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Reflective writing: Brookfield

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“The critically reflective process happens when teachers discover and examine their assumptions”


Brookfield's four lenses

Brookfield (2005) suggests two distinct purposes for reflection within teaching and learning. Firstly to reach a better understanding of how power underpins and distorts educational processes and secondly to question assumptions and practices that appear to make our lives look easier on the surface but in the long-term detract from our best interests.

This is based on the assumption that if teachers are more reflective then they are better placed to make reliable judgments about approaches to teaching practice, evaluation, curriculum planning and purposeful responses to learners’ issues.

“The critically reflective process happens when teachers discover and examine their assumptions by viewing their practice through four distinct, though interconnecting lenses’ (Brookfield, 2005 p xiii).

  • Lens of their own autobiography as teachers and learners
  • Lens of students' eyes
  • Lens of colleagues experiences
  • Lens of educational literature

In order to provide you with some concrete examples of how these lenses could be used to examine assumptions, there are short digital stories included in the pages for the first three lenses.

For you to talk about reflective practice, and to share your own links and resources, there is also:

  • a discussion forum
  • additional resources on reflective practice


Four Quadrants. Top Left = Self & autobiographical; Top Right = Students, Patients, Subjects; Bottom Left = Peers & Colleagues; Bottom Right = Scholarship & theoretical