Readjusting

As I read through Schon’s “Teaching Artistry Through Reflection-in-Action,” I was trying to come up with a title that would ultimately sum up my interpretation of the reading. What I came up with was “readjusting.” To me, the act of problem solving comes down to this one very word. People act how they have learned to act either by rules, observation or other sources in the context of various situations, but what happens when we encounter an unexpected result? What if the intended outcome is not the actual outcome? We must learn to readjust not only our actions, but the way we think about a situation in order to actively pursue a solution.This requires what the article refers to as “reflection-in-action” or in other words, reflecting on one’s actions while they are occurring.

It is an interesting phenomenon that people can possess “knowing-in actions,” meaning actions that were once learned and are not forgotten, yet for the most part, the process of the teaching the action to another is difficult to do. The article uses riding a bicycle as an example. I can personally attest to the fact that once one learns how to ride a bike, even if they do not ride one for over a year, when they get back on their bike, they will be able to ride it. This summer, I lived in Chicago and was faced with the challenge of using different modes of transportation than I was used to from my suburban upbringing. I had not rode a bike the entire school year before this past summer, yet when I began to ride my bike to get to and from work, I was instantly capable of doing so.

The reflection process is simple to understand yet appears complex when written out in full detail. A primary component of active reflection requires “on-the-spot-experiment.” I looked at this experience as brainstorming innovative ideas to use when I come across an unexpected problem within whatever I am doing.

Schon’s article also brings up professional practice and how each different profession has its own set of practices, rules, characteristics, etc. that are specific to it. The article’s citings of an improv jazz musician group and of a good conversation flow really helped me to understand this point. Lastly, Schon also speaks of “practicums” or the place where a certain practice is applicable. If one recognizes the attitude and general feel of a particular practicum, they will be more likely to quickly pick up on some common or well-known practices within the said profession.

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