Elements of reflective practice

‘Most people would rather die than think: Many do’ - Bertrand Russell

Reflective practice involves:

  • Thinking critically, for example, by taking time to question perceived wisdom
  • Self-assessment, for example, by measuring performance (audit, case review etc.)
  • Evaluating new learning (to add value and act to change where appropriate)
  • Challenging oneself, and others to encourage development or change
  • Instead of asking What? ask Why? (or So What? or Now What? or What next?) again encouraging change
  • Taking time out to allow contemplation

‘…To add value to things involves making good choices. To make good choices requires being informed and reflective. To be both these things one must read, enquire, debate and consider…’ - A C Grayling

Bertrand Russell’s comment on ‘Most people’ could come as a surprise to ‘most people’! Professionals, after a lifetime of study, are likely to be offended by the suggestion.  Many of us, however, will have experienced and acknowledge mindlessly ploughing through a morning’s work, facing similar cases and doing pretty much what we always have done.  It may not be until the first coffee break of the day that we might ask colleagues, and ourselves: Why do we keep doing this in this way?  It could be viewed that in this simple exasperated question lies the seed of the first critical thoughts that lead to improvement.


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