Scaffolding reflective journal writing - negotiating power, play and position.


A three-year qualitative study based on an action-research design, framed within the critical genre and using a multi-method approach, was used to establish how a model of critical reflective practice [Van Aswegen, E.J., Brink, H.I., Steyn, P.J., 2000. A model for facilitation of critical reflective practice: Part I- Introductory discussion and explanation of the phases followed to construct the model. Part ll - Conceptual analysis within the context of constructing the model. Part III - Description of the model. Curationis 23 (4), 117-135.] could be implemented. Reflective journals were introduced as one of the educational strategies within the model to support and sustain 'deep' transformatory learning. A component of this larger study focused on how scaffolding deep learning through reflective writing is enhanced by supportive structures. These include critiquing (feedback), a mutually developed self-evaluation strategy, as well as an awareness of and sensitivity to the need for student/writer-responder negotiation. Three student groups of part-time post-basic, practicing South African nurses engaged in reflective writing over the period of an academic year. This article is based on their perceptions, mid-way through their writing, of these strategies. It reflects the story of assumptions made by educators, and challenges for change. Students find reflective writing difficult, and although they are willing to accept its value and engage in the process, they require a regular, specific and sensitive critical response from their writer-responder and follow-up supportive contact. Self-evaluation for the purposes of 'owning' their own ideas is difficult, and requires constant support and validation. Transformatory learning comes at a cost, and a revisiting of the balance of power between student and educator is in order.

Cite this paper

@article{Harris2008ScaffoldingRJ, title={Scaffolding reflective journal writing - negotiating power, play and position.}, author={Milt Harris}, journal={Nurse education today}, year={2008}, volume={28 3}, pages={314-26} }