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Reflective Practice

What is Reflective Practice?
Reflective practice is the human ability to evaluate one’s own behavior and reflect on actions. Reflective practice is about adopting a critical attitude toward one’s own practice and that of colleagues. It is an ongoing process that involves learning and gaining new insights.

What is Reflective Practice?
Reflective practice is the human ability to evaluate one’s own behavior and reflect on actions. Reflective practice is about adopting a critical attitude toward one’s own practice and that of colleagues. It is an ongoing process that involves learning and gaining new insights.

Personal Growth

Some define reflective practice as “paying critical attention to practical values and theories that underlie daily action by reflectively examining situations or practices”. Reflective practice is founded on the belief that experiences alone do not necessarily lead to learning, but that conscious reflection is essential.

Reflective practice is an important tool in a variety of practice-based professional environments and fields. In practice-based environments, learning occurs through experience, rather than formal learning or one-way knowledge transfer, such as in a lecture hall.

Practical training

It is also an important method of connecting theory and practice, for example through role-playing. An example of this is role plays conducted at the police academy. Through simulated scenarios and the reflection on them, aspiring officers are trained before they start working on the streets.

A person performing reflective practice reflects not only on the event or action itself, but also on additional emotions and reactions. The information is added to the existing ‘knowledge base’.

Theories and models of reflective practice

One of the first academic works to speak of reflective practice is the 1983 book The Reflective Practitioner, by Donald Schön. In this book, concepts of reflection-in-action and reflection-on-action are discussed. However, the underlying concepts are older.

John Dewey was one of the first to write about them. This was followed by influential researchers such as Kurt Lewin and Jean Piaget. Reflective practice possibly goes back even further. Some researchers think they have found fundamentals of it in Buddhist teachings and in the works of the philosopher Marcus Aurelius. Learning theorist and educational pioneer David Kolb was also heavily influenced by the work of John Dewey and Jean Piaget.

Kolb’s reflective model emphasizes the concept of learning through experience and focuses on the transformation of knowledge and information. This always takes place after a situation has occurred and can only happen when a person actively reflects on it. In this way, knowledge gained from an experience is continuously adapted and reapplied, building on previous experiences.

Why is reflecting important?

David Boud defines reflecting as “an important human activity in which people recapture, reflect on, and evaluate their experiences”.

When a person experiences something, a person can learn immediately, but it is difficult to immediately evaluate all emotions, events, and thoughts. When a person recalls the event at a later time, it is possible to categorize and evaluate the emotions and thoughts though. By stepping back and looking at the experience from a broader perspective, it is possible to critically reflect on things that may not have been immediately apparent at first glance.

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Reflective practice in education

In education, reflective practice is a popular method for improving the quality of teaching by teachers. Educators often spend time evaluating their own lessons, examining different teaching methods, considering student feedback, and making changes to ensure that students can learn more effectively and efficiently.

The process of reflective practice in teaching requires gathering information, interpreting it, and adjusting planning for the future.

Teachers can use a variety of methods to reflect on the teaching they have provided. For example, there are:

  • Feedback from students
  • Feedback and observations from fellow teachers
  • Personal experiences
  • Theory and research

Kurt Lewin: his biography and theory of change

March 6th, 2023

Kurt Lewin (1890 – 1947) was a German-American psychologist, who is known as one of the modern pioneers of social, organizational and applied psychology. He is recognized as the founder of the first study group dynamics and organizational development. Famous…

Dr. David Kolb biography, a Experiential Learning guru

November 9th, 2022

David Kolb (1939) is an professor and educationalist who specializes in experiential learning, individual and social change, career development and professional education. David Kolb is also the founder and chairman of Experience Based Learning Systems (EBLS) and best known for…

Donald Schön biography, quotes and books

November 4th, 2022

Donald Schön (1930-1997) was one of the most influential thinkers who helped develop the theories and case studies of reflective learning within the business services sector. Donald Schön is also famous for his contribution of the development of the single

Borton’s Model of Reflection

September 9th, 2022

Borton’s model of reflection: this article explains Borton’s model of reflection in a practical way. After reading you will understand the basics of this powerful reflection method. What is Borton’s model of reflection? Borton’s model of reflection is a framework…

Chris Argyris

April 14th, 2022

Chris Argyris (1923-2013) was a Professor Emeritus at Harvard Business School. His work with respect to thinking about relationships of people and organizations, learning organizations and action research is known and recognized throughout the world. Biography Chris Argyris Chris Argyris…

John Driscoll Model of Reflection

March 9th, 2022

John Driscoll Model of Reflection: This article provides a practical explanation of the John Driscoll Model of Reflection After reading this article, you’ll understand the basics of this powerful communication and personal development tool. What is the John Driscoll…
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