Repeated reflection as part of development as a critical thinker (and more)

What would be a relevant set of initial guidelines if a person were to begin a regular plus-delta reflection process concerning their development as a critical thinker (and beyond to a sense of “ITS CAPL” [see previous post])? Such a reflection process is described, then possible guidelines are floated.

Regular reflection process
(From 2014 workshop)
Create a reflection template consisting of six guidelines that you use whenever you are ready to pause and take stock before proceeding either: from one phase to another; on from an activity or event; into dialogue with others; or at a branch point when choosing an activity or path to pursue.
Copy the template page or print it out, then for each of the six guidelines, note “plus-delta“—one thing you did well during the phase/activity/event and one thing that could be developed further next time.
Although your template page may be made visible to other members of the wiki, you are not asked to share the substance of the reflections. However, record on a googleform each time you have completed the plus-delta reflection. (This record will allow the workshop/activity organizer to take stock of how much reflection follows any workshop/activity.)
If a new guideline occurs to you, add it with a new number and relegate one of the other six to the end or delete that one altogether.

Why six guidelines? A: The number is not hard and fast, but any more and you get tired out completing the reflection and you find it hard to keep them in mind.

How to get people to sustain such a regular reflection process? A: This would probably need active coaching or coaxing at first, but initial attempts in this regard should provide lessons about what kinds of guidelines and community of reflection makes the effort rewarding enough for it to become a habit.

Possible sets of guidelines
* The first six of Costa & Kallick’s Habits of Mind
* Adaptations of selected items from “challenges for the teacher/facilitator” in supporting the critical thinker’s “journey” (e.g., items c, d, b, g, h, f).
* Selected schemas for “Self-direction and community support” from “A set of principles for developing creativity.”
* A student’s schema from an class activity on “Interpretive structural modeling of a selection of conditions conducive of critical thinking”
* Others: suggestions welcome–please post as comments


About Peter J. Taylor
Peter Taylor teaches and directs programs on critical thinking, reflective practice, and science-in-society at the University of Massachusetts Boston. He studies the complexity of environmental and health sciences in their social context as well as innovation in teaching, group process, and interdisciplinary collaboration (see He is especially interested in conversations with others who are, in diverse ways, "troubled by heterogeneity" (

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