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Into an uncertain yet exciting future: my journey as reflective practitionerInto an uncertain yet exciting future: my journeyas reflective practitioner1Chit Chai Stuart, University of SheffieldI embarked on an MEd degree seeking to develop my teaching but found myself pondering and grappling with the concepts of reflection and reflective practice. I was required to reflect on my experiences as midwife tutor. How can the cognitive processes (or so I thought) of reflection help me develop my teaching? I am doing italready anyway. I was filled with uncertainty. However, I decided to trust the tutors’decision for including the module titled ‘Becoming a Reflective Practitioner’ in the programme!This paper will outline my somewhat emotional and eventful journey in trying to understand reflective practice as I became a reflective practitioner, and my attempts to introduce my students to learning through reflection. It will draw on these experiences in considering how student midwives can be assisted to articulate and reflect on the dynamic, unique and unpredictable practice setting to be better prepared to deal with practice problems. Where appropriate, material will be quoted from my journal.The early daysMy early journal entries skirted superficially around class incidents. I realised I was only reinforcing what I normally did when I thought I reflected: the only difference now was the process of putting thoughts onto paper. I recorded in my journal that ‘Ihave not really started to challenge my professional practice yet’ (12 October, 1993).Sub-consciously I was afraid of the consequences of moving from one ontological state to another. As Holly2points out:... deliberately setting off to explore what has become custom is not without its risks and discomforts as truths are challenged and the taken-for-granted is questioned, and often found to be problematic.When I finally plucked up courage to truly examine my practices, the problematics felt overwhelming. Reflecting on feedback I had received from one group of students, I examined my behaviour in class and asked:How do I teach? What do I say? How do I come across? Why does my style of teaching not get as much response as A’s? Why does she (student) feel threatened? I have never had such feedback before or have I chosen to ignore it? (Personal journal, 19 October, 1993).I felt vulnerable and afraid. I retreated to my journal which proved a useful confidante:I do NOT want to engage in reflective practice. I feel very threatened. I do not want to see my faults (19 October, 1993).When I quipped to my colleagues that ‘reflective practice can affect your health’, I did not realise the semi-truth of the statement. To become reflective practitioners, we cannot escape the processes of 1This paper is based upon work for an M Ed degree in the Division of Adult Continuing Education, University of Sheffield. I am grateful for the support of thetutors on the course, in particular, Ms Cheryl Hunt - my ' mentor' - and Professor

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