Theology, therapy or picket line? what's the 'good' of reflective practice in management education?
Reflective practice is an increasing feature of higher education and of continuous professional development. It is taught in many different ways, usually through the medium of a written journal and it is usually assessed via specific learning outcomes. However, the real outcome for the student may vary widely, from simple competence enhancement to an engagement with the underlying nature of organizations. This paper considers the possible uses of reflective practice, and in particular in whose interests it is done. It outlines three loose approaches to the 'goodness' of reflective practice: the goodness of the organization's competence, the goodness of the therapeutized individual and the goodness of the meta-reflective individual. Some evidence is offered of the way in which students use their journals in one School. Finally, it is suggested that teaching reflective practice requires the educator, consciously or unconsciously, to take a clear stance on four dimensions of learning: psychological, educational, ethical and political.
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