Reflective Thoughts as a Learning Process

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Introduction
Reflective thought as a learning process was first given importance and described by Dewey (1933) in How We Think as an “active, persistent, and careful consideration of any belief or supposed form of knowledge in the light of the grounds that support it and the further conclusions to which it tends”. Joseph Raelin, Reflections, Fall 2002, Volume 4, Issue 1, pages 66-79, “”I don’t have time to think!” Versus the art of reflective practice” defined Reflective Practice as ‘the practice of periodically stepping back to ponder the meaning of what has recently transpired to us and to others in our immediate environment.’ In this paper, the author would identify the main lines of argument in Raelin’s article, and points out the divergent views between Raelin and commentators on his article. He would also justify his own views on the article, and provide a reflective journal giving an insight into what he gained from reading part C of the Induction Module. Main lines of argument and differences in points of view between Raelin and other commentators. Raelin wondered whether reflective practice in this age of ‘corporate executive’ is practicable. He was of the opinion that “delaying decision is often seen as a sign of weakness in corporate world, as most chief executive wants answers, rather than questions”. He also makes a point that “reflection that is learning, is essential to generate new ways of coping with change”. Raelin also maintained that reflection allow an organisation to benefit from collective learning. By so doing, decisions are more likely to be sound, which then enhance corporate performance. He advocates a model for reflective practice that comprises five core skills: being, disclosing, speaking, testing, and probing. Phillip DiChiara looked back to the 1990’s when new ventures, especially in technological industry, made provisions for recreational facilities to encourage staff to interact and perhaps have more opportunity to reflect. He maintained that this practice, giving available evidence, was “often less a reality than an optimistic promise”. He believed the concept of reflective practice is still “essentially unknown”, and he supports Raelin’s call for Reflective Practice to be brought out into the open, and for strategies to encourage it’s usage to be explored. He cited the case within his organisation whereby a clear sense of vision and shared interest had created an environment whereby reflective practice is now being nurtured. Philip W. McArthur was of the view that reflection is necessary in organisations, but its uses are resisted because “people think they don’t have time”. As with Raelin, he agreed that reflection occurs in three distinct moments: “(1) before we act, (2) after we act, and (3) in the heat of the moment”, and believed people were referring to “the before-and after-action” types of reflection when they say they do not have time to reflect. He also looked into Donald Schon (1983), Reflective Practitioner, and what Schon called “reflection-in-action” to describe the process of making tacit knowledge explicit, reflecting on assumptions, so that one can entertain fundamentally new options. Edgar Schein, in his commentary indicated that there is always time to reflect and refers to choice “...there are all kinds of time for personal reflection if we choose to use it”. He described some very practical ways to find time – between meetings, walking from one building to the next, making use of travelling time, among others. He was of the opinion that these are the best times to reflect and for reflective conversations on what that had just happened at the meeting, or other events. McArthur agreed with Raelin on the framing skills he identified in ‘being’ as the basis for effective application of other four skills. However, he was unconvinced that “these skills apply distinctly to either the collective or the individual level”. Raelin was of the view that McArthur was “largely...
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