Refining professional knowing as a creative practice: Towards a framework for 'Self-Reflective Shapes' and a novel approach to reflection

Phil Kirkman*, Simon P Brownhill

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
39 Downloads (Pure)


This paper introduces a theoretical framework for the 'Self-Reflective Shapes' approach, a creative solution that was developed in response to real-life educational challenge to support the development of a culture of reflection. Working with Kazakhstani teacher-trainers, the aim was to help them to move beyond an approach to development that prized uncritical acceptance of reified knowledge, focused only on best practice in relation to measured outcomes and which encouraged passive compliance. We frame the problem empirically by outlining experiences of working with teacher-trainers and theoretically by examining conceptions of professional knowing and reflection that can lead to the over emphasis of either explicit, well-defined knowledge outcomes or tacit, ill-defined embodied knowledge. Drawing on diverse reflective traditions, in this context reflection is focused on developing the freedoms necessary to successfully meet competing educational demands, be they academic, standards-based, developmental and social-transformational in nature. Working from the notion that balancing freedom and constraints is an inherently creative act, this paper proposes that creative acts of reflection provides a vehicle to address the tensions experienced by educators. 'Self-Reflective Shapes' is presented as an example such a creative approach which empowers teachers to focus on the tensions and intentions that are of greatest concern in their current practice, and which addresses the need to simultaneously develop diverse knowledge forms when addressing multiple, ill-defined and competing educational problems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-109
Number of pages17
JournalReflective Practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jan 2020

Structured keywords

  • SoE Centre for Knowledge, Culture, and Society
  • SoE Centre for Teaching Learning and Curriculum


  • Reflection
  • Creative Practice
  • Professional Knowledge
  • Self-reflection
  • Teacher Education


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