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Thursday, 19 September 2013

The Cavemans Theory of Reflection

In a rather sarcastic comment in response to the being told "Schon is the father of reflective theory" (referring to Donald Schon and his theory's on reflective practice in education) by a tutor while I was studying for my Certificate in Education I said that cavemen had been reflecting on things long before anyone wrote it down and made 'reflection' into a theory, (in my defence it was late in the evening and I had been teaching for seven hours that day) now having thought about it further I present to you;

The Cavemans Theory of Reflection.

Example 1;
Prehistoric man may have started off sleeping under the stars with very little to protect them from the cold, they may have seen animals with thick fur coats and 'reflecting' on the nights they spent shivering with cold made themselves a coat or blanket from animal skin.

Example 2;
Having been eating tough raw meat for ages prehistoric man discovers that the bodies of animals killed by forest fires smell quite nice, not long later after a bit of 'reflection' prehistoric man  starts chucking meat on his own fire to eat.

I know it's not really a theory and my assumption in the examples above are merely that, assumptions, they are not based on fact or a detailed knowledge of prehistoric man or their habits, technology or society. They are merely generalizations and guesses as to how things may have been. This kind of reflection is an interesting principle to apply to teaching bushcraft though (something I will be looking at over the next few months as I experiment with the use of 'learning logs' with students learning friction fire lighting) as it is how most of us learn our bushcraft skills in the first place. I certainly never had money to spend on going on a bushcraft or survival skills course and what I know now is a result of thousands of hours of practice and trial and error. Trial and error is a wonderful way of developing bushcraft skills, time consuming, but wonderful. I strongly believe that it also makes us better teachers, if we can remember back to the time that our technique was poor or inefficient or both we are better able to direct our students to make the same improvements that we discovered for ourselves. Better still if we can encourage students to reflect on the difficulties they are facing, identify areas of strength, notice things that may be holding them back, and experiment with other options they will be able to make those same discoveries themselves and as I said in an earlier post then they will 'own' that knowledge, it will be theirs.


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