York-Barr, Sommers, Ghere and Montie (2006) trace the history of reflective process way back to Buddha’s core teaching on the importance of self-awareness. While many philosophers and theorists have contributed significantly to the development of reflective practice, the…
On the other hand, half a century later, David Schon (1983; 1987) introduced his concept of reflective practice emphasizing the importance of context and experiential knowledge for continuous improvement. The integration of ideas from these two theorists is evident in current reflective practice literature. “As is often the case, the answer is not ‘either/or’ of Dewey and Schon but ‘both/and’” (York-Barr et al., 2006, p. 5).
Reflective practice is borne out of the basic premise that changes in an organization starts within each individual. It is regarded as a “meaningful and effective professional development strategy” (Osterman and Kottkamp, 2004, p. 1). Although the goal remains synonymous (the development of individual competencies leading to improved organizational performance), reflective practice offers an alternative approach to traditional professional development approaches. The emergence of reflective practice in the educational setting, as discussed by Osterman and Kottkamp (2004), was a response to the failure of educational reforms to effectively address the need of academically and socially preparing students to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing world. The independent studies done by Fulla and Hargreaves (1996); and Ingersoll (2003) reveal that “for many teachers working conditions are still characterized by overload, isolation, exclusion from decisions about their work, and a lack of meaningful professional development opportunities” (as cited in Osterman and Kottkamp, 2004, p. 4).
Educators on a daily basis “routinely juggle multiple tasks, process information on many levels, manage a continual stream of interruptions, and make on-the-spot decisions to meet the changing needs and demands in the teaching environment” (York-Barr et al., 2006, p. 2). Though teachers are guided by their knowledge, a significant margin of uncertainty accompanies their ...
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