Happy Hallowe’en

Happy Hallowe’en

Originally uploaded by nfujita.

Lately, I’ve been reviewing literature on reflection. Since many authors acknowledge Dewey (1910/1997) as the key originator in the 20th century of the concept of reflection, I picked up a copy of How We Think.

Like his other texts, this one is full of wonderful quotes. Dewey defines reflective thought as “active, persistent, and careful consideration of any belief or supposed form of knowledge in light of the grounds that support it, and the further conclusions to which it tends” (p. 6). Reflection involves not simply a sequence of ideas, but a “consequence” or consecutive ordering where successive portions of reflective thought grow out of one another and support one another. Thus, “the stream or flow [of reflective thoughts] becomes a train, chain, or thread” (p. 3). I like Dewey’s conceptualization of reflection because the imagery suggests progression, and I’m interested in how this develops online.

He explains that reflection involves two subprocesses which are involved in every reflective operation: (a) a state of perplexity, hesitation, doubt; and (b) an act of search or investigation directed toward bringing to light further facts which serve to corroborate or to nullify the suggested belief:

Reflective thinking is always more or less troublesome because it involves overcoming the inertia that inclines one to accept suggestions at their face value; it involves willingness to endure a condition of mental unrest and disturbance. Reflective thinking, in short, means judgment suspended during further inquiry; and suspense is likely to be somewhat painful”

Now, doesn’t that sound like what it means to be a graduate student? Finding a problem to investigate, posing a research question or questions, and enduring much pain trying to make sense of your data (which is so personal and therefore harder to analyze) to answer those questions or find a solution to the problem!

Dewey, J. (1910/1997).How we think. Boston: Dover.


One response to “Happy Hallowe’en”

  1. Cute pug-kin!

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