How reflection increases participants awareness


Name educator: Giuseppe Rossi, Angelica Paci, Mario D‘Agostino

Name partner organisation: Kamaleonte


Description of the course: A course with educators that work with Kamaleonte in different experiences and contexts

Aim of testing project: To investigate how reflection in action and intuitive reflection trough journaling increase participants‘ awareness and  contributes in creating the conditions for inner readiness to manifest.


Date(s) of the testing project:   9 January 2016

Target group: Educators using outdoor activities in their job              

Number of participants: 16

Nationality of the participants: Italian

Sex of the participants: women 12       man­­ 4

Age of the participants: 21 to 33

Amount of meetings with the learners:  1 day

A Number of people reflecting:   Solo (1 person)


  Small group

(< 20 people)


 Large group

(> 20 people)


B The way(s) of sharing: Mix of solo moment and sharing in circle
Verbal:  X
Non-verbal:   Pictures /




  Em­bodied  sculpture


 Other forms of expression


Digital:   Padlet


  Social media   Digital diary


C Place of reflection (where)   Indoors






D. Steps taken to implement

How did you organize your testing project (or to put it differently: as this is a testing project for experimenting, what will be different comparing to the same course you run the previous time)?

Although we were already used to practice reflection in action in our outdoor experiential learning activities, there is a difference in how we’ve been using it this time. Normally we would call for a reflection in action in a situation of stuckness or in case of crisis of a participant. In this practice we decided to stop the action after 20 minutes, in order to create a moment of stillness and silence, during which participants were led through self reflection via a journaling process. This practice allows participants to access deeper levels of self-knowledge and to connect this knowledge to concrete actions. Journaling means that you think through the writing not to think and reflect, and then write up the reflection. Participants just start writing and see what emerges. It’s a kind of reflection in action as it happens during the action of writing. The questions we addressed were meant to draw participants attention on these three elements:

–  the context of action

–  the level of ownership of competence

–  the personal reaction habits


The journaling questions were the following:

–  what is my source of energy now?

–  what is frustrating me the most now?

–  what’s around me?

–  what is happening in the group?

–  what are the favorable conditions for me now?

–  what are the obstacles for me now?

–  what personal resources am I activating ?

–  what personal resources am I not activating ?

–  what reaction habits of mine do I recognize happening now?

After this guided self-reflection time, the group restarted the activity for the final 10 minutes.

At the end of the activity participants were given 10 minutes of solo time to reflect on what has happened to them in the moment of transition, from the moment of stillness to the moment of getting again into action. We asked:

–  what has changed in me after the reflection in action?

–  how did this affect me, the group, the process and the goal?

After the solo participants shared in the larger group. We worked in parallel with two different groups.

E. Your assessment of the outcome

In general, how do you look at the results of your testing project?

We can recognize two meaningful moments, during the planning phase and the execution phase. The first moment was when we started to plan the workshop and to think about how to explore the mechanisms of inner readiness by using reflection.

The other one was after a meta-reflection about this different way to do activity, in other words how useful was to stop and reflect during the activity.

In the first one we thought how to stimulate inner readiness, using reflection in a concrete way. In this phase we decided to give participants a specific limited time for reflection during activity, using journaling, and after investigating whether and how this time was useful to be inner ready.

Our major discovery about the outcomes of this kind of reflection in action is that it certainly raised awareness in the participants about the inner and outer stimuli, however not everyone was inner ready to act when going back to action. Our discovery then is that one can be inner ready for acting and even for not acting. In fact some participants went back in action more energized and aware of the potential they wanted to express, some others after the journaling were still busy with some of the questions and were no longer motivated to continue the action.

There’s still two open questions that we’d like to investigate further:

–  how can I recognize and be aware about the moment when I am inner ready?

–  what is the difference between inner readiness and motivation?

F  Connecting with principles: which principle(s) were you taking into consideration mostly when facilitating reflection with learners? Please add 2 sentences about how you were translating the principle into practice. For more information: see postings on principles.


Raising awareness within learners to ‘own’ their learning in personally meaningful way


Developing a relationship between educator and learners based on trust, openness, empathy, honesty, dialogue and feedback





Co-creating the reflective process

We use this principles during the planning phase when we start to plan using co-creating process through confronting our ideas.


Managing the steering paradox of intrinsic learning processes



Creating the right reflective attention of learners

We created e fixed space for reflection during the activity, giving them a time of starting and a time for finishing. We structured also a set of questions that helped participants to focus their attention on the context of action, their reaction habits and the resources they were activating.


Slowing down and value moments of not-knowing,


Deepening your questions progressively


Recalling that reflection can never be imposed, only kindly invited.



Always considering reflection as a broad and deepening process, that should be holistic.


Being careful how to asses reflection (or not at all)