Raelin (2000: 101) calls "the process of public reflection" reflective practice; it is a community of inquiry and creates a collective identity. He defines reflection as "the practice of periodically stepping back to ponder the meaning to self and others in one's immediate environment about what has transpired. It illuminates what has been experienced by both self and others, providing a basic for future education", he adds.
Raelin (2000: 101-2) emphasises learning dialogues, as element of reflective practice, taking place in the security of trustworthy peers based on the direct experiences of work. Raelin (p. 103) refers to Plato's statement that 'the unexamined life isn't worth living' meaning that others need to be included in the examination of life experiences. It is more than collective naval gazing; it isintorspection midst of practice and in the presence of others.
"Reflective practitioners 'reinvest' in learning by participating in continuing education" and "engage in problem posing as much as problem solving, continually expand[ing] their solution database rather than select the first solution that works, view inconsistencies as opportunities rather than inconveniences, and enjoy reflecting back on their decision making rather than sealing off debate" (Raelin 2000: 105). Four explicit reflective practices that can be used each on its own or combined are presented by Raelin (2000: 115-145):
1. Learning teams
Work-based learning often involves action learning in teams. Co-workers undertake projects together, discuss dilemmas of work actions, as well as "the application or misapplication of concepts and theories to these actions" (p. 115). The learning device is to pose questions to one another.
But "the journal is arguably the most endemic technique we have to enhance our self-reflection" admits Raelin (p. 124). Yet, he continues, although it is "often used as an introspective tool for personal growth, it can also serve as an aid to bring together the inner and outer parts of our lives. It offers a lens to view experience—be it before, during, or after the event under scrutiny—and it even allows further reflection on the journal entries themselves." The journal is a potent vehicle to collect private data for public learning dialogues and may include any one or more of the following:
- Logs or reports of specific factual experiences.
- Lists of observations or ideas.
- Portraits or descriptions of people or situations.
- Memoirs of personal experiences.
- Catalogues of feelings/perceptions in situations or about people.
- Intimate accounts including personal sentiments, confessions and notes.
- Dialogues recordings.
- Conceptual understandings.
- Commentary of applications of concepts.
- Social histories (stories) of issues unfolding.
- Maps of consciousness to capture the state of mind.
- Guided imagery, meditated frames of reference and/or dreams.
- Altered points of view in different contexts or timeframes.
- Contradictions or dilemmas experiences or observed.
- Inconsistencies noticed
- Surprises experiences.
3. Developmental planning
Developmental planning often linked to career development. It involves the individual interests, needs and expectations, as well as the organisational objectives and resource requirements. It is often an element of the overall organisational performance management strategy.
4. Developmental relationships
Examples of developmental relationships include coaching and mentoring.
Raelin, J.A. 2000. Work-based learning—the new frontier of management development. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.