Toward a Better Understanding of Reflective Thinking

2018-06-08T08:15:55Z (GMT) by Ellen Pruyne
This paper aims to further understanding of what is meant by reflective thinking and why this phenomenon is deserving of further attention and emphasis by researchers and educators. The first section of the paper is a comparison of three theories fully devoted to this phenomenon -- Dewey's "reflective thinking," Kitchener and King's "reflective judgment," and Perkins' "reflective intelligence". The second section is an analysis of these three theories in greater depth as a means to identifying the elements critical to the exercise of reflective thinking. The third section introduces four new theories focused on phenomena that appear related but not identical to reflective thinking -- reflection-in-action, argumentative thinking, mindfulness, and constructed knowledge, and analyzes these to ascertain how they might heighten our understanding and lessen our confusion about this imprecisely understood form of thinking. The last section summarizes the findings from the previous three sections and discusses their implications in terms of arriving at a better overall understanding of reflective thinking. This paper was submitted as a qualifying paper for a doctorate in human development and psychology.