The University of Winchester

Critical Reflection: A panacea or an illusion?

University of Winchester announce the Inaugural Lecture: ‘Critical Reflection: A panaceo or an illusion?’ which will be presented by Prof Graham Ixer, Professor of Social Work and Social Policy on 19th November 2014.

Reflection, reflectivity, reflective practice, reflective praxis and critical reflection are all terms used interchangeably to mean the same thing. Whatever reflection is, we are still no nearer identifying evidence for its existence. However, scholars, practitioners and politicians constantly engage the idea of reflection in new debates about ‘how to do it better’, assuming the ‘it’ is something known and understood. More worryingly in relation to student assessment, academics and professionals assume the idea of reflective practice is a measureable phenomenon. Despite the substantial literature on reflection, it has failed to ask the right question: What is reflection that I might be able to perform it in sufficiently clear ways so that others can measure it? This thought-provoking lecture seeks to present evidence that ‘There is no such thing as reflection’ and that in the absence of empirical research this is likely to remain so; it will conclude with possible ideas for a way forward.

Professor Graham Ixer has had a life time career in public service, mainly in social work. This covers working in social work practice and management, professional education, central government policy and professional regulation. He was responsible for regulating all social work programmes in England. His lead area of research and publication is on the concept of critical reflection. He has also collaborated with many countries on interprofessional education including Japan, USA and Sweden. He enjoys voluntary work and is currently a trustee of Youth Options in Hampshire and a Magistrate in the adult courts in East London.

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