Postdoctoral Dental Education

Professional Life-Long Learning Plan

Step 2: Linking Objectives with Learning Activities and Evaluation
Step 4: Evidence of accomplishment

Step 3: Self-Evaluation Methods and Reflection Exercises

The Self-Evaluation/Reflection Process

When reflection is carefully structured, it can be a powerful tool that turns the service experience into a meaningful learning experience. Service learning activities often place residents into challenging and complex situations. Through reflection residents would be able to process and understand the implications of their thoughts in their experiences. Reflection also allows for discussion, exploration and resolution to difficult circumstances. It also allows for the better understanding of the scope of larger issues involved in patient care.

Mark Cooper at Florida International University identified three levels of reflection for journal writing. We will use the three levels to structure the reflection activities for this module. The levels act as guides for all methods of reflection helping residents and faculty make better sense of the learning occurred during the service experience.

We recommend you to choose al least three questions in each level to guide your journal writing. At different points during the AEGD program Dr. Bunza will assigned various reflection questions to guide web based discussions or be included as part of a "semi private" reflection discussion with him.

The three levels of reflection

Level 1: The Mirror: Reflection of the self, the self becomes clearer
This level of reflection helps you to understand yourself and your personal values. It helps you begin to see how the service experience has helped you learn more about aspects of yourself.

Level 1 Reflection questions:

Level 2: The Microscope: Make the small experience large
Refection as a microscope helps you understand the impact of individual activities on the people or community served on yourself, and on the program as a whole. It allows you to reflect on events that occurred, your role in them, and their impact.

Level 2 reflection questions:

Level 3: The Binoculars: The distant becomes closer
Reflection as binoculars helps you identify larger issues that surround the service you are providing (in this case patient care). It can expand your understanding, vision, of causes effects and impacts and can help you envision your future career.

Level 3 reflection questions

How should I answer the reflection questions?

Answers could include snapshots filled with sights, sounds, smells, concerns, insights, doubts, fears, and critical questions about issues, people, and, most importantly, yourself. Reflection questions are not meant to be a work log of tasks, events, times and dates. These should be answer in the most candid way and should be answered freely. We would recommend you write an entry after each visit. If you can't write a full entry, jot down random thoughts, images that you can use and revisit later.

High quality reflection should show the following (according to Marilyn Olson at the Lane County Education Service District in Oregon):

Content (factual/inferential) General observations, specific examples, comparisons, positive/negative observations, evidence of problem-solving process
Reasoning Meaning/usefulness of the experience, adjustment for future, comparison to prior work, reasons for decisions or choices
Generative (creative/productive) Evidence of new methods, new topics, new treatments, new skills, new meaning
Expression New vocabulary, fluency