Critical Reflection, Asking Better Questions: Understanding the Phenomenon of Critical Reflection through the Experiences of Three 4Cs Educators



Critical reflection is a vital 21st-century capacity required by students to navigate their increasingly complex world, yet many educators experience uncertainty when attempting to conceptualise this phenomenon. This study originated in response to this need and to elucidate the relationship between critical reflection and questioning, through the experiences of 4Cs educators working within an Australian primary school. A phenomenological case study involving three teacher participants was designed to explore their experiences as they implemented Jefferson and Anderson’s (2017) teaching tool, the critical reflection crucible, in their respective classrooms. Qualitative data was collected using semi-structured interviews and analysed using Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis [IPA]. The findings in this sample reveal a strong correlation between teacher questioning and students’ ability to critically reflect during learning. Although participants encountered difficulty when defining critical reflection, a clearer image of how this phenomenon manifests during learning emerged from the appraisal of their transformative classroom experiences.


Author Biographies

Vasiliki Papaefstathiou, The University of Sydney, Sydney School of Education and Social Work

Vasiliki Papaefstathiou is an EAL/D teacher currently working in a New South Wales high school and a sessional academic at The University of Sydney, School of Education and Social Work. Her research interests include critically reflective pedagogies, the use of poetry as a critically reflective medium, 4Cs pedagogy, and transformative learning practice. In 2020, she was awarded the University Medal for her honours research, upon which this article is based. She is currently undertaking research as a PhD candidate in Education at The University of Sydney.

Alison O'Grady , The University of Sydney, Sydney School of Education and Social Work

Dr. Alison Grove O'Grady is a Senior Lecturer, Academic Lead Curriculum Designer and Accreditation- Secondary Education program at the University of Sydney, School of Education and Social Work. Her research focuses on the role of empathy and its relationship to education and teacher professional learning in order to bridge different social and cultural contexts. Alison’s work explores the tensions regarding the areas of empathy, access and equity. She is currently developing a pedagogy of empathy influenced by theatrical traditions and socio- cultural theories. Alison researches in interdisciplinary spaces particularly in ways that creative pedagogies and theatre making generates transformation in school contexts.






Research Articles