Reflection on Reflection on Reflection: Collaboration in Action Research

Dec. 01, 2011

Source: Educational Action Research, Vol. 19, No. 4, December 2011, 469–487.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This article describes a multi-layered series of reflection processes.
These processes were developed when the two authors,a university lecturer and a local schoolteacher, worked in a collaborative action research project.
The project focused on National Curriculum ‘Personal, Learning and Thinking Skills’ (PLTS) in England and especially the ‘reflective learner’ skill set.

Reflection on reflection
The authors were stimulated by the suggestion that pupils should also be engaged in reflecting on the process (Casey, Dyson, and Campbell 2009; Taggart and Wilson 2005).
The authors formulated a plan to ask the pupils what they thought about the reflection tasks that they had been engaged in.

Then, a class of 20 Year Nine girls were engaged in learning activities to develop their skills as reflective learners.

The second reflective process was asking the pupils to reflect on their experiences of these learning activities.

Reflection on reflection on reflection
In addition to the reflections of the pupils on their work as reflective learners, the authors were engaged in reflection conversations about the whole action research process.
Regular meetings were held during the project and lively discussions developed their collaboration.
Over time the authors' reflections developed as the they engaged in complex discussions.


The authors conclude that they have identified that key characteristics were collaboration discussions, stimulation from action research literature and the crucial role of the practitioner in developing knowledge.
The authors also found that the most productive reflection times were when they met together to discuss and reflect.

Finally, part of the effectiveness of the collaborative conversations was the variety of skills and knowledges that the two authors brought to the discussions.
The main contribution of the lecturer was a knowledge of the literature.
In addition, the main contribution of the schoolteacher was a knowledge of the context and a range of pedagogical ideas.

Casey, A., B. Dyson, and A. Campbell. 2009. Action research in physical education: Focusing beyond myself through cooperative learning. Educational Action Research 17, no. 3:407–23.

Taggart, G.L., and A.P. Wilson. 2005. Promoting reflective thinking in teachers. 2nd ed. London: Corwin Press.

Updated: Dec. 25, 2012