Reflecting on Reflective Practices

Reflecting on Reflective Practice: (Re)Visiting Dewey and Schön by Thomas S. C. Farrell focuses on the different forms of reflection that are desirable to teachers. Although the term reflective practice is one widely used in the education world, Farrell believes the term is too ambiguous since there is no consensus that describes the best reflective practice that encourages substantial teacher development.  The different interpretations of the word reflection and what reflective practice is in TESOL inspired the author to look at the reflective practices that emerged from John Dewey and Donald Schön interpretation of John Dewey.

In short, John Dewey believes the main goal of education is to help people develop habits of reflection. He believes that reflection leads to intellectual thought and action rather than routine thought and action. He first outlined what reflection was not, and claimed that one of the prominent features of learning was learning how to think intelligently.

Donald Schön focused his dissertation on Dewey’s theory of inquiry and was more concerned with how teachers showcase their knowledge since he believes teachers know more than they are able to communicate. He developed the theory of “reflection-in-action”, which occurs in the midst of a certain situation, conversation, and event.

These two theories mentioned above influence the way teachers treat all students since these thinkers state that reflective practice is evidence based. Teachers constantly need to be collecting evidence and data about what is and what is not working in their classroom, and change their system/routine when found appropriate. Reflective practice helps professional create more opportunities for students since the practice can be seen as a compass that helps direct future lessons and activities.

To learn more about reflective practices, read Thomas S. C. Farrell’s reflections here: Reflecting on Reflective Practice.