Reflexion vs Reflection

I’m not sure I trust ‘instinct’, I tend to think it’s a very fast thought…however in figuring out what I think about my practice, the ‘feel’ often comes before the ‘thought’.  Sometimes months before (I’m a slow thinker).

I have felt for some time that the definition of being reflexive could be summarised in the question “Why do I do what I do?” and that at its heart was a connection with values work.  But being asked to define ‘reflexion‘ as opposed to ‘reflection‘ got me doing the goldfish mouth.

A Twitter exchange (is there a word for that?  Tweetfest?) with @RevJSmallwood today (thanks, Rev) brought the lightbulb moment:

Reflection = I did this, this happened, I’ll do this next.

Reflexion = I did this because (this is how my values played out, that theory held true), this happened, I’ll do this next.

Reflexion goes to places reflection can’t, because once you’ve figured out what’s happened on a meaningful level (eg equality is an important value to me), you won’t do it again.  You know why you did what you did and you won’t go round the same loop twice.  You avoid that whole trap of ‘reflection ping-pong’ (well I did this last time and it didn’t work, so I changed it and now that doesn’t work, so I’m going back to the first thing and maybe it will work this time, etc etc…)

But reflexion can only take place once the educator has connected with their values and has a level of self-awareness which allows them to interrogate their practice with honesty.  And, of course, where they have given themselves time to think.

What do you think?


Author: TeachNorthern

We are hard working educators with passionate interest in Teaching for a Social Purpose. Everything we've learned is through observing colleagues and students, all of whom are committed to changing the world. And reading interesting stuff. We work at The Northern College in Barnsley and its mission (and thirty-eight year history) of social transformation makes it an ideal base to face the challenges of teaching adults in 21st century England.

3 thoughts on “Reflexion vs Reflection”

  1. Good morning Chhaya! I agree. That helps make sense of something else I’ve thought/felt for a while – that the crucial, central skill of teaching is self-awareness. Hence the importance of embedding self-awareness as a functional skill in teacher education.

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