Quality & Quantity

, Volume 52, Supplement 1, pp 247–259 | Cite as

Quality in reflective thinking: elicitation and classification of reflective acts

  • Mustafa Kurt


The concept of reflective thinking needs to be instantiated for more effective educational implementations and practice in the process of thinking and learning. This article therefore expounds on the elicitation and classification of the Reflective Acts derived primarily from various studies conducted on reflective practice, student reflections and metacognition. In order to elicit and classify the Reflective Acts, the study employed three sequential phases of analyses: qualitative meta-analysis, purport analysis and Intention Clustering Method. As a result, 17 types of reflective acts were identified and classified into four main categories: Interpretive, Associative, Transformative and Affective. It is concluded in the article that through the presence and awareness of Reflective Acts, the concept of reflective thinking will be better comprehended, perceived and retained, engendering the process of reflective thinking into a straightforward practice to guide individuals to perform structured, efficacious and successful reflective acts in order to improve the quality of their reflective thinking and learning.


Quality thinking Reflective act Metacognitive learning Reflective thinking Reflection Purport analysis Intention analysis 


  1. Adler, S.: The reflective practitioner and the curriculum of teacher education. J. Educ. Teach. 17(2), 139–150 (1991)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Angelo, T.A.: Ten easy pieces: assessing higher learning in four dimensions. New Dir. Teach. Learn. 46, 17–31 (1991)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Atkins, S., Murphy, K.: Reflection: a review of the literature. J. Adv. Nurs. 18, 1188–1192 (1993)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baird, J.R., White, R.T.: Improving Learning through Enhanced Metacognition A Classroom Study. [Washington, D.C.]: Distributed by ERIC Clearinghouse, (1984). Accessed 17 May 2014
  5. Biggs, J.B., Moore, P.J.: The Process of Learning. Prentice Hall, New York (1993)Google Scholar
  6. Calderhead, J.: Reflective teaching and teacher education. Teach. Teach. Educ. 5(1), 43–51 (1989)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Coulson, D., Harvey, M.: Scaffolding student reflection for experience-based learning: a framework. Teach. High. Educ. 18(4), 401–413 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cutler, B., Cook, P., Young, J.: The empowerment of pre-service teachers through reflective teaching. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the association of teacher educators, St Louis, Feb 1989Google Scholar
  9. Dart, B.C., Clarke, J.A.: Helping students become better learners: a case study in teacher education. High. Educ. 22, 317–335 (1991)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dewey, J.: How we think: a restatement of the relation of reflective thinking to the educative process. D.C. Heath, Boston (1933)Google Scholar
  11. Dolak, G.A.T.: Exploring the use of metacognitive strategies in college teaching: An instrumental multiple case study. Ph.D. Doctoral Dissertation University of Nebraska (2000), Dissertation Abstract (2000). Accessed 22 May 2009
  12. Ertmer, P., Newby, T.: The expert learner: strategic, self-regulated and reflective. Instr. Sci. 24, 1–24 (1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Farrah, H.: The reflective thought process: John Dewey re-visited. J. Creat. Behav. 22(1), 1–8 (1988)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gilson, J.: Reconstructive reflective teaching: a review of the literature. ED 327 481 (1989)Google Scholar
  15. Griggs, V., Holden, R., Rae, J., Lawless, A.: Professional learning in human resource management: problematising the teaching of reflective practice. Stud. Contin. Educ. 37(2), 202–217 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Harvey, M., Baumann, C.: Using student reflections to explore curriculum alignment. Asian Soc. Sci. 8(14), p9 (2012)Google Scholar
  17. Hatton, N., Smith, D.: Reflection in teacher education: towards definition and implementation. Teach. Teach. Educ. 11(1), 33–49 (1995)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hickson, H.: Critical reflection: reflecting on learning to be reflective. Reflective Pract. (2011). doi: 10.1080/14623943.2011.616687 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hmelo, C.E., Ferrari, M.: The problem-based learning tutorial: cultivating higher order thinking skills. J. Educ. Gift. 20(4), 401–422 (1997)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Khan, M.I.: Reflection in initial teacher education: case for a comprehensive framework. FWU J. Soc. Sci. 8(2), 8 (2014)Google Scholar
  21. Kirkpatrick, D., Chalmers, D., Fuller, R.: Changes in students’ approaches to study. In: Herrmann, A., Latchem, C. (eds.) Teaching Learning Forum, pp. 251–265. Teaching Learning Group, Curtin University of Technology, Perth (1993)Google Scholar
  22. Kremer-Hayon, L.: Reflection and professional knowledge—a conceptual framework. ED. 296 971 (1988)Google Scholar
  23. Kurt, M.: Activating metacognition through online learning log (OLL). In: Proceedings of International Educational Technology Conference, IETC2007, vol. 2 (2007)Google Scholar
  24. LaBoskey, V.K.: Development of reflective practice: a study of pre-service teachers. Teachers College Press, New York (1994)Google Scholar
  25. Mariko, S.: Student teachers’ reflective journals on teaching practice experiences. Contemp. PNG Stud. 14, 67–83 (2011)Google Scholar
  26. Markovits, H., Thompson, V.A., Brisson, J.: Metacognition and abstract reasoning. Mem. Cognit. 43(4), 681–693 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. McKay, F.H., Dunn, M.: Student reflections in a first year public health and health promotion unit. Reflective Pract. 16(2), 242–253 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. McNamara, D.: Research on teachers’ thinking: its contribution to educating student teachers to think critically. J. Educ. Teach. 16(2), 147–160 (1990)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Moon, J.: Learning journals: a handbook for academics, students and professional development. Kogan Page, London (1999)Google Scholar
  30. Pintrich, P., et al.: Assessing metacognition and self-regulated learning. In: Schraw, G. (ed.) Metacognitive Assessment. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln (1996)Google Scholar
  31. Pintrich, P.R., Johnson, G.R.: Assessing and improving students’ learning strategies. In: Svinicki, M.D. (ed.) New Directions for Teaching and Learning: The Changing Face of College Teaching, pp. 83–91. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco (1990)Google Scholar
  32. Prinsloo, P., Slade, S., Galpin, F.: A phenomenographic analysis of student reflections in online learning diaries. Open Learn. 26(1), 27–38 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Ramsden, P., Beswick, D., Bowden, J.: Effects of learning skills interventions on first year university students’ learning. Hum. Learn. 5(15), 151–164 (1986)Google Scholar
  34. Robinson, J.: Reflection, return to practice and revalidation. Nurs. Older People 27(6), 31–37 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Sargent, C.S.: Evidence of reflective thinking across the curriculum: college experience versus individual courses. High. Educ. Res. Dev. (2015). doi: 10.1080/07294360.2014.973375 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Sparks-Langer, G., Colton, A.: Synthesis of research on teachers’ reflective thinking. Educ. Leadersh. 48, 37–44 (1991)Google Scholar
  37. Stevens, R.: Role-play and student engagement: reflections from the classroom. Teach. High. Educ. 20(5), 481–492 (2015). doi: 10.1080/13562517.2015.1020778 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Thorpe, K.: Reflective learning journals: from concept to practice. Reflective Pract. (2004). doi: 10.1080/1462394042000270655 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Thorsen, C.A., DeVore, S.: Analyzing reflection on/for action: a new approach. Reflective Pract. 14(1), 88–103 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Volet, S.E.: Modeling and coaching or relevant metacognitive strategies for enhancing university students’ learning. Learn. Instr. 1, 319–336 (1991)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Wach, A.: Promoting pre-service teachers’ reflections through a cross-cultural keypal project. Lang. Learn. Technol. 19(1), 34–45 (2015)Google Scholar
  42. Ward, J. R., McCotter, S. S.: Reflection as a visible outcome for preservice teachers. Teach. Teach. Educ. 20(3), 243–257 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Waxman, H., Freiberg, H., Vaughan, J., Weil, M.: Images of reflection in teacher education. Association of Teacher Educators, Reston (1988)Google Scholar
  44. Weinstein, C.E.: Assessment and training of student learning strategies. In: Schmeck, R.R. (ed.) Learning Strategies and Learning Styles, pp. 291–315. Plenum Press, New York (1988)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Williams, M., Burden, R.L.: Psychology for Language Teachers. CUP, Cambridge (1997)Google Scholar
  46. Williamson, S., Hostetter, C., Byers, K., Huggins, P.: I found myself at this practicum: student reflections on field education. Adv. Soc. Work 11(2), 235–247 (2010)Google Scholar
  47. Wilson, J., Jan, W.L.: Thinking for Themselves: Developing Strategies for Learning. Eleanor Curtain, Armadale (1999)Google Scholar
  48. Wismath, S., Orr, D., Good, B.: Metacognition: student reflections on problem solving. J. Excell. Coll. Teach. 25(2), 69 (2014)Google Scholar
  49. York, C.S., Yamagata-Lynch, L.C., Smaldino, S.E.: Adult reflection in a graduate- level online distance education course. Reflective Pract. 17(1), 40–58 (2016). doi: 10.1080/14623943.2015.1123686 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Youssef, L.S.: Using student reflections in the formative evaluation of instruction: a course-integrated approach. Reflective Pract. 13(2), 237–254 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Zimmerman, B.J., Pons, M.M.: Development of a structured interview for assessing student use of self-regulated learning strategies. Am. Educ. Res. J. 23, 614–628 (1986)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Near East UniversityNicosia, Mersin 10Turkey

Personalised recommendations