One of the most important tools you have as you pursue your education is the practice of reflection.
Your education is a “process by which [you] learn to become aware of and to evaluate [your] experience. [Furthermore, your] experience counts for as much as the teacher’s knowledge.” (Knowles 38-39) This marriage of the teacher’s knowledge and your experience provides a context in which you can reflect upon your experience and learn from that reflection. The connections you make between course content and your experience provide the foundation for new learning. As you build a web of connections, your understanding will grow and thus your ability to apply that understanding in your professional and personal life.
Reflection is not a complicated or academic process. It is what you do when you are reading an article or a book and you remember a little bit of history in which you did or experienced something similar to what is being written about. As you continue reading, you start looking at that past experience from a different perspective (that of the authors).
Thus, your education and growth are not “a process of ‘being shaped’ [by the teacher’s knowledge], but a process of becoming.” (Knowles 50)
Knowles, M. S., E. Holton, et al. (1998). The adult learner: the definitive classic in adult education and human resource development. Houston, Tex., Gulf Pub. Co.