Reflective Practice In Confucius
By three methods we may learn wisdom: first, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.
Confucius (551 BC - 479 BC) Chinese Philosopher
What is Reflective Practice?
Reflective Practice is an ancient concept. Over 2,500 years ago the ancient Greeks practised 'reflection ' as a form of contemplation in search of truth, and this ancient meaning of reflection features in several modern definitions. There are references also to the power of reflective learning in the writings attributed to ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius, around 460BC.
Firstly, the term “reflective practice” …show more content…
He described his work in the 1917 book 'The Mentality of Apes '. Köhler expanded the notion of simple 'trial and error ' to suggest a mental process which visualises a problem and considers a solution before taking action, triggering 'aha ' or 'light-bulb ' moments. For example, Köhler tells of observing an ape trying to retrieve a banana out of reach: the ape stops for a moment and then uses a nearby stick to pull the banana within reach. Köhler saw this as the 'insight ' thought process leading to alternative action, i.e., visualising a problem and considering a solution before taking action. He presented this 'insight ' as reflective thought, which equates to the 'reflective observation ' stage in Kolb 's learning …show more content…
Where our thinking is very subjective, for example when we feel very emotional about something, this subjectivity can become unhelpful, especially if we are stressed or angry, or upset, which can substantially distort interpretations.
If reflective thinking is to be useful for our learning and development, and for improving our actions and decisions in an environment, then this reflective thinking must include some objectivity. If decisions are based on wrong data, then outcomes tend to be unhelpful, or worse.
So objectivity is important if Reflective Practice is to be very useful.
We should consider what experts have said about this, and how we might best allow for natural human tendencies towards subjective thinking within Reflective Practice.
Jurgen Habermas - German sociologist and philosopher Jurgen Habermas (b. 1929) held a professorship at the University of Frankfurt until retirement in 1994. He suggested that reflection does not sit easily within a modern Western culture based on scientific reasoning (1998). From this perspective, reflective activities may be seen as too subjective and not sufficiently rooted in evidence, which is considered to be a more valid effective way to find