Yancey (2016) for 3/22/17

A Rhetoric of Reflection

In the introduction to A Rhetoric of Reflection, Yancey (2016) draws on DiStefano et al. (2014) to explain that people use reflection to “secure their learning” (p. 8). This comment strikes me because, to this point, I have been thinking of reflection as a means to transfer skill, not as a means to reinforce or affirm skill. Of course reflection can be used for forward-reaching transfer, but I think sometimes discussion of solidifying an existing or newly learned skill gets bypassed when we begin talking about transfer. The aim is always looking forward. Yancey’s division of studies on reflection into generations (p. 9) was also helpful to me to see where our understanding of reflection has been and also conceptualize where it’s going.

Horner’s discussion of Action-Reflection and its alignment with Friere (p. 107) makes me want to investigate further to see if and where this idea may intersect with Russel’s activity theory. Horner notes that for Friere, “Action and reflection occur simultaneously. . . Critical reflection is also action” (Freire, 1970, p. 128). Russell (1995) describes human behavior and consciousness as “goal-directed,” and uses examples of action such as a child reaching for a toy (“Activity Theory and Its Implications for Writing Instruction”). In the past, I have drawn on activity theory in framing my discussions on transfer, and it seems that the goal-directed action of activity theory would necessitate reflection in order to affirm the action so that it could be conducted again.