Making sense of it all: a journey into the reflections of Outdoor/Adventure undergraduates during a yearlong placement

Halsey, Frances (2016) Making sense of it all: a journey into the reflections of Outdoor/Adventure undergraduates during a yearlong placement. Undergraduate thesis, University of Chichester.

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Expedition, field notes, journals, diaries are commonly used in the outdoors as a tool for reflective learning; nevertheless there is limited and inconclusive research in this field. Research in medicine, nursing and business point towards the benefit of journal writing as a stepping-stone to higher order thinking and critical reflection, enhancing student’s ability to develop links between theories and practical experiences. However despite these potential benefits, both the task itself and assessment methods used for reflective writing are fraught with controversy. Many studies report worryingly low levels of reflection ability within students’ work, and possible explanations range from poor implementation; unreliable assessment methods; to individuals differences such as gender and experience. This study utilised the dairy and reflective account sections of 10 Adventure Education undergraduates’ portfolios, taking a different approach to reflective assessment by merging formative and summative frameworks to provide a valuable and unique break down of reflection. Wald et al’s (2012) REFLECT rubric was utilised as a formative framework to gather specific detail on levels of reflection. Kember et al’s (2008) four-stage method was then employed as a summative assessment to assess and grade the overall quality of reflection present in the portfolios. The findings of this study revealed that the current portfolio, without pervious workshops or reflective introductions, was able to promote high levels of reflection within the students’ writing. The REFLECT revealed that students used and explained their emotions more reflectively in the reflective account. Furthermore conflict experiences were predominantly used as an avenue for reflection. The summative framework (Kember et al, 2008) revealed that the reflective account prompted higher levels of reflection than the diary. The diary entries achieve 40% levels of reflection or higher, and 80% in the reflective account. This study found no difference in reflection levels, quality or ability between genders, with both males and females able to achieve levels of critical reflection, transformative or confirmatory learning. Furthermore this study found no indication that outdoor and adventure experiences prompted higher levels of reflection, with many students omitting these themes in their writing preferring to reflect on their teaching experiences. In regards to implementation this study recommends, 1) a pre introduction workshop, 2) provide students with a framework to aid reflection, and finally 3) utilising the REFLECT framework to provide post feedback to identify reflective strengths and weakness to aid future reflective writing development.

Item Type: Thesis (Undergraduate)
Additional Information: BA (Hons) Adventure Education
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Divisions: Departments > Adventure Education
Undergraduate Dissertations
Depositing User: Ann Jones
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2017 11:06
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2017 11:06

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