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The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think In Action by Donald Schon

In "The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think In Action," Donald Schon explores how professionals learn and adapt through reflection in their everyday work.

  • Professionals often face complex and ambiguous situations that require them to think on their feet. This book emphasizes the importance of reflection in the midst of action. For example, a doctor may encounter a patient with multiple symptoms and diagnoses, and by reflecting on their own expertise and knowledge, they can make better decisions in providing treatment.

  • Reflective practice involves constantly questioning and challenging assumptions and beliefs. By examining underlying assumptions, professionals can uncover new insights and approaches. For instance, a teacher may question the traditional lecture format and experiment with more interactive teaching methods, leading to improved student engagement and learning outcomes.

  • The book highlights the importance of "reflection-in-action," which refers to thinking and adapting in real-time while engaged in a task. A software developer, for instance, may encounter a coding error and reflect on their coding practices, making immediate adjustments to improve efficiency and avoid similar errors in the future.

  • The author emphasizes the value of learning from experience and the ability to draw upon prior knowledge and expertise. By reflecting on past experiences, professionals can develop a deeper understanding of their own strengths and weaknesses, ultimately enhancing their decision-making abilities. For example, a project manager may reflect on a previous project's challenges and successes to inform their approach to a new project.

  • The book argues that professionals should engage in ongoing dialogue and collaboration with others to promote learning and growth. By discussing their experiences, professionals can gain different perspectives and challenge their own assumptions. For instance, a marketing executive may engage in regular brainstorming sessions with colleagues to generate innovative ideas and strategies.

While The Reflective Practitioner offers valuable insights into how professionals think and learn in action, some readers may find the book to be overly theoretical and lacking in practical examples. Additionally, the writing style can be dense and may require extra effort to understand for those unfamiliar with the subject matter.

In conclusion, while The Reflective Practitioner has some drawbacks in terms of its repetitive nature and limited practical examples, its message of the importance of reflection and learning in professional practice is undeniably valuable. It has had a lasting impact on the field of innovation and transformation, inspiring professionals to think more deeply about their actions and continuously improve their practice.

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