system can allow for genuine critical engagement, how we come to buy into our models of thinking and their impact upon our understanding of learners and their skills. The paper highlights the importance of reflection particularly in relation to issues of inclusion, and explores the challenges using recent ethnographic research with families of young children with a label of Down syndrome. It challenges our focus upon the individual and through a socio-cultural model of development demonstrates the need for practitioners to reflect upon the developing context which we create and out of which we are created.

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