Critical reflection in educational practice

Whitehead, Jack ORCID logo ORCID: (2022) Critical reflection in educational practice. In: Network for Educational Action Research in Ireland Spring NEARIMeet, 2 April 2022, Online. (Unpublished)

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This presentation builds on the NEARIMeet of the 29th January 2022 (see the notes at ) with its theme of Transforming Practices. Stephen Kemmis provided the keynote with ideas from his book on ‘Transforming Practices’ (Kemmis, 2022). I shall explore the implications of including ‘educational’ in Critical and Creative Reflection in Educational Practice for members of NEARI. Whilst working from a different educational perspective to that offered by Kemmis’, I do agree with Kemmis’ idea that: Once education systems and the work of schools are conceptualised principally in systems terms, their essential lifeworld character, their grounding in the everyday life of people’s lifeworld is obscured and then ignored… Obscuring and ignoring these lifeworld processes, many PEP (Pedagogy, Action and Praxis) researchers argue, is to obscure and ignore the very substance of the process of education. Neoliberal approaches to educational systems management throw the baby of education out with the bathwater. (p.28)

My different ‘educational’ perspective, is focused on the generation and sharing of livingeducational-theories with values of human flourishing as explanatory principles in explanations of educational influences in learning and as embodied, evaluative standards of judgment. A living-educational-theory is an individual’s explanation of their educational influences in their own learning, in the learning of others and in the learning of the social formations within which the practice is located (Whitehead, 1989). Such explanations help individuals to answer questions of the kind, ‘How do you know that your practice has improved?’ and ‘what standards of judgement do you use to justify a claim that your practice has improved?’. This perspective is related to Ciara O’Brien’s account, to the NEARIMeet of the 29th January 2022, in her research into her practice and the solutions that emerged as she spoke about ‘Finding the way with Critical Reflection’.

My focus on critical reflection in educational practice can also be understood as a response to the recent publication in Irish Educational Studies on ‘Exploring trans-generational and trans-institutional learning: educational action research possibilities in a virtual environment’ by Bernie Sullivan, Caitriona McDonagh, Cornelia Connolly, Máirín Glenn &- Mary Roche (2022): We explain the generation of a living-educational-theory from the research community, which was convened by the authors. We have created both a face-toface and an online professional development community of action researchers… The original contribution of this paper is the creation of an open and shared learning community to support action research practitioners in their processes of accessing, collaborating in and undertaking research. The significance of our paper is in the emergence of socially constructed knowledge in a fluid and flexible space that is underpinned by our lived values of inclusion and respect. (Sullivan et al., 2022, p.1)

I shall draw your attention to original contributions to educational knowledge from Living Educational Theory Research from Maynooth University in the Republic of Ireland and North West University in South Africa. I shall then suggest ways in which a critical reflection on these original contributions could provide a creative response in the generation of more original contributions to educational knowledge by participates in NEARI.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Related URL(s):
Departments: Professional Services > Vice Chancellor's Office
Additional Information: Professor Jack Whitehead (the originator of Living Educational Theory research), Visiting Professor at the University of Cumbria, was the invited guest speaker at this NEARIMeet.
Depositing User: Anna Lupton
Date Deposited: 17 Jan 2023 10:50
Last Modified: 13 Jan 2024 13:16


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