Overtime, other philosophers have become instrumental in developing the theory of reflective practice and among those notable are John Dewey (1933) and David Schon (1983). Dewey, much influenced by the Progressive Era of his time, employs the scientific process of generating and testing hypothesis as vital components to reflective thinking. Half a century later, David Schon revolutionised the concept of reflective practice emphasising 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.
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.
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 practice as a result of unpredictable circumstances that require spontaneous responses. The reflective practice