Critical & Creative Thinking Graduate Program
Reflective Practice and Metacognitive Portfolios
, Index Of Portfolios
. See also CCT Website
, cct wiki
, Exit self-assessments
A portfolio often means a showcase or a display for others of achievements, but the "Reflective Practice and Metacognitive Portfolio" (RPP) is designed to be a self-customized tool box and set of reminders
that students intend to use in their on-going learning and practice (including their work beyond/after CCT) embedded in a narrative
This narrative should be updated each semester after reflecting on themes and connections across courses. The minimum tool-box would include specific assignments in each course designed so that they could be components in a portfolio
Asking students to build this kind of portfolio during their studies matches the goals of personal and professional development captured by the Program overview, excerpted below (from files/overview.html
), with emphasis added here. The original pilot program is now a formal requirement in the M.A.program of studies.
- The Critical and Creative Thinking (CCT) program at the University of Massachusetts Boston provides its students with knowledge, tools, experience, and support so they can become constructive, reflective agents of change in education, work, social movements, science, and creative arts.
- Critical thinking, creative thinking, and reflective practice are valued, of course, in all fields. In critical thinking we seek to scrutinize the assumptions, reasoning, and evidence brought to bear on an issue-by others and by oneself; such scrutiny is enhanced by placing ideas and practices in tension with alternatives. Key functions of creative thinking include generating alternative ideas, practices, and solutions that are unique and effective, and exploring ways to confront complex, messy, ambiguous problems, make new connections, and see how things could be otherwise. In reflective practice we take risks and experiment in putting ideas into practice, then take stock of the outcomes and revise our approaches accordingly.
- The rationale for a distinct Masters and Certificate program of study in CCT is that an explicit and sustained focus on learning and applying ideas and tools in critical thinking, creative thinking, and reflective practice allows students involved in a wide array of professions and endeavors to develop clarity and confidence to make deep changes in their learning, teaching, work, activism, research, and artistry. By the time CCT students finish their studies they are prepared to teach or guide others [and themselves] in ways that often depart markedly from their previous schooling and experience.
- In these processes of transformation and transfer, CCT students have to select and adapt the ideas and tools presented by faculty with diverse disciplinary and interdisciplinary concerns. Although each CCT course is self-contained and is open to students from other graduate programs, students matriculated in the Program benefit from extended relationships with core CCT faculty and fellow students that support their process-learning-experimenting and taking risks in applying what they are learning, reflecting on the outcomes and revising accordingly, and building up a set of tools, practices, and perspectives that work in their specific professional or personal endeavors.
Portfolio = Narrative + self-customized tool box and set of reminders.
The toolbox/reminders might include each of the components
designed with the Portfolio in mind from the required courses plus optional additions from any other course, or other pieces chosen by the student. Excerpts from the toolbox/reminders or other pieces may be woven into the narrative.
The portfolio should be updated each semester (or two if the student is moving slowly through the program). With each update, additions should be made to the narrative. Sometimes, however, the previous narrative will be superseded and the old version might become an exhibit to show the student's evolving process.
The portfolio can be assembled in a number of ways: as an all-in-one word/pdf file; as a wikipage on which the student presents a narrative that includes links to exhibit files, or in other forms (e.g., RPP on a personal website). When all is said and done, the portfolio (minus any sections that the student wants to keep private) should be linked to this site and available for others to view, reflect on, and be inspired by.
All wikis, blogs, or uploaded files created by students and linked here must begin with the student's initials in uppercase. (If the initials have already been "taken" by a previous student, add an extra letter in lower case, e.g., PTa for Peter Taylor.)
for how-to's about wikis.
A show-and-tell introduction will often be part of CCT orientations and by perusing how the portfolios below have been constructed.
Index of Portfolios
Note (22 Oct '09): The portfolios produced before the RPP became a formal program requirement go beyond the guidelines above and have their own distinctive approaches. (They are often more like a showcase than a toolkit.) When some model RPP's are available, these will be highlighted so that subsequent students can refer to them as models.
(To students: Send your portfolio or a link to it to email@example.com