Reflection and Adult Development Theory

Stevens, D. D., & Cooper, J. E. (2009). Journal keeping: How to use reflective writing for learning, teaching, professional insight, and positive change. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing, LLC.

Chapter 3: Reflection and Adult Developmental Theory

·      The Role of Journal Writing in Adult Development

o   "By development we mean a progression from a simpler or lower stage to a more mature, complex, or advanced stage (p. 34)."

o   "Adults actively construct their own reality. One sign of development is a growing ability to reflect on experience and to construct a new kind of self that better responds to and meets the demands of adulthood (p. 34)."

o   Relate to CPED: "The voices of others recede as adults begin to identify their own feelings, desires, and thoughts (p. 34)."

o   Journals are tools for fostering self-conversations, which contribute to growth and development.

o   "In light of Baxter Magolda's (1999) learning-centered practice, journal writing can make concrete what the writer already knows, as well as generate new ideas. In a journal, writers can mine their own experiences to learn more. By voluntarily sharing journal entries or even writing dialogues with the self or imagined others, the writer is co-constructing meaning (p. 37)."

·      Furthering Critical Reflection and Transformational Learning

o   "If transformational learning involves the reconstruction of narratives (explanations of the world, points of view or habits of mind), then the journal, as a repository of these narratives, becomes a natural support for reflection and transformational learning (p. 38)."

o   "Students must have the freedom and safety to respond honestly and openly in their journals to identify their assumptions and question the power dynamics in their lives (p. 40)."

·      Fostering Personal Growth and Development

o   "Whether we are students reflecting on our lives and our learning, faculty sorting through a research agenda, or administrators planning a new program, our stories creep into our writings, coloring the way we live our lives (p. 41)."

o   "The journal is a depository for the stories of adult lives, for successive layers of those stories that can lead to new insights, and for the rethinking of operating assumptions that can energize personal growth and development (p. 42)."

·      Conclusion

o   "Faculty members who use journals to examine long-held assumptions about the meaning of their work and to rethink those assumptions are also involved in transformational learning. Critical reflection is the tool adults use to root out and examine their daily operating assumptions and to rethink the efficacy of those assumptions as they move through adulthood (p. 43)."