Critical Reflection in Action-based Approaches

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The role of critical reflection is very important in action-based approaches to problem solving. Reflecting allows us, as researchers and educators, to think about what can be done after an observation of a particular method and how action can be taken to fix or alter the process of the method to make it more effective. “Being able to explain what you are doing and why you are doing it also enables you to be clear about its significance for your field, which is important when it comes to saying why your research should be believed and taken seriously by others, especially peers” (McNiff, 2011, p. 10).

If we ask questions, we learn what we do know and what we do not know, according to Marquardt (2011). We cannot take action and change something unless we reflect on it first and think about how we can build that change. In groups, critical reflection allows us to see diverse perspectives as well as whether ideas would be effective to implement into action. When we reflect, we gain valuable learning of the research project through inquiries and reframing of problems. Also, we can provide honest reactions through professional interactions among group members to initiate and foster a sense of openness within an organization (Marquardt, 2011).

I do not believe that effective change can come about without the incorporation of reflection among individuals participating in action-based approaches to problem solving. Without sharing insights of certain issues that have come about, we cannot change those issues successfully because we do not know all sides of each issue. We are all knowledgeable in different aspects of an issue due to our tacit and explicit knowledge that we have acquired throughout our life experiences and training at work, so we all bring diverse and valuable knowledge to the table to solve a problem productively.

What do you think is the role of critical reflection in action-based approaches to problem-solving?


McNiff, J. (2011). What is action research. In All you need to know about action research. New York, NY: Sage.

Marquardt, M. (2011). Building the learning organization: Achieving strategic advantage through a commitment to learning. Boston, MA: Nicholas Brealey Publishing.

Martina Finnegan, being a former ESL learner from
Bosnia, truly enjoys teaching ESL students! She has been teaching at Niagara College for 9 years and when she isn’t in the classroom, she enjoys spending time with her family, going for walks, watching
movies, and reading a good book!


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