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

Reflective Practice

CrCrTh697 (1 credit)
Spring 2009


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
Office/phone call hours: Tuesday evening 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 pilot new practices, take stock of outcomes and reflect on possible directions, and make plans to revise their practice accordingly. They also make connections with colleagues who model new practices and support the experimenting and practice of others. Students in this course gain experiences and up-to-date tools for reflective practice through presentations, interactive and experiential sessions, and supervised pilot activities in schools, workplaces, and communities.


All students participate in five 2.5-hour sessions. During the five scheduled sessions guest presenters reflect on their own personal and professional development and/or introduce tools and practices that the students may adopt and adapt to their own work and lives.
Between sessions students submit reflection papers on the sessions, build a community of support for each other through an email bulletin board, develop and revise their plans for experimenting with and adopting new practices.
A distinctive feature of this course is the involvement of graduates of CCT as guest presenters and participants in the sessions. The graduates model to current students a commitment to personal and professional development, community building, and educational-innovation beyond the formal CCT program of studies. (The involvement of graduates is made possible by collaboration with the CCT Network, It is hoped that students from the course return as guest presenters at a future date.
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 its role in the field of Education, the course is intended to serve practitioners from professions served by CCT and other graduate programs at UMass Boston.


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 (and briefings/updates for supervised students), demonstrating: a) how and when the student plans to put into practice the skills and tools from all sessions of the course - in their work, personal life, studies, and community involvements, and/or how they could adapt and practice using those tools for opportunities in the future. (The plan should include a process for evaluating the outcome so the student learns from experience and practice. Guidelines and examples will be distributed to assist in developing a Plan for Practice.) Students will make brief presentations of their plans for practice at the last session. (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 15 January '09)


(dates subject to confirmation)

Session 1. Reflecting and Connecting for Lifelong Learning--andTeaching

(Jan. 23; 5.30-8pm)

Session 2. Modeling and Mentoring

(February 23 or 27)
"Our Lives and Other Worlds III: Music and Reflections from Graduates of the Critical & Creative Thinking Program"

Five CCT graduates spend 15-25 minutes to present their musical work and reflect on how this has developed in relation to their CCT experiences, followed by commentaries and discussion. This provides 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. Teaching Writing

(late March)

Session 4. Synthesis presentations by graduating CCT students

4a. April 27, 5-8pm, place TBA
4b. May 4, 5-8pm, place TBA

Session 5. Where have we come and where are we going?

(middle of May)
Panel of students and graduates on systematic Reflective Practice
Presentations of Plans for practice from this course
(Technical tools: Creating and editing wikipages)


(Supplementary to readings specific to the sessions, as given above.)

Horton, M. and B. Moyers (1983). "The adventures of a radical hillbilly: An interview with Myles Horton." Appalachian Journal 9(4): 248-285.

Jenkins, M. (2000). "Action learning: Taking the time it takes." Presented to the International Association of Facilitators, Toronto, April 27 2000.

Rokovich, M. A., M. Stevens, et al. (2000). "Implementing change at SJUSD: An unfinished case study." Presented to the International Association of Facilitators, Toronto, April 27 2000.

Schuman, S., Ed. (2006). Creating a Culture of Collaboration: The International Association of Facilitators Handbook. San Francisco, Jossey-Bass.

Senge, P., A. Kleiner, et al. (1994). The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook. New York, Currency.

Stanfield, R. B. (2002). The Workshop Book: From Individual Creativity to Group Action. Toronto, Canadian Institute of Cultural Affairs.

Taylor, P. J. (2008). Developing Critical Thinking is Like a Journey. Teachers and Teaching Strategies, Problems and Innovations. G. F. Ollington. Hauppauge, NY, Nova Science Publishers.

Taylor, P. J., S. J. Fifield, et al. (2008). "Cultivating Collaborators: Concepts and Questions Emerging Interactively From An Evolving, Interdisciplinary Workshop." Manuscript.