Examples of Critical Reflection

As you consider these example, keep in mind the elements of a critical reflection:

  • I feel … focus on your own feelings without blaming others
  • When (or about) … describe factually what happened when your feelings came to the surface.
  • I want .. describe what you envision happening next, even if it seems impossible to happen.
  • Because … name the value or the principle of solidarity that you share with the group.


In a group using “Peace and Power”

I feel so frustrated when people are late for our meetings.  I could call names of people who are often late, but the fact is that everyone in our group is pretty relaxed about being on time.  I would like for us to all make a commitment to being here on time so that we can all be here for check in.  This is a time when we lay the foundation for working together as a group, and we have included the value of having everyone participate equally in our principles of solidarity.

When someone expresses this critical reflection, the next step is for everyone in the group to share their feelings about the issue of being on time for meetings.  The group acknowledges circumstances that influence people’s ability to be on time. Based on everyone’s situation, they come to an agreement so that everyone knows what to expect at the start of their meetings.

In a family

I felt  so disappointed when Sally and Janie did not tell the truth about the party at Susan’s house.  You told me that Susan’s parents were going to be there, and it turned out that they were not. We have an agreement that if you lie to us about something like this, the consequence is being grounded for one week, and so you will be grounded. However, I also want to acknowledge that if you tell the truth about things like this, we can work out a solution that works for everyone.  When you try to hide something like this, I am so disappointed.  As a family it is important to be able to trust one another, and to also trust that we can work things out so that everyone’s concerns are respected.

In this scenario, the teenagers Sally and Jane have a chance to express their fear that if they had told their parents that Susan’s parents would not be at the party, they would not have allowed them to go to the party.  The parents have a choice to respond in anger, to simply punish the girls, or to use the opportunity for growth.  If the parents primary value is to improve their communication and level of trust with the teens, then a “critical reflection” opens the door for this kind of interaction.

Page last updated: March 19, 2013

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