The 10 Cs of Reflection

How can we become better critical thinkers and self-directed professionals?

We achieve more when we share with other professions and work sectors.

I stumbled across a suggested framework for reflection for those in the role of a registered health practitioner called the 10Cs of Reflection.

The 10Cs framework is intended to ensure health workers deliver the best possible care and treatment to patients/clients and their carers. This model was developed for nursing practitioners but is applicable to any field.

When we reflect on what we do we should get better, but not always. There’s a well-worn phrase that does the rounds in education and elsewhere that says,”if you always do what you have always done you will always get what you have always got.”

Unless we search for the knowledge that comes from realising what came of what we did, then the standard of our practice can stand still.

We need some guidance and a structure for helping the thought process but to take it beyond just being contemplative. As Jarvis (1992) says,

Reflective practice is something more than thoughtful practice. It is that form of practice which seeks to problematise many situations of professional performance so that they can become potential learning situations and so the practitioners can continue to learn, grow and develop in and through their practice.

Johns, C (2000a) describes reflection as a window through which we can view and focus our selves within the context of our own lived experience in ways that enable us to confront, understand and work towards resolving the contradictions within our practice between what is desirable and actual practice.

So what are the 10Cs of Reflection?

  1. Commitment – believing that self and practice matter; accepting responsibility for self; the openness, curiosity and willingness to challenge normative ways of responding to situations.
  2. Contradiction – exposing and understanding the contradiction between what is desirable and actual practice.
  3. Conflict – harnessing the energy of conflict within contradiction to become empowered to take appropriate action.
  4. Challenge and Support – confronting the practitioner’s normative attitudes, beliefs and actions in ways that do not threaten the practitioner.
  5. Catharsis – working through negative feelings.
  6. Creation – moving beyond self to see and understand new ways of viewing and responding to practice.
  7. Connection – connecting new insight within the real world of practice; appreciating the temporality over reality.
  8. Caring – realising desirable practice as everyday reality.
  9. Congruence – reflection as a mirror for caring.
  10. Constructing Personal Knowing in practice – weaving personal knowing with relevant extant theory in constructing knowledge.

This model helps us to be self-aware so we can be conscious of our beliefs, values, qualities, strengths and limitations. It is a useful model because it enables us to

• Keep an open mind about what, and how we do things.
• Be awares of what, why and how we do things.
• Question what, why and how we do things.
• Ask what, why and how other people do things.
• Generate choices, options and possibilities.
• Compare and contrast results.
• Seek to understand underlying mechanisms and rationales.
• View our activities and results from various perspectives.
• Ask “What if …..?”
• Seek feedback and other people’s ideas and viewpoints.
• Analyse, synthesise and test.
• Search for, identify and resolve problems.

Being reflective is something we should be doing daily if only for a few minutes. Kolb (1984) sees that to reflect effectively on your experience, you should actively set aside part of your working day to reflect and analyse.

Boud et al. (1985) note that the outcomes of reflection are both cognitive and affective in nature and the potential outcomes include having new perspectives on an experience, changing our behaviour, demonstrating motivation to apply new knowledge and skills in practice and committing to action.


Boud, D., Keogh, R. and Walker, D. (eds) (1985) Reflection: Turning Experience into Learning. Kogan Pag, London

Jarvis, P. (1992) Reflective practice and nursing, in Nurse Education Today, Vol 12, No.3 pp 174 – 181

Johns, C (2000a) Becoming a Reflective Practitioner; Oxford: Blackwell Science Ltd. Chapter 3 pg 34

Johns, C. (2000b) Becoming a Reflective Practitioner: Oxford: Blackwell Science Ltd. Chapter 3 pg 36

Kolb, D. (1984) Experiential Learning. New Jersey; Prentice Hall

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