On the epistemological presuppositions of reflective activities

Educational Theory 61 (6):671-708 (2011)
Reflection is an ambiguous buzzword in contemporary educational and professional settings. Work has been done to clarify the concept theoretically, but a gap remains between such clarifications and actual reflective activities in educational and work-related practices. Reflective activities embody epistemological presuppositions about the nature of competence, knowledge, and learning, and about the relation between thinking, communicating, and acting. In this article, Nina Bonderup Dohn identifies the epistemological presuppositions of two paradigm cases of reflection (“solitaire reflection” and “communicative reflection”) and assesses these against a view of knowledge, competence, learning, and action inspired by the Scandinavian interpretation of Ludwig Wittgenstein's philosophy as well as by insights from phenomenology and situated learning. The outcome of Dohn's assessment is that the presuppositions of the paradigm cases are misguided and, therefore, so are the reflective activities. The problems and pitfalls that result from this situation are identified and illustrated with empirical examples. Dohn concludes by suggesting an alternative paradigm: “situated reflection.”
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DOI 10.1111/j.1741-5446.2011.00428.x
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