The role of the practice educator in helping students develop critical reflection

Hilary Lawson


This article offers advice to practice educators about the teaching of reflective and critically reflective practice to social work students on placement. It explains what is meant by critical reflection, it offers different tools and ways of teaching critical reflection to students, and it  also strives to problematise the teaching of critical reflection- the meaning of which is itself contested and evolving- and to emphasise the need to subject all teaching  tools to theoretical scrutiny and awareness of socially constructed context and assumptions.  A critically reflective practice educator will interrogate the knowledge underpinning the skills and encourage the student to do the same. The article argues that students have different capacity to be reflective. It explores why many students find it difficult, and suggests that effective critical reflection develops only with time and experience.

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