Critical Reflection as an Adult Learning Process

  • Stephen Brookfield


Critical reflection calls into question the power relationships that allow, or promote, one set of practices considered to be technically effective. It assumes that the minutiae of practice have embedded within them the struggles between unequal interests and groups that exist in the wider world. For reflection to be considered critical, it must have as its explicit focus uncovering, and challenging, the power dynamics that frame practice and uncovering and challenging hegemonic assumptions (those assumptions we embrace as being in our best interests when in fact they are working against us). When adults learn to be critically reflective, they experience distinctive emotional rhythms – impostorship, cultural suicide, roadrunning, lost innocence and community. Nelson Mandela’s work as an ANC leader is used as an example of critical reflection.


Critical reflection Adult learning Power Hegemony 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of St. ThomasSaint PaulUSA

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