University of Massachusetts at Boston
Graduate College of Education
Critical & Creative Thinking Program

Special Topics: Reflective Practice

CrCrTh697 (1 credit)
Fall 2008

Instructor: Peter Taylor, Critical & Creative Thinking Program
Phone: 617-287-7636
Office: Wheatley 2nd flr 143.09 (near Counseling & School Psychology)
Class: Place and time varies from session to session (some TBA)
Office/phone call hours: M 1.40-3.40 by sign up at, or by arrangement.
Syllabus Website with links:
Course wiki:
General email: Emails sent to go to everyone in the course.


Reflective practitioners in any profession have to make connections with colleagues who model new practices and support the experimenting and practice of others, take stock of outcomes and reflect on possible directions, and make plans to revise their practice accordingly. Through presentations, interactive and experiential sessions, and a variety of assignments students in this course gain experiences and up-to-date tools for reflective practice.


The course emphasizes learning through experience during five 2.5 hour sessions and through reflection and writing between sessions, with a view to stimulating the students to experiment with and employ in their own work the tools introduced during the course. In this spirit, the contribution of the course to producing Thoughtful and Responsive Educators (which has been the overarching goal of the Professional Education Unit and the Graduate College of Education) centers on the Commitments of Ethical behavior, Lifelong learning, Dedication, and Modeling and mentoring; the Practices of Caring, Collaboration, Reflection; and Understandings about Pedagogy in the broad sense of instruction and facilitation. In addition to education, the course is intended to serve practitioners from professions served by CCT and other graduate programs at UMass Boston.

In Fall '08, this course is organized in conjunction with events of the CCT Network (, which aims to:


1. Attendance and participation in each session of this course (5 sessions x 6 points = 30 points).

2. Weekly emails submitted to (for at least 10 weeks during the semester). These emails help contribute to building a community of learning and support during the course (10 emails x 1 point = 10 points)

3. Reflection papers, after each of the sessions 1-4, 500-words, due 2 weeks after the session. (4 papers x 10 points = 40 points).
Specific guidelines and assessment rubrics will be distributed for each session, but the general themes will include: 4. Plan for Practice (2000-3000 words), building on reflection papers, demonstrating how and when you plan to put into practice the skills and tools from all 4 sessions of the course - in your work, personal life, studies, and community involvements, and/or how you could adapt and practice using those tools for opportunities in the future. You should include a plan for evaluating the outcome so you learn from experience and practice. (Guidelines and examples will be distributed to assist you in developing your Plan for Practice.) (20 points)

Overall course points are converted to letter grades as follows: The minimum grade for A is 95 points, for A- is 87.5, for B+ is 80, for B is 72.5; for B- is 65; for C+ is 57.5; and for C is 50.

NO PREREQUISITES: This course is open to graduate students from all fields.

ACCOMMODATIONS: Sections 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 offer guidelines for curriculum modifications and adaptations for students with documented disabilities. If applicable, students may obtain adaptation recommendations from the Ross Center (287-7430). The student must present these recommendations to each professor within a reasonable period, preferably by the end of the Drop/Add period.

Students are advised to retain a copy of this syllabus in personal files for use when applying for certification, licensure, or transfer credit.
This syllabus is subject to change, but workload expectations will not be increased after the semester starts. (Version 17 Sept '08)


Session 1 (9/5, 5.30-8pm, W-2-209) Reflecting and Connecting for Lifelong Learning

CCT Network event of the same name, which will introduce students (and wider CCT community) to: Post-session reading: Bruns, A. (2008) "Social Networks on Ning: A Sensible Alternative to Facebook," (viewed 26 July 08)
Bruns, A. (2008) Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life, and Beyond: From Production to Produsage. Peter Lang Publishing.

Session 2 (10/1, 6.30-9pm). Modeling and Mentoring

CCT Network event: "Our Lives and Other Worlds II: Visual Images and Reflections from Graduates of the Critical & Creative Thinking Program"

Five CCT graduates will have 15-30 minutes to display their visual work and reflect on how this has developed in relation to their CCT experiences, followed by commentaries and discussion. This should provide a model for students of a wider and more sustained network of support for their endeavors during and after their studies. (After all, CCT graduates form a network of contacts, inspiration, and expertise far more extensive than the faculty can provide.)

(Technical tools introduced: Recording podcasts)

Session 3 (date TBA to meet students' schedules) Dialogue Process in Reflective Practice and Community-building

Online dialogue process session on "Dialogue Process and Reflective Practice: What have I done in the past and what new directions do I want to move in?"

(Technical tools introduced: Skype conference calls; Recording online sessions)
Post-session reading: Isaacs, W. 1999. Dialogue. NY: Currency

Session 4 (11/19*; 6.45-9.15pm) Acknowledging/affirming supporters and aspirations

* Note change of date.
CCT Network event: "Re-membering with Michael White: An introduction to narrative work and its impact on our lives and communities"

Introduction to the work of the late Michael White, especially "Re-membering conversations," which help a person acknowledge multiple past allies, aspirations for their lives, significant discoveries, problem-solving practices, etc. Such conversations should be valuable when any of us move into a new phase of our lives, e.g., when students enter CCT.

Post-session reading: Workshop notes from

Session 5 (12/15, 6-8.30pm to be confirmed) Where have we come and where are we going?

Panel of students and graduates on systematic Reflective Practice

Presentations of Plans for practice from this course and summer course, CrCrTh 618 (incl. practice of selected tools/processes with peers)
Workshop on end-of-semester updates of Metacognitive and Reflective practice portfolios

(Technical tools: Creating and editing wikipages)