Critical Reflection and Community Education Values
Two UK based practitioners; Dr Rob Bray and Graham MacLellan have been developing a range of tools designed to support practitioner Critical Reflection in a small local government Community Education department. The underpinning ethos of the tools is using the Community Education values to critically reflect on practice. The development of the tools has been a process involving two key elements; toolkit creation and research article creation. The toolkit is currently awaiting publication and is in the final stages. The research article has been published via the CONCEPT journal and the abstract and link are shown below.
CRITICAL REFLECTION AND COMMUNITY EDUCATION VALUES - ABSTRACT
While Reflective Practice is widely regarded as an essential but orthodox part of Community Education, Critical Reflection is a more radical, transformative process that questions fundamental assumptions (Fook, 2015). It is, by its nature, difficult to implement within organisational cultures dominated by a narrow managerialism. Within a Community Education department, we introduced a number of initiatives, over the course of a year, to enhance such Critical Reflection. We report here on the process and its outcomes. First, we discuss the central role that Critical Reflection can have in informing decision-making and individual professional development. We go on to outline the pressures on Community Education professionals who work within organisational cultures increasingly driven by a neo-liberal agenda, the managerialist imperatives of which undermine both the principles and practices of Critical Reflection. We then describe the process of introducing Critical Reflection into team processes using Reflective Circles and our evaluation of it, focusing on the use of Community Learning and Development (CLD) values to frame discussions. Finally, we draw some conclusions and outline the questions that this work poses.