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Journal cover: Education + Training

Education + Training

ISSN: 0040-0912

Online from: 1959

Subject Area: Education

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A reflective essaying model for higher education

Document Information:
Title:A reflective essaying model for higher education
Author(s):Graham Badley, (Research, Development and Commercial Services, Anglia Ruskin University, Chelmsford, UK)
Citation:Graham Badley, (2009) "A reflective essaying model for higher education", Education + Training, Vol. 51 Iss: 4, pp.248 - 258
Keywords:Higher education, Mentoring, Teaching
Article type:Viewpoint
DOI:10.1108/00400910910964548 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to outline a reflective essaying model as a useful way of encouraging learning in higher education. It aims to define reflective essaying as the free and serious play of mind on an interesting topic in an attempt to learn.

Design/methodology/approach – Reflective essaying is first introduced as a unifying concept in the model. Second, the model is introduced and justified especially in connection with De Montaigne's invention of the essai as a process of trying out opinions and testing responses. Third, the role of teachers as essaying mentors is discussed. Fourth, mentoring for essaying is examined as a learning transaction which exemplifies Dewey's transactional theory of experience and knowing.

Findings – Reflective essaying is promoted as an important way of letting students try to learn. Reflective mentors should promote student learning through reflective essaying which would encourage students to develop their own criticality.

Practical implications – The paper has implications for both teachers and students. Teachers are urged to become more like mentors and less like didactic instructors. As mentors they should be encouraging students to see academic writing as trying out, as essaying, as experimenting with, and as learning through the ideas and materials they reflect upon.

Originality/value – The paper is original in its approach in that it draws on a wide range of historical and contemporary sources on essaying in order to re-evaluate and resurrect essaying as an experimental process of learning.

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