Monday, November 15, 2004

Reflection on Reflection-1

For the last half of last week, I attended the annual conference of the Association for Personal Historians, a professional organization "whose members are dedicated to helping others preserve their personal histories and life stories." Here are a few thoughts I wrote in my PDA during the final session:
As I sit here listening to stories from others telling personal histories, I am reflecting on the differences between introspection in counseling and therapy (something I have limited experience) or personal development (something I have extensive experience, especially with my Fielding friends), personal history storytelling (something I am exploring now in APH), and reflection in portfolios (an essential part of my specialized expertise). It occurs to me that the process is essentially the same. What differs is the purpose and the audience. The emotional content of both is unmistakeable, although in academia we tend to ignore it. I think we should honor the affective side of learning, which shows up in our reflections. That is what is so powerful about storytelling - it gets to the level of what is most important in our lives.
Traveling on the long plane ride back to Seattle, I read more of Jennifer Moon's book on Reflection. She highlights four major theoretical roots of reflection: Dewey, Habermas, Kolb & Schön. I also provided the keynote address for the ePortfolio Canada meeting in Montreal on Saturday. Some of the comments made me think about the differences between:
  • learning portfolio and portfolio learning
  • assessment portfolio and portfolio assessment
The first term in each pair refers to product (portfolio is the noun), the second term represents more of the process (portfolio is the adjective). These two pairs remind me of a discussion in Kathleen Blake Yancey's book, Situating Portfolios. Some time in the near future, I will focus on the meaning behind that difference in terminology. In the meantime, I am preparing for a presentation on Reflection in Electronic Portfolios for the University of British Columbia next Friday, which will probably inspire much more reflection, and entries into this blog.

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