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Gibb's reflective cycle

Reflection: Gibb’s reflective cycle: 6 simple steps to learn

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What is reflection?

Reflection within the health and social care setting is a prerequisite to professional caring. It is an intentional activity that enables the practitioner to become more self-aware of the contradictions that exist between how we would like to practice and how we actually do. Engaging in reflective practice is associated with improving and changing practice and stimulating personal and professional growth (Day 2013, P.136).

Philosophical Basis for Reflection

The extensive work of John Dewey offers a philosophical foundation for the role that reflection assumes in the learning process as a bridge between experience and the theory.

Personal experiences, such as those gained in group work, allow theory to take on meaning when reflection supports an analysis and critical examination of the experience.

Dewy acknowledges that experience by itself does not necessarily result in learning; experiences can be either “miseducative” or “educative”. The experience becomes “educative” when critical reflective thought creates new meaning and leads to growth and the ability to take informed actions.

Types of reflection


It generally occurs intuitively in experienced professionals, e.g., when a professional in a meeting decides to change their approach because of dynamics in the group.


It generally involves thinking about a specific experience after it has happened, with the aim of learning from experience.

Gibb’s reflective style

Gibb’s reflective cycle
description Gibbs reflective cycle
Description Gibbs reflective cycle
feelings Gibbs reflective cycle
feelings Gibbs reflective cycle
evaluation Gibbs reflective cycle
evaluation Gibbs reflective cycle

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analysis Gibbs reflective cycle
analysis Gibbs reflective cycle
conclusion Gibbs reflective cycle
conclusion Gibbs reflective cycle
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Day, J. 2013, Interprofessional Working: An Essential Guide for Health and Social Care Professionals, 2nd edn, Cengage Learning, Hampshire.
Dewey, J. 1933, How We Think: A Restatement of the Relation of Reflective Thinking, Heath and Company, Boston.
Gibbs G (1988) Learning by Doing: A guide to teaching and learning
Kolb, D. (1984) Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.
Moon, J. A. (2004) A Handbook of Reflective and Experiential Learning: Theory and Practice. Abingdon: Routledge Falmer. methods. Further Education Unit. Oxford: Oxford Polytechnic.
Vachon B, LeBlanc J. Effectiveness of past and current critical incident analysis on reflective learning and practice change. Med Educ. 2011 Sep:45(9):894-904.

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