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Reflecting or Acting? Reflective Practice and Continuing Professional Development in Higher Education

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Reflective practice is becoming the favoured paradigm for continuing professional development in higher education. However, some authors have suggested that we have an insufficiently rigorous understanding of the process and too few descriptions of what actually occurs. Moreover, some commentators have identified a cognitivist strain in much reflective practice which has directed attention away from doing. This paper seeks to redress this balance by focusing on acting and reflecting though a case study of two professional development courses using the reflective practice model in HE. From the data we derive a typology which emphasises the temporal dimensions of reflective practice noting that while some acting may be immediate some reflection is deferred. We argue that a refocusing on action is important in response to the idealist turn of much thinking on reflective practice. We conclude that our reframing might have implications for the design of CPD for higher education lecturers.

Document Type: Regular Paper


Publication date: 2002-02-01

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