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Models for structuring reflection


Example 4 - Bain's framework - the 5Rs

Bain's model (Bain and others, 1999) was developed from research done with student teachers and is used by many other writers on reflection. Bain's framework is commonly referred to as the '5Rs'. Or sometimes as the '4Rs' - where the 'Reporting' and 'Responding' levels are merged together and called 'Reporting and responding'.

Bain's five levels model

Level 1: Reporting Student describes what happened with little or no comment or interpretation of the event(s) attempted.
Level 2: Responding Student describes how they feel about the event(s) and might pose some questions.
Level 3: Relating Student tries to explain what happened, possibly with reference to their personal experience, and might identify some areas which could be improved.
Level 4: Reasoning Student looks for a better understanding of what happened and considers what the literature tells them about the issue(s). Bain and others (1999) refer to a process of 'transformation' here - meaning that the student is looking for something new.
Level 5: Reconstructing Student works out their own position or theory on a particular issue or set of events. They decide how they would respond to similar challenges in the future. The Bain researchers found that the students in their study who made daily notes of their reflections were more likely to reach these highest levels in the scale.