#CritLit2010 Reflective Thinking – A Personal Perspective Part 1

What is reflective thinking?

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**effectively communicates orally, visually, in writing, and in a second language

**understands and employs quantitative and qualitative analysis to solve problems

**interprets and evaluates information from a variety of sources

**understands and works within complex systems, and with diverse groups

**demonstrates intellectual agility and the ability to manage change

**transforms information into knowledge and knowledge into judgment and action

This provides a nice summary of the capability and literacies of an empowered learner.

Expression of thoughts and ideas

I realize that my thoughts are in a state of flux – may be that is the effect of  “flow“, that helps me to think and reflect continuously throughout my life-long learning journey.  I further realize that all my writings are coming from my thoughts, and so I just write what is in my mind into the blog posts – by thinking out loud, with a sense of serendipity.
Such reflective thinking enriches my life greatly, as I could reflect on my experience with introspection, on what I have achieved, and what I have failed. Then I have to think about how I could improve in the future.
Does it lead me to happiness?
Happiness is a condition that must be prepared for, cultivated and defended privately by each person.  It is only by controlling our inner experience that we can become happy.
Flow- The Psychology of optimal experience by Mihely Harper, 1990.
What should I improve? I think I could significantly simplify my writings (like the twitter – limiting every message to 140 characters).  Would that be the critical literacy that I also aspire to – concise, reflective expression and inquiry?
Art of Inquiry
How could I further improve my skills of inquiry? In Chinese academy – those highly intelligent and wise scholars and thinkers were characterized with a sense of integrity and humility. They were highly skilled in “learning to ask – how, what, and why to ask”.  Confucius was always asked by his students (disciples) on the philosophies of life, and his disciples were all inquisitive.  So was Socrates, who provoked his students through challenging question.  Jesus Christ interacted with his disciples using questions, followed by parables, metaphors and further inquiries.
Would another critical literacy  be ASKING QUESTIONS? That is THE ART OF INQUIRY and the Appreciative Inquiry.

Complexity Theory
Is asking the right question important under Complexity Theory?  I suppose we need to identify whether the situation is simple,  complicated, complex, or chaos. So asking the right questions would lead me to consider the appropriate strategies when analysing or confronting a situation and tackling problems  – based on sense making.
I also find it fascinating in this new approach to research and inquiry From induction to abduction, a new approach to research and productive inquiry.  It is right away a gift (for me).
This Complex Adaptive System provides another great insight into how the system evolves.
I learn greatly from Jenny’s recent posts, which were filled with wonderful insights and wisdom.  I like her current post on complexity and critical literacies.
Complexity theory poses a major question: What do the following mean for the philosophy of education: emergence and self-organization; connectedness; order without control; diversity and redundancy; unpredictability and non-linearity; co-evolution; communication and feedback; open, complex adaptive systems; and distributed control?
Educators are intrigued when learning exists in an open learning environment (or a complex system such as CCK08). It would be difficult to predict and control the outcomes of the learning, due to the complexity nature of the spaces, media, agents and their interaction.
Reflection of Community of Practice, Networks and Complexity Theory
I reckon there are many great Communities of Practice (COPs) out there in institutions and businesses, locally and globally.  I also find great COPs in my previous and present work, and in many disciplines (including in my church, and in my early days of volunteering work, where I helped in creating an volunteering association, worked as a Vice Chair for 2 years in the 80s.)  Even now in our CCK08, 09, Ning, Facebook Group, I could see new lights emerging from COP.
I am learning to ask more helpful questions, rather than questions of “desperation” or those with an anticipated negative response.  That is also part of the critical thinking that I am learning, by challenging our way of thinking, and reflecting on our experience.
My comments are: If we could take away the “hats” of whatever it is called – i.e. COP, network, or hybrid, as I seem to sense the struggles with the theories and proponents based on the pioneers like Etienne Wenger (in COP), George Siemens & Stephen Downes (in Connectivism) and Dave Snowden (Complexity Theory).
I think each of the theories have their merits and limitations, only that not too many people dare to point them out.  It is “true” that we could easily “kill” the creativity and great work of others by being just “critical”, without resorting to the evidence, empirical findings and research.  Even then, people could all defend and argue for life on what they have “created” or developed.
How could “we” move forward in learning about  “learning & associated theories”, without the baggage that “we” have with our pre-conceived “truths, experience, and perceptions” about certain theory? Am I all “coloured” by my experience and perceptions?  I have been reflecting on this educational leadership where multiple “truths” could be based upon.  So, I am still in search of learning theory, and learning metaphors that could help me in improving learning in an online environment.
What would you suggest?

8 thoughts on “#CritLit2010 Reflective Thinking – A Personal Perspective Part 1

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  2. You are wise, John and ask the right questions. I cannot answer but I am looking forward to find more wisdom.
    Next week in CritLit2010 has the theme pragmatism, it has something to do with assessing theories..

  3. John,

    This post contributes to my understanding about the complexity of our way of thinking and comprehension of the reality. I find interesting your question: “How could “we” move forward in learning about “learning & associated theories”, without the baggage that “we” have with our pre-conceived “truths, experience, and perceptions” about certain theory?”. This is complex to give an answer due to we have learned with theories and our perceptions and truths have been modeled across them.

    María Fernanda

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