Brookfield Lenses vs. Gibbs Reflective Model

What's the Difference?

Brookfield Lenses and Gibbs Reflective Model are both frameworks used in the field of education to facilitate critical reflection and enhance learning experiences. However, they differ in their approach and focus. Brookfield Lenses, developed by Stephen Brookfield, provide educators with four different perspectives or "lenses" through which they can analyze their teaching practices and gain a deeper understanding of their students' learning experiences. On the other hand, Gibbs Reflective Model, developed by Graham Gibbs, is a structured framework that guides individuals through a six-step process of reflection, including description, feelings, evaluation, analysis, conclusion, and action plan. While Brookfield Lenses offer a broader perspective, Gibbs Reflective Model provides a more systematic and detailed approach to reflection. Both frameworks are valuable tools for educators seeking to improve their teaching practices and enhance student learning.


AttributeBrookfield LensesGibbs Reflective Model
DefinitionBrookfield Lenses are a set of four different perspectives or lenses through which educators can analyze their teaching practices.The Gibbs Reflective Model is a structured approach to reflection that helps individuals analyze their experiences and learn from them.
FocusBrookfield Lenses focus on the teacher's perspective and how it impacts the learning experience.The Gibbs Reflective Model focuses on the individual's personal experience and learning process.
ComponentsThe four components of Brookfield Lenses are: autobiographical, students' eyes, colleagues' perceptions, and theoretical literature.The Gibbs Reflective Model consists of six stages: description, feelings, evaluation, analysis, conclusion, and action plan.
ApplicationBrookfield Lenses can be applied to analyze teaching practices and improve instructional strategies.The Gibbs Reflective Model can be applied to reflect on any personal experience and facilitate learning and growth.
PurposeThe purpose of using Brookfield Lenses is to gain multiple perspectives and insights into teaching practices.The purpose of using the Gibbs Reflective Model is to deepen understanding, identify areas for improvement, and develop action plans.

Further Detail


When it comes to reflective practice, educators and professionals often rely on different models and frameworks to guide their self-reflection and learning. Two popular models in this field are the Brookfield Lenses and the Gibbs Reflective Model. While both models aim to enhance critical thinking and self-awareness, they have distinct attributes that set them apart. In this article, we will explore and compare the attributes of these two reflective models.

Brookfield Lenses

The Brookfield Lenses, developed by Stephen D. Brookfield, provide a framework for examining teaching and learning experiences from multiple perspectives. These lenses offer four different viewpoints that educators can use to analyze their practice:

  1. The Autobiographical Lens: This lens encourages educators to reflect on their personal experiences and how they shape their teaching approach. It helps them understand their biases, values, and assumptions that influence their interactions with students.
  2. The Student Lens: This lens focuses on understanding the students' perspective and experiences. Educators using this lens consider how their teaching methods and materials impact student learning and engagement. It helps them empathize with their students and adapt their teaching strategies accordingly.
  3. The Colleague Lens: This lens prompts educators to reflect on their interactions with colleagues and the broader educational community. It encourages collaboration, sharing of ideas, and learning from others' experiences. Educators using this lens seek feedback and engage in professional dialogue to improve their practice.
  4. The Critical Lens: This lens challenges educators to critically analyze the power dynamics and social structures within the educational system. It encourages them to question and challenge the status quo, identify inequalities, and advocate for social justice in their teaching practice.

The Brookfield Lenses provide a comprehensive framework that allows educators to examine their teaching practice from various angles, fostering a deeper understanding of their own perspectives and the impact of their actions on students and the educational community.

Gibbs Reflective Model

The Gibbs Reflective Model, developed by Graham Gibbs, is a six-stage model that guides individuals through the process of reflection. It provides a structured approach to analyzing experiences and learning from them. The stages of the Gibbs Reflective Model are as follows:

  1. Description: This stage involves describing the event or experience in detail, including the context, people involved, and any relevant background information.
  2. Feelings: In this stage, individuals reflect on their emotions and thoughts during the experience. They explore their initial reactions, both positive and negative, and consider how these emotions influenced their actions.
  3. Evaluation: The evaluation stage involves a critical analysis of the experience. Individuals assess the positive and negative aspects, identify what went well and what could have been improved, and consider alternative approaches.
  4. Analysis: This stage delves deeper into the experience, exploring the underlying factors and influences. Individuals consider the reasons behind their actions, the impact of external factors, and any patterns or connections they observe.
  5. Conclusion: In this stage, individuals draw conclusions from their analysis. They identify key learnings, insights, and implications for future practice. They also consider how the experience aligns with their existing knowledge and beliefs.
  6. Action Plan: The final stage involves creating an action plan for future practice. Individuals set goals, outline specific steps they will take to improve, and consider any support or resources they may need.

The Gibbs Reflective Model provides a systematic and structured approach to reflection, guiding individuals through a series of stages that promote deep analysis and learning from experiences.

Comparing Attributes

While both the Brookfield Lenses and the Gibbs Reflective Model aim to enhance reflective practice, they differ in several key attributes:

1. Perspective

The Brookfield Lenses offer multiple perspectives for reflection, including the personal, student, colleague, and critical lenses. This allows educators to consider various viewpoints and influences on their practice. In contrast, the Gibbs Reflective Model focuses on an individual's own perspective, exploring their feelings, evaluation, analysis, and conclusions.

2. Structure

The Gibbs Reflective Model provides a clear and structured framework with six stages that individuals can follow sequentially. This structure helps individuals navigate the reflection process and ensures a comprehensive analysis of the experience. On the other hand, the Brookfield Lenses do not have a predefined structure, allowing educators to choose which lenses to focus on based on their specific needs and goals.

3. Emphasis

The Brookfield Lenses place a strong emphasis on self-awareness, critical thinking, and social justice. Educators using these lenses are encouraged to examine their biases, challenge power dynamics, and advocate for equity in education. In contrast, the Gibbs Reflective Model emphasizes a more personal and individualized approach to reflection, focusing on the individual's emotions, evaluation, and conclusions.

4. Application

The Brookfield Lenses are particularly well-suited for educators who want to explore their teaching practice in a holistic manner, considering their own experiences, student perspectives, collaboration with colleagues, and the broader social context. The multiple lenses provide a comprehensive framework for examining various aspects of teaching and learning. On the other hand, the Gibbs Reflective Model can be applied to a wide range of professional contexts beyond education, making it more versatile for individuals in different fields.


Reflective practice is an essential component of professional growth and development. Both the Brookfield Lenses and the Gibbs Reflective Model offer valuable frameworks for self-reflection and learning. The Brookfield Lenses provide a multi-perspective approach, encouraging educators to consider their own experiences, student perspectives, collaboration with colleagues, and social justice issues. On the other hand, the Gibbs Reflective Model offers a structured and sequential process that guides individuals through six stages of reflection. The choice between these models depends on the individual's preferences, goals, and the specific context in which they are applying reflective practice. Ultimately, both models can contribute to enhancing critical thinking, self-awareness, and continuous improvement in professional practice.

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