How Do Veterinary Students Engage When Using Creative Methods to Critically Reflect on Experience? A Qualitative Analysis of Assessed Reflective Work
Armitage-Chan, E., Reissner, S., Jackson, E., Kedrowicz, A., & Schoenfeld-Tacher, R. (2021, September 9). JOURNAL OF VETERINARY MEDICAL EDUCATION.
Critical reflection-the exploration and questioning of one's experience, beliefs, assumptions, and actions-supports resilience, empathy, the management of uncertainty, and professional identity formation. Yet for many students and educators, the techniques to engage in critical reflection are elusive. Creative methods that foster engagement with emotional and uncertain aspects of experience reportedly help some students to reflect at a more critical level than when they use reflective writing, and this study explores more deeply the experiences of such students, who used creative methods to critically reflect on challenging or troubling past events. A narrative methodology was utilized, in which researchers collaboratively co-constructed an understanding of students' experiences of reflection to identify the activities and steps they used. Creative methods did not inherently lead to critical reflection, but when this was achieved, the creative approaches seemed to facilitate a staging of reflection, which incorporated five sequential stages: preplanning creative depiction, experimenting with different ideas, deliberately completing the reflective piece, reflecting on creative work, and reflecting again on learning and development. This cyclic, repeated revisit to experience, as students engaged in each stage of their work, appeared to facilitate both a deep connection with the emotional elements of experience and a more distanced analysis. This ultimately led to a deepening of understanding of events, including the construction of students' own beliefs and empathy with others' views.